North Sea

North Sea

MEP highlights support needed for North Sea oil and gas industry


Conservative MEP Ian Duncan was in Aberdeen yesterday to highlight the support his party had provided to the North Sea oil and gas industry. He said a £1.3billion package unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne last month had given the sector – blighted by a global fall in the oil price – a welcome boost. Petroleum revenue tax has been reduced from 50% to 35% and the supplementary tax has dropped from 30% to 20%. Speaking at the Maritime Museum, Mr Duncan said: “The tax breaks and support which George Osborne delivered are exactly what the oil and gas industry need to safeguard jobs and investment. “That is what you get when you vote Scottish Conservative – jobs and growth as part of a long-term economic plan.

North Sea

Aberdeenshire engineering firm reaping benefits of renewables switch


A Banchory-based engineering firm is making its work in the renewable energy industry pay after diversifying from the oil and gas sector. Ecosse Subsea Systems (ESS) said more than half of its projects are now in renewables. Yesterday it confirmed that the decision to branch out into the sector has played a big part in tripling the firm’s profits. ESS, which performs seabed clearance, trenching and cable laying work, said revenues hit £15million for the year ending March 2014, an 88% increase, while operating profits went up to £3.4million from £1million.

North Sea

Axis Well Technology honoured for oil and gas sector employment work

Aberdeen-based Axis Well Technology Ltd. has become one of the first organisations in the oil and gas sector to be recognised for its commitment to employing young people. The organisation was presented with the Investors in Young People (IIYP) accreditation yesterday by Scottish Minister for Youth and Women's Employment, Annabelle Ewing MSP. The IIYP scheme is supported by £1 million funding from the Scottish Government.

North Sea

Australian firm gains new vessel as it eyes the North Sea

Australian maintenance experts Vertech are preparing to take delivery of their first specialist vessel as the company’s diving team aims to expand into the North Sea and further afield. The new 14.4m daughter craft, which will be one of a number built, is due for delivery in early April and will feature a three-diver panel and state of the art monitoring equipment. The vessel has been designed for diving operations in 1.6m significant wave height and built to order in Cape Town, South Africa. In recent weeks it completed sea trials to gain MCA category two approval.

North Sea

International Well Control Forum to host Aberdeen workshop next month

International Well Control Forum (IWCF) has announced a workshop and networking event for Aberdeen next month ahead of Offshore Well Intervention Europe 2015. The event will take place on Tuesday April 14, and will focus on the best practices for global safety, new initiatives that are being launched to drive up well control competency, and operators, contractors and service companies will be on hand to explain how to get more involved.

North Sea

Oil and gas company cuts TV service in savings drive


A North Sea oil and gas company has saved £600,000 by cutting Sky TV services from its offshore sites. Talisman Sinopic Energy UK has axed the subscription satellite TV service on its North Sea locations in an effort to save costs during downturn in the Scottish oil and gas industry.

North Sea

Innovative ideas sought to combat offshore production costs at Technology Showcase

An oil and gas technology body will offer companies the chance to suggest solutions for cutting oil and gas production costs whilst nurturing production in Aberdeen next month. The Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF) will ask oil and gas firms to present innovative solutions at the Technology Showcase being held at the AECC on March 4. In partnership with Oil and Gas UK, the ITF will discuss present tech challenges in the UK continental shelf and offer them a chance to showcase their technologies. Among the presentations at the event will be "PETMiner: Increasing the speed and cutting the costs of reservoir characterisation" by University of Leeds professor, Quentin Fisher.

North Sea

Offshore workers’ union warns of ‘race to bottom’


A union representing offshore workers has urged Holyrood and Westminster to take steps to avoid a potentially disastrous “race to the bottom” in working standards across the North Sea industry. It comes after trade body Oil and Gas UK published a report describing the current state of the offshore sector as “bleak” and recommending tax reform, improved regulation and cost-cutting to help turn the tide. The Unite union has responded to the report by saying decisions taken by the UK and Scottish governments over the next few weeks will be critical to the long-term future of the industry. It is currently balloting its members among Offshore Contractors Association companies on the possibility of going on strike over changes to shift patterns and holiday entitlements.

North Sea

Unions to hold oil crisis talks


Unions and employers in the oil and gas industry are to meet to discuss the threat to jobs in the wake of the dramatic fall in oil prices. The move follows an announcement from BP of hundreds of job losses, sparking warnings of further cuts and calls for Government action. The firm said it expects to shed 200 onshore staff, while 100 contractors’ posts will also be axed, which unions said was a “devastating blow” to the industry.

