Welcome to our new look and, we believe, dramatically improved web presence, with more news and features that ever before, including material specifically written for the site . . . like this . . . er . . . blog. We’re of course all hoping that the gremlins stay in their box, especially since this is Offshore Europe week.
I happened to be in my local Tesco on Saturday for quick whizz around the aisles with a very specific set of targets on the shopping list. I paused at the butchery counter, patiently waiting my turn to be served.
My ears pricked up; someone was whinging about Offshore Europe and the mayhem it was going to cause this week as delegates pack into the city. That person had nothing good to say whatsoever; so typical of the apparently many Aberdonians continue to resent the North Sea oil and gas industry and the undoubted prosperity that it has brought over the past 40 years or so.
I quietly wondered whether said person had a family and whether any of his offspring worked for the industry … perhaps earning excellent money despite the cyclical nature of upstream petroleum.
And then I reflected on the conversations that The Management and I have from time to time … about how glad we are to still be living here in the Scottish northeast rather than some other part of the largely economically crippled UK.
We live in a bubble and we count ourselves lucky, even if Kate’s getting the youngest member of the family to school this week is going to be hellish as she attempts to navigate past the AECC at both ends of the day … at exactly the wrong time.
Back to Mr Whinge … I reckon he was in his late 50s/early 60s. If I’m right with his age then he grew up at a time when the Granite City was drifting into economic oblivion until happenstance, Big Oil came a knocking in the late 1960s and the rest is history. But I’m guessing that this gentleman has never directly experienced the offshore industry and maybe even nurses a grudge as a result of perhaps being bypassed.
I will of course never know.
But one thing I do know is that, despite at least three major oil price crises and numerous other setbacks along the way, including one of the most unstable oil and gas tax regimes to be found anywhere in the world, Aberdeen (and its Shire) are relatively well placed to weather the economic storm that continues to buffet Little Britain mercilessly and will do so for years to come, I fear.
Offshore Europe signals that strength. I just hope the city really does embrace the many thousands of visitors who have flocked here for the next few days. But what a pity it is that so many have already been taken for a ride by the apparently many hotels charging extortionate prices for beds and hospitality. That to me is disgraceful . . . a slur on the Granite City.