Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Teesside Riding High on the Booming Oil and Gas Sector; THE North-East Can Become the "Global Capital" for Subsea, According to Top Sector Boss Charles Tompkins. KELLEY PRICE Met Him

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Teesside Riding High on the Booming Oil and Gas Sector; THE North-East Can Become the "Global Capital" for Subsea, According to Top Sector Boss Charles Tompkins. KELLEY PRICE Met Him

Article excerpt

CHARLES Tompkins, who founded CTC Marine, has predicted "enormous growth" in oil and gas - and he believes Teesside's growing subsea sector can ride the wave.

The businessman, who was instrumental in putting Teesside's name on the map for global subsea activity and is now non-executive chairman of Modus Seabed Intervention in Darlington, was speaking at Brewin Dolphin's recent Breakfast Investment Seminar held at Rockcliffe Hall.

TAG Energy Solutions at Haverton Hill, JDR Cables at Hartlepool, and Teesside's subsea cluster are all key global players, said Mr Tompkins.

The North-east's three deepwater ports including Teesport are "unequalled anywhere in Europe", he added - and the importance of Durham Tees Valley Airport should not be under-estimated.

He said: "There will certainly be growth in global subsea oil and gas - notwithstanding the challenges from shale gas and the desire to decarbonise the economy.

"The potential is there for absolutely massive growth in wind power and tidal power generation roll-out can make this region a powerhouse."

So why is the North-east at the forefront? "The industrial, academic and economic environment is probably unique," said Mr Tompkins.

"There are not many places in the world that have such a comprehensive skills and industrial environment.

"The North-east's economy is the smallest in the UK, yet we contribute 15% of GVA [gross value added] and North-east subsea enjoys 7% of the global market.

"We have heavy engineering, a well-established maritime legacy and an industrial ethos.

"We also have a large skilled workforce, massive infrastructure and three deep-water industrial ports unequalled in the UK and Europe.

"We have a comprehensive engineering supply chain, excellent communications, two airports - and the importance of Teesside should not be under-estimated as it gives us vital links with Aberdeen and Amsterdam.

"And very importantly, education and training. We have four first-class universities."

Aberdeen currently holds the lion's share of the UK's oil and gas market he says, but it has no further capacity for growth - unlike the North-east.

"There's a skills shortage and we're starting to see companies from Aberdeen move into the North-east. …

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