Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plea for a Wholesale Change in Oil and Gas Industries; SUBSEA

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plea for a Wholesale Change in Oil and Gas Industries; SUBSEA

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM KEIGHLEY tom.keighley@ncjmedia.co.uk

NORTH East subsea companies must lead the way in creating a "wholesale behavioural" change within the oil industry, suggests the head of Subsea UK.

Neil Gordon, who leads the industry body, spoke to sector specialists at this week's Subsea North East Conference and Exhibition, on the back of gloomy oil headlines.

The former commercial diver, who now heads the membership organisation tasked with championing the UK subsea industry, outlined major opportunities for North East firms despite the depressed oil prices, and urged regional firms to lead the way in developing technology and ways of working that cut the cost of extracting oil.

Mr Gordon said: "The North East has a particularly strong subsea manufacturing base, with companies like SMD, BEL Valves and Technip Umbilicals. The sector here is strong, and not just in terms of the UK. Almost half of what we do is exported.

"The oil industry moves in cycles and it's now clearer than ever that, during boom times, project management and cost controls have not necessarily been the smartest. Cost inflation has been particularly high in the North Sea and, as the oil price has dropped, those challenges have been compounded."

Fresh from a trip to last week's OPEC conference in Vienna, where member countries voted to maintain current output levels despite sup-pressed oil prices, Mr Gordon urged the subsea firms to take the initiative in offering oil operators more costeffective ways of working.

He pointed to recent joint venture activities - including the tie-up of Technip and FMC Technologies to create deepwater engineering specialists Forsys Subsea - as practical examples of this strategy.

Mr Gordon said: "The Energy Jobs Taskforce, which was set up by the Scottish Government, had a workshop which pulled together all the key players in the UK, including the Treasury and representatives from the new Oil and Gas Authority. …

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