The chief executive of the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) said today his region had historically been seen as the “poor relation” to the north-east of Scotland within the oil and gas sector.
Simon Gray told Energy Voice he had been repeatedly asked at Westminster whereabouts his offices are in Aberdeen.
He added: “Without Aberdeen your car wouldn’t work, but without the east of England your lights are going to go out.
“It’s us in the east that are actually keeping the nation warm and lit – and you ignore us at your peril.”
At the Southern North Sea Conference in Norwich, taking place today and tomorrow (Thurs), the region’s contribution was recognised through a memorandum of understanding signed between EEEGR and Oil & Gas UK.
It means the industry body will have a hot desk at the EEEGR offices in Great Yarmouth and the EEEGR a presence in both Aberdeen and London.
Oil & Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie said she was “really appreciative” of the cooperation agreement and added: “I do recognise we have a really strong role (to play) to reinforce the visibility and contribution this region makes to the industry.”
Andy Samuel, chief executive of the new regulator the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), said there was “no scenario” in which gas isn’t a vital part of the energy mix moving forward.
Describing the southern North Sea as “very important”, he added: “There’s a lot still to play for.”
He pointed to undiscovered resources, small pools waiting to be developed, as well as further extraction from mature fields.
Tory MP Peter Aldous, who represents the Waveney constituency, suggested one of the reasons the east of England had felt like the poor relation was the fact it was made up of tier-1 and service operators, rather than the operators themselves.
But he said the EEEGR had played an important role in raising the profile of the southern North Sea with the UK Government.
Mark Pendlington, of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “This region is one of the world’s capitals for energy.
“This is a great place to be an energy company. Our job is to see the world recognises it, comes here and then stays here.”