Strong outlook for 2019 following successful year


We have had a successful year with steady growth across all key areas of the business - from field development to decommissioning as well as in the renewables sector. This underlines the continued demand for quality consultancy services both in the North Sea and internationally, which is very reassuring.


2018: A renewed focus on green energy


It’s been an extremely positive year for the renewable energy industry with many ground-breaking projects going live. The increase in activity has built upon the success of the previous year, seeing continued growth in the solar, biomass, hydrogen fuel cell and wave and tidal sectors and achieving a record 10,336MW of installed renewable electricity capacity in Scotland.


What can we expect for North Sea oil sector in 2019?


The year 2018 exhibited several major changes to the operating environment for the North Sea oil industry.  The dramatic fluctuation in oil prices was an obvious and key feature.  Starting at around $60 in January the Brent price climbed to a peak of around $85 in late October and then fell dramatically to below $60 at the time of writing.  The increase was fostered by threats of severe sanctions against Iran by the US Government plus continued stagnation of production in Venezuela.  The subsequent granting of many waivers to the sanctions plus evidence of continued growth in US production and signs of weakening world demand growth produced the dramatic fall in recent weeks.  The announcement of production cuts of 1.2 million barrels per day by OPEC and collaborating countries, particularly Russia, produced only a minor increase in the price.  The future outlook is very unclear.  For example, sanctions on Iran could be tightened at some future date.


$900/barrel and served with a smile


Every day, people in the UK are estimated to drink over 95 million cups of coffee, which is roughly equivalent to over 170,000 barrels a day of the black liquid in the UK alone. For those of us who get our brew from Starbucks, Café Nero or Costa Coffee, we are more than happy to pay upwards of £2 for this black magic. Although a small price to pay for a moment of happiness, the cost of this cup of coffee we enjoy so much is roughly equivalent to $900 per barrel.


North Sea CO2 storage will support transition to low-carbon economy


We have 12 years to clean up our carbon act on a global scale or face catastrophic climate change: that was the stark warning from the IPCC in October. The following month, the UK Government reaffirmed its support for carbon capture and storage (CCS) – a tested technology that will deliver massive reductions in carbon emissions – and the Acorn CCS Project in north east Scotland secured a licence to select a suitable North Sea CO2 storage site.


The perfect offshore rota does not exist


As workers adjust to recent changes in the offshore rota system, Nicole Stewart from behavioural change consultancy DEKRA Organisational Reliability, discusses the impact of certain offshore rota patterns on mental health.


IR35 – The time is now for employers in the oil and gas sector


With the North Sea in the midst of a resurgence, there’s a slight temptation for some in our sector to forget a few of the smaller things that are going on. But the recent UK budget saw a call-to-action for the oil industry.


Cyber-attacks and the threat to Big Oil


Former member of hacktivist group Anonymous, Mike ‘sting3r’ Jones discusses the recent Saipem cyber-attack and the immediate threat to Big Oil.


Job worries for oil and gas technicians: is clean energy the answer?


A forecast for Scottish economic growth recently issued by EY indicates that onshore upstream employment in Aberdeen is expected to fall 0.3% by 2021. Interestingly, the same report details that there is likely to be an increase in the number of jobs in the wider oil and gas sector in the coming years, including roles associated with technology, administration and communication. It is clear that O&G jobs are not going to disappear overnight, yet, all the same, this change is likely to have an impact on the individuals working within the industry.


Scot Gov return-to-work pledge ‘keeps women in sector’, Aberdeen energy lead says


Karen Blanc is operations lead at Atkins’ Aberdeen oil and gas office, and a committee member of the Aberdeen X-Industry Support (AXIS) Network, a group set up to raise awareness of how gender diversity impacts the north-east energy sector. Here, she speaks on behalf of AXIS.


Shell linking exec pay to climate targets shows importance of CSR


Dr Timothy King from the Kent Business School at the University of Kent comments on the news that Shell will link executive pay to carbon reduction targets, arguing this is a welcome move as shareholders’ increasingly recognise the importance of corporate social responsibility within business operations.


Transform the organisation to capitalise on digital


Across the oil and gas industry, plans to adopt new digital technologies are acknowledged as a priority, with increasing investment allocated to areas like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and augmented reality (AR).


Expertise to-go: The offshore off-the-shelf


There was a time when buying a high-quality suit meant having it tailor made. Though that may still be the preference for those with the luxuries of time and money to spare, for most, times have changed. Saville Row has faded; the high street has taken over and we’re accustomed to quality and variety available right off the shelf – even with rentals.


OPINION: Cutting decommissioning costs. What’s not to like?


This week Greenpeace provided written evidence to the Future of the Oil and Gas Industry, Commons Select Committee. The topic was decommissioning and the position Greenpeace presented was one of support for OSPAR 98/3.


Decommissioning – whose liability is it anyway?


The mature phase of oil and gas operations on the UK continental shelf is proving to be more complex than we could have imagined even a few short years ago. It has long been recognised that, once a reservoir was depleted and the infrastructure associated with it redundant, decommissioning would be required in accordance with the UK’s international obligations. But it is now clear that, even as some reservoirs reach that point, new discoveries are being made and their development may depend on having access to existing infrastructure which otherwise would be decommissioned. The complex decisions involved in balancing the needs of new and future projects with the expectations of companies who want to decommission infrastructure is a matter for the Oil and Gas Authority working in conjunction with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.