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Opinion: Fuelling the next generation – I’m not so sure about that

Wow ...12,000 new entrants to join offshore oil and gas industry in next five years headlines the industry report. Brill! But, over the same period, around 9% of the current workforce, for long said to be around 450,000 but now discovered to be 375,000 will disappear. I’m curious about the apparently sudden drop from 450,000 to 375,000 direct and induced. It doesn't seem to be explained. That’s a heck of a reduction and begs the question as to the accuracy of the old overall workforce number. I have to assume that the methodology that generated the 450,000 figure a decade or so ago was as rigorous as the one that EY has applied for this latest study.


Can Group see boost in turnover and pre-tax profits

Oil and gas services firm Can Group has recorded a boost in turnover and pre-tax profits for the year ending December 2013. The Aberdeen-headquartered firm, which provides engineering, inspection and trade services to the oil and gas sector, posted a 20% increase in pre-tax profits to £18.5million, from £15.4million previously.


Opinion: Do the low oil prices spell gloom for the UK?

For over 20 years I have analysed oil price fluctuations. Why? Well, every country’s economic prospects and people’s jobs, yours and mine, are affected in one way or another by what happens to oil prices. Life and death decisions, including continuing national sovereignty for some nations, hinge on the price of oil. The current dramatic and fast 35% fall in oil price could be a pivotal moment in historical events. For example, will the oil revenue dependent Russian economy survive if oil prices stay at around $70 a barrel? If not, what action will Russia take?


‘Speed up tax plans to spur exploration’

Offshore industry chiefs have urged the UK Government to speed up measures to support the sector after coalition ministers unveiled radical plans to reward North Sea investment. Tax regime changes aimed at making sure as much oil and gas as possible is extracted have been welcomed by operators. But they want them implemented sooner rather than later because of the challenges posed by low crude prices and high exploration costs. Highland MP and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, and Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Priti Patel, were both in Aberdeen yesterday to present their department’s financial review of the sector.


Opinion: Revamping the UK oil taxation regime

In the Autumn Statement, the UK Government announced a number of measures aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the UK Continental Shelf. This included a 2% reduction in the Supplementary Charge to Corporation Tax, new tax allowances to encourage development of complex fields as well as enhanced tax measures for the exploration phase. But this was the curtain raiser to the main event in Aberdeen, where the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander MP, presented a more detailed roadmap for the future fiscal approach to the UK oil and gas tax regime.


Opinion: Danny Alexander’s North Sea lifebelt

It looks as if the UK Treasury has a fiscal plan that might work for the UK Continental Shelf and the industry appears broadly receptive. But there were multiple warnings issued to Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander in Aberdeen that time is running out and that he must deliver concrete measures by the Government’s Spring Budget. Indeed, this urgency is made all the more acute by the revelations that Opec swing producer Saudi Arabia is now apparently content to let the oil price drop to around $60 a barrel and that it be a long, rough ride for everyone. The gathering of industry leaders and media at Oil & Gas UK’s offices to listen to Alexander and Tory colleague Priti Patel (exchequer secretary) was large.

Oil & Gas

CHC to invest millions in Aberdeen facilities

CHC Helicopter is set to invest millions of pounds to transform its facilities in Aberdeen. The company plans to deliver the expansion of its hangar capacity, passenger terminal and provide for a new operations centre. The development will be delivered in two phases.


Autumn Statement: Danny Alexander to reveal tax break plans

Offshore firms will be offered new tax breaks today to trigger a fresh wave of North Sea exploration, it can be revealed. Energy Voice has learned that Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander will reveal plans to try to end the UK's exploration crisis through a system of tax credits for seismic surveys. The move is expected to be welcomed by industry leaders who have repeatedly called for extra incentives to stimulate flagging exploration rates.


Opinion: UKCS is open for business

We watched yesterday's Autumn Statement from the Chancellor George Osborne, with feelings of hope and trepidation. We understand the economic constraints under which today’s Autumn Statement is delivered and there’s consensus in our offices this afternoon that the immediate reduction of two percentage points in its tax rate is an important first step towards improving the fiscal competitiveness of the UK North Sea – but, without question, more needs to be done.

Oil & Gas

Oil price decline could have major effect on UKCS, report claims

The decline in oil prices could have a substantial adverse effect on the oil and gas industry in the UKCS (UK continental shelf) a leading industry expert has warned. Research by Professor Alex Kemp and Linda Stephen from the Aberdeen University has found that if the current drop in price continues, there will be reduced investment and production. Using economic modelling, the pair highlighted two scenarios which reflect investment screening prices.

Oil & Gas

Maven sells stake in oil and gas firm

Maven Capital Partners has sold its stake in an Aberdeen firm it backed in a £10million deal five years ago. A group of private investors has bought out Maven's stake in oil and gas control systems firm, EFC Group. The sum was undisclosed but Maven said it generated a 3.8x multiple return for its client funds on the deal.

Oil & Gas

Fletcher Shipping adds vessel to its fleet

Fletcher Shipping has added a new platform supply vessel (PSV) to its fleet. The FS Cygnus was named by Karen Fletcher at Flekkefjord in Norway. It is the first new build for the Fletcher fleet and is one of two sister ships being built by Norwegian shipyard Simek.


Video: Industry confidence at a six-year low

A report by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has found confidence within the oil and gas industry is at its lowest in six years. Uisdean Vass, an oil and gas partner with UK law firm Bond Dickinson, outlines two fiscal packages the government could potentially outline for the Autumn Statement.

Oil & Gas

Mussel farmer named apprentice of the year

A former mussel farmer has been named apprentice of the year at the 15th anniversary of the UK Upstream Oil and Gas Technician Training Scheme. Michael Williamson previously completed an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering with Shetland Island Council Ferries. The 22-year-old, from Whalsay in Shetland, is currently an instrument technician at Edinburgh College and was given his award after demonstrating “outstanding ability and attitude” during his four years on the scheme, which has helped 1,500 people enter the industry already.

Oil & Gas

Opinion:The cold, hard light of a grim day

Sir Ian Wood wrote an interesting article recently in which he discussed the window of opportunity for Aberdeen to take advantage of its oil capital status in order to make radical improvements to the city centre. To those of us who are occasional visitors to the city, it has long been an enigma that there is so much wealth in and around Aberdeen yet this is so inconsistently reflected in the face it shows to visitors, at least on first acquaintance.

Oil & Gas

Job fears at Dana after Koreans axe four top bosses

Four top bosses have been sacked by Dana Petroleum in a brutal restructure which has staff fearing for their jobs. The oil and gas firm confirmed last night that it has “removed” four managing directors, including Paul Griffin, chief of its UK operations. Netherlands boss Nick Dancer, Egypt boss Paul Barnett and Africa boss John Downie have also gone.