The oil and gas price downturn is putting the squeeze on a commercial diving sector that is “saturated” with workers. But many divers are using the lull in activity to learn new skills through training to improve their chances of finding employment when the upturn comes. Anthony Stelzer, who is earning his closed bell diving qualification at The Underwater Centre (TUC), a Fort William-based trainer, said the market had become extremely competitive after the oil price collapsed in 2014.
To some people the very idea of commercial diving is like walking on the moon, while to others it is as normal as driving to work or having a night on the tiles. Then there are those who have to resort to hypnosis therapy to even contemplate it. One thing is for sure – it’s not for everyone.
Stranded in Burkina Faso by the 2010 Icelandic volcanic eruption while deprived of cigars, books and the assorted pills required by the over-70s, Algy Cluff decided the time was right to return to the North Sea.
A North Sea oil and gas pioneer has slated the Scottish Government over its banning of an energy production method he planned to trial offshore. Algy Cluff said he has had more trouble with Holyrood than any administration he has dealt with during his long career. The entrepreneur has headed up a mining company with operations in Zimbabwe, which at the time was led by current president Robert Mugabe, viewed by many as a brutal dictator.
Low oil prices are hurting Scotland’s economy more than was predicted, a new report says.
Prize winners from the Press and Journal’s inaugural Gold Awards have called for companies and individuals to enter again this year. Six trophies were presented at last year’s glittering event, which marked the 50th year of Aberdeen’s involvement in the development of the North Sea. Eight prizes will be up for grabs at the 2016 awards scheme, run in association with the paper’s sister website Energy Voice and title sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management.
An Aberdeen-based offshore cabin and container firm said yesterday it had snapped up a rival, paving the way for its expansion into Norway, Congo and Myanmar. The acquisition of Singapore-headquartered AOR Containers from Buss Global Group raises OEG Offshore’s global headcount to 160 from 140. It also adds 6,000 containers to the existing fleet of 19,000 at OEG, which was created in 2010 following a merger between Continental Offshore and Vertec Engineering.
A Scottish economic development agency will lead a trade mission to explore investment opportunities for oil and gas companies in Myanmar, Asia’s “final frontier”. Myanmar, also known as Burma, has vast underdeveloped oil and gas reserves and its government, which is guiding the transition to democracy after decades of military rule, is keen to develop the nation’s indigenous energy sector. Scottish Enterprise plans to use the trip to find out how Scotland’s wider supply chain can fill the gaps in Myanmar’s oil and gas supply chain.
A Scottish training centre has secured funding to help oil and gas workers adapt their skills for careers in different sectors. The European Centre of Technology (ECT), which is based at Napier University in Edinburgh, said the cash boost had come from the Galileo Project, an Italian scheme that was set up in 1975 to help pay for different types of training. The funding will be used to cover half of the cost of the ECT’s courses in management, engineering, finance and renewable-energy.
Growing demand for rooms in Inverness over the past five years contributed to an overall increase in occupancy and revenues across the Scottish hotel market, a new report says.
The North Sea oil and gas industry is sleepwalking towards a liquidity crisis on the scale of Lehman Brothers, an energy finance expert warmed yesterday. Colin Welsh, the Aberdeen-based head of international energy investment at Simmons and Company, also said the UK and Scottish governments were not doing enough to help the sector. But the head of industry body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) said both administrations had shown their support, while Scotland’s energy minister said Holyrood would keep pressing the UK Government to provide support for exploration and production (E&P).
The return of plus $50 crude after a seven month absence will not be enough to spark a wave of new North Sea development wells, a top oil industry economist said yesterday. Benchmark Brent crude rose 1% to $50.22 at one point yesterday, its highest level since early November. The price has rallied from a 13-year-low of about $28, which was reached in January, but is still well below the summer 2014 high of more than $110.
A Faroese oil and gas explorer which has struggled under the weight of low oil prices plans to offload its entire UK North Sea portfolio. Atlantic Petroleum chief executive Ben Arabo said yesterday that while the basin is “not dead”, the company sees better opportunities further afield. Mr Arabo said the firm would switch its attention to projects in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, adding that a newly-agreed loan facility would keep the business afloat.
