In 2013, it was apparent that the UK offshore industry faced three significant challenges, each posing a very serious threat if not overcome. We had an uncompetitive tax regime, weak and ineffective regulator within the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and a cost base which was, frankly, out of control. We at Oil & Gas UK therefore adopted as our top priority the tackling of these three very serious threats. Following much work within our organisation and across the industry and government, I think we can regard the overall situation as now improving quite considerably. However, we are by no means out of the woods and there is one challenge on which we have not made enough progress.
At the end of last month, I attended the annual reception of the Westminster All Party Parliamentary Group (APG) for the UK Oil and Gas Industry, hosted by Dame Anne Begg - MP for Aberdeen South and Chair of the APG. I would like to share the thoughts I outlined in the short talk I gave that evening.
Apart from Bonfire Night, I used to find November a rather depressing month - when the nights grew longer, the days became colder, the leaves fell from the trees and yet another year seemed to suddenly be racing to its end.
2013 is set to be the biggest Offshore Europe in history as thousands of delegates from around the globe congregate in Aberdeen, Europe's oil and gas capital, to discuss the future of our industry.
In recent years, the UK economy has faced some of the most difficult times in its history.
Few will need to be reminded that next month marks the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster. As the world's worst offshore incident, it claimed the lives of 167 men and cast a dark shadow over everyone and everything connected to oil and gas for a long time afterwards.
Ten years into my association with UK oil and gas industry's leading trade association, I have growing confidence that a framework is emerging to enable maximum recovery of Britain's offshore oil and gas and to build on the jobs, innovation and exports already supported by the sector.
This summer, the entire country will be gripped by a spectacular showcase of sporting achievement, with the greatest show on Earth, the Olympics and Paralympics, and the biggest prize in European football, Euro 2012.
The UK oil and gas industry is constantly faced with challenges; technology, fiscal, skills retention and other business issues are all part and parcel of our day to day work. But as a major hazard industry, it is the safety of our people that comes before everything else.