North Sea

US firm’s $1bn North Sea pledge


Plans for a billion-dollar cash injection in the North Sea will be unveiled today by Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama. The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s leading investment managers, is putting £660million into the offshore oil and gas industry. The deal has been hailed as a “clear vote of confidence” in the sector amid fears about the effect of tumbling world oil prices on north-east jobs.

North Sea

ConocoPhillips to cut up to 230 jobs from North Sea operations

Oil and gas giant ConocoPhillips confirmed it will cut up to 230 jobs in its North Sea operations after completing a review of its business. The Houston-based firm, which is poised to take over as the biggest oil producer in the North Sea in terms of production volume by the end of this year, said staff numbers in the UK would be cut from 1,649 staff and contractors to 1,419 my March of next year. The cuts will fall predominantly on Aberdeen where the firm employs around 1,100, including 700 permanent staff and 400 contractors.

North Sea

North Sea review drives oil boss to threaten cuts

A North Sea boss has warned he will shift investment from the North Sea to other areas of the world after being disappointed by the results of HM Treasury’s fiscal review of the oil and gas industry. James Edens, vice-president and managing director of CNR International, told Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander that changes proposed to the UK tax regime were not coming quickly enough to help his company. At the presentation of the Treasury’s plan to reform the UK oil and gas fiscal regime, Mr Edens told Mr Alexander: “the speed of change here is too slow - you must speed up, you must accelerate.”


UK gas advances in longest streak since 2011 amid Norway cuts


UK natural gas rose for an eighth day, the longest such streak since March 2011, as field outages in Norway continued to curb supply amid increased demand for the fuel used in heating. Front-month gas in the UK, Europe’s biggest market, climbed as much as 3.1 percent on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. The within-day contract reached the highest price since March 3 on the National Balancing Point hub, broker data on Bloomberg showed. Norway, Britain’s biggest foreign supplier, has flow constraints at three fields, with a reduction at Aasgard adding to continued limited flows from Troll and Skarv. Demand for the fuel is forecast to exceed seasonal norms. Prices also climbed as European Union carbon permits touched the highest level since March 3 in London trading.


Another oil major to cut North Sea jobs

US firm ConocoPhillips has become the latest oil major to warn of job losses in the UK North Sea, although it refused to say how many or where exactly the axe is likely to fall. ConocoPhillips, which is poised to take over as the biggest oil producer in the region in terms of production volume by the end of this year, told the Press and Journal it had recently launched a review of its UK business. It added: “Like other operators in the North Sea, we are focused on improving the operating efficiency and production outlook for our business. “We have now started a consultation process with staff relating to organisational restructuring to establish a model to drive our UK business forward in an efficient and sustainable manner. “We do anticipate some redundancies but at this stage the actual number has not yet been defined.” ConocoPhillips is the world’s largest oil and gas exploration and production company. It currently employs about 1,000 people directly and a further 600 contract workers in the UK. A spokeswoman for the firm said the totals included about 700 staff and 400 contractors working out of Aberdeen. The group’s Granite City-based UK business either operates or has stakes in assets including the Britannia field and its satellites, Judy/Joanne, Jade, Jasmine, CMS, Galleon, LOGGS, Saturn Unit, V-Fields, Victor, Viking, Calder, Darwen, Crossens, Asland, Millom, Dalton, Clair, MacCulloch and Nicol. Onshore, the company has interests in the Rivers terminal at Barrow-in-Furness, the Teesside oil terminal at Seal Sands, Middlesbrough, and Theddlethorpe gas plant in Lincolnshire. Its job cutting comes hot on the heels of BP launching a cost reduction exercise in the North Sea in line with rivals such as Shell and Chevron which have axed hundreds of roles as low oil prices and high overheads take their toll. BP has declined to reveal the likely impact of its review on its 4,000-strong North Sea workforce.


Norway prepared for oil price slump, central bank governor says


Norway’s central bank is adapting its policy to ensure plunging crude prices don’t disrupt the economy of western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer. While central banks elsewhere grapple with the threat of deflation, policy makers in Norway face “problems and challenges that are in a different class,” Governor Oeystein Olsen said today in an interview in Bergen, on Norway’s western coast. “There are some clouds now that are darker in regards to the prospects of the Norwegian economy, we see those dark clouds in the future development of the oil industry.”