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Training & Technology

European Centre of Technology finds funds to support oil worker retraining

31/05/2016

A Scottish training centre has secured funding to help oil and gas workers adapt their skills for careers in different sectors. The European Centre of Technology (ECT), which is based at Napier University in Edinburgh, said the cash boost had come from the Galileo Project, an Italian scheme that was set up in 1975 to help pay for different types of training. The funding will be used to cover half of the cost of the ECT’s courses in management, engineering, finance and renewable-energy.

Oil & Gas

North Sea industry heading for Lehman Brothers magnitude crash

27/05/2016

The North Sea oil and gas industry is sleepwalking towards a liquidity crisis on the scale of Lehman Brothers, an energy finance expert warmed yesterday. Colin Welsh, the Aberdeen-based head of international energy investment at Simmons and Company, also said the UK and Scottish governments were not doing enough to help the sector. But the head of industry body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) said both administrations had shown their support, while Scotland’s energy minister said Holyrood would keep pressing the UK Government to provide support for exploration and production (E&P).

North Sea

Struggling Atlantic Petroleum to exit from North Sea

26/05/2016

A Faroese oil and gas explorer which has struggled under the weight of low oil prices plans to offload its entire UK North Sea portfolio. Atlantic Petroleum chief executive Ben Arabo said yesterday that while the basin is “not dead”, the company sees better opportunities further afield. Mr Arabo said the firm would switch its attention to projects in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, adding that a newly-agreed loan facility would keep the business afloat.

North Sea

Aquatic gears up modular carousel for Etap deployment

25/05/2016

An Aberdeen firm which is getting ready to supply a groundbreaking piece of kit for one of the North Sea’s biggest projects is on track to return to growth this year, its boss said yesterday. Revenues at Aquatic Engineering and Construction were down by about a quarter last year as the firm, like most of its rivals, took a hit from the oil and gas downturn. But Aquatic’s early moves to restructure the business and a busy start to 2016 have boosted the company, which specialises in back deck reels.

Oil & Gas

Tech developments can generate £1bln revenues for oil and gas industry, report says

24/05/2016

The struggling oil and gas industry could unlock £1billion worth of revenues by developing new techniques for inspecting offshore infrastructure, a new report says. The study said companies’ efforts to check installations for corrosion and inspect vessels used to extract oil and gas were being hindered by technology gaps, which were lowering efficiency and increasing costs. It set out to identify new and existing technologies which could cut costs associated with these two key areas of asset integrity, without compromising on safety.

Oil & Gas

Dassault Systemes teams up with Industry Technology Facilitator

23/05/2016

The Aberdeen-based oil and gas Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF) has boosted its membership with the arrival of French firm Dassault Systemes. Dassault Systemes believes involvement with ITF, coupled with its knowledge of working in a range of sectors, will help the oil industry tackle its efficiency problems. The company, which employs more than 14,000 people, supplies 3D design software and product management services to 12 industrial sectors, including aerospace and automotive.

Oil & Gas

At least 20 Aberdeen jobs at risk at DOF Subsea UK

19/05/2016

An Aberdeen-based subsidiary of energy service firm DOF Group is in consultation with north-east workers over plans to shed at least another 20 jobs. The move is part of a drive to cut costs in light of “current and future conditions in the marketplace”, DOF Subsea UK managing director Robert Gillespie said yesterday. DOF is one of a number of vessel owner-operators to have been hit by the oil and gas industry downturn as operators scale back on exploration activity. Earlier this month, Harkand went bust, with the loss of 171 jobs, while Ceona hit the wall in September, eliminating 102 positions.

Renewables/Energy Transition

Developer confident of wind farm go-ahead despite subsidy setback

13/05/2016

The backers of a £2billion wind farm planned for the outer Forth Estuary have not been scared off by moves to scrap a subsidy agreement, the project’s developer said yesterday. The Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC), which manages for the contracts for difference (CfDs) for the UK Government, said in late March it would terminate the state subsidy for the Neart na Gaoithe (NNG) wind farm. But developer Mainstream Renewable Power said it was not taking the setback lying down and insisted funding was still in place for NNG, which was expected to result in £1.1billion of spending in Scotland and create 600 jobs.

Other News

Question mark “hangs over” Aberdeen harbour expansion plans

13/05/2016

Aberdeen Harbour Board (AHB) has discarded a study which raised environmental concerns about its £415million plans to expand into Nigg Bay. Green groups said yesterday there was a “question mark” hanging over the site after a report revealed higher than expected levels of metal contamination within the area to be dredged for the expansion. But the results of that study were discounted after second study came back clean.

Oil & Gas

Wood Group headcount down 2,500 so far in 2016

12/05/2016

Wood Group has laid off 2,500 people across its global operations so far this year as it scrambles to match its head count to lower activity levels. The Aberdeen-headquartered energy service giant’s chief executive, Robin Watson, was yesterday unable to say how many of those job losses had taken place in the UK. Mr Watson did say the company was sensitive to the plight of workers, but was doing the right thing to protect the business long term.

Oil & Gas

Aberdeen harbour profits up by a fifth despite oil and gas downturn

12/05/2016

The head of Aberdeen harbour said yesterday the decision to overlook the Nigg Bay expansion project for City Region Deal funding did not “make his day”, but was “not a complete surprise”. Aberdeen Harbour Board (AHB) had hoped to benefit from the £250million city deal, but will have to fund the project with its own profits and third party backing following the snub. Projected costs for Nigg Bay have shot up to £415million from £320million and AHB has previously said it will need to borrow up to £200million.

Renewables/Energy Transition

UK losing appeal among green energy investors

10/05/2016

Britain’s appeal as a market for investment in renewable-energy has been diminished by UK Government policy, a new report said. The UK now ranks 13th out of 40 countries in terms its ability to lure backers, which is an all-time low, according to the renewable-energy country attractiveness index from professional services firm EY. The top three positions were occupied by the US, China and India, while Argentina was the highest-scoring new entrant at 19th.

Oil & Gas

Father-and-son team eye Africa contracts for new training firm

07/05/2016

A north-east father-and-son team are ready to go after their first major contract wins just over a year after setting up a business together. James Murphy and his son, Jamie, founded Navitas Compliance Solutions (NCS) in Peterhead last February and have largely bankrolled it with their own funds. The Murphys, who have both served in the army, have spent the intervening period creating a programme that will help oil and gas companies train native workers in developing countries.

Oil & Gas

Weir forced into U-turn on directors’ pay after shareholder backlash

29/04/2016

Struggling Scottish engineering firm Weir Group was forced to do a U-turn over directors' pay following a shareholders’ revolt at yesterday’s annual general meeting. In a resounding defeat, the company’s executive remuneration policy was voted down by 73% of shareholders, despite chief executive Keith Cochrane taking a pay cut of more than a quarter, leaving him with just over £1milllion. Their objection was linked to the proposed introduction of share options for executives which will pay out regardless of the company's performance, a rarity in UK boardrooms.

Other News

Hial airports in record 2015/16 – but oil sector woes start to take toll

27/04/2016

Passenger