An Aberdeen firm which is getting ready to supply a groundbreaking piece of kit for one of the North Sea’s biggest projects is on track to return to growth this year, its boss said yesterday. Revenues at Aquatic Engineering and Construction were down by about a quarter last year as the firm, like most of its rivals, took a hit from the oil and gas downturn. But Aquatic’s early moves to restructure the business and a busy start to 2016 have boosted the company, which specialises in back deck reels.
The struggling oil and gas industry could unlock £1billion worth of revenues by developing new techniques for inspecting offshore infrastructure, a new report says. The study said companies’ efforts to check installations for corrosion and inspect vessels used to extract oil and gas were being hindered by technology gaps, which were lowering efficiency and increasing costs. It set out to identify new and existing technologies which could cut costs associated with these two key areas of asset integrity, without compromising on safety.
The Aberdeen-based oil and gas Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF) has boosted its membership with the arrival of French firm Dassault Systemes. Dassault Systemes believes involvement with ITF, coupled with its knowledge of working in a range of sectors, will help the oil industry tackle its efficiency problems. The company, which employs more than 14,000 people, supplies 3D design software and product management services to 12 industrial sectors, including aerospace and automotive.
An Aberdeen-based subsidiary of energy service firm DOF Group is in consultation with north-east workers over plans to shed at least another 20 jobs. The move is part of a drive to cut costs in light of “current and future conditions in the marketplace”, DOF Subsea UK managing director Robert Gillespie said yesterday. DOF is one of a number of vessel owner-operators to have been hit by the oil and gas industry downturn as operators scale back on exploration activity. Earlier this month, Harkand went bust, with the loss of 171 jobs, while Ceona hit the wall in September, eliminating 102 positions.
The backers of a £2billion wind farm planned for the outer Forth Estuary have not been scared off by moves to scrap a subsidy agreement, the project’s developer said yesterday. The Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC), which manages for the contracts for difference (CfDs) for the UK Government, said in late March it would terminate the state subsidy for the Neart na Gaoithe (NNG) wind farm. But developer Mainstream Renewable Power said it was not taking the setback lying down and insisted funding was still in place for NNG, which was expected to result in £1.1billion of spending in Scotland and create 600 jobs.
Aberdeen Harbour Board (AHB) has discarded a study which raised environmental concerns about its £415million plans to expand into Nigg Bay. Green groups said yesterday there was a “question mark” hanging over the site after a report revealed higher than expected levels of metal contamination within the area to be dredged for the expansion. But the results of that study were discounted after second study came back clean.
Wood Group has laid off 2,500 people across its global operations so far this year as it scrambles to match its head count to lower activity levels. The Aberdeen-headquartered energy service giant’s chief executive, Robin Watson, was yesterday unable to say how many of those job losses had taken place in the UK. Mr Watson did say the company was sensitive to the plight of workers, but was doing the right thing to protect the business long term.
The head of Aberdeen harbour said yesterday the decision to overlook the Nigg Bay expansion project for City Region Deal funding did not “make his day”, but was “not a complete surprise”. Aberdeen Harbour Board (AHB) had hoped to benefit from the £250million city deal, but will have to fund the project with its own profits and third party backing following the snub. Projected costs for Nigg Bay have shot up to £415million from £320million and AHB has previously said it will need to borrow up to £200million.
Britain’s appeal as a market for investment in renewable-energy has been diminished by UK Government policy, a new report said. The UK now ranks 13th out of 40 countries in terms its ability to lure backers, which is an all-time low, according to the renewable-energy country attractiveness index from professional services firm EY. The top three positions were occupied by the US, China and India, while Argentina was the highest-scoring new entrant at 19th.
A north-east father-and-son team are ready to go after their first major contract wins just over a year after setting up a business together. James Murphy and his son, Jamie, founded Navitas Compliance Solutions (NCS) in Peterhead last February and have largely bankrolled it with their own funds. The Murphys, who have both served in the army, have spent the intervening period creating a programme that will help oil and gas companies train native workers in developing countries.
The London market ended a bruising week edging higher despite warnings over global economic uncertainty from Holiday Inn owner InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and disappointing US jobs data.
Aberdeen has continued to suffer a slump in demand for new office space just as supply soars to its highest level in years, new figures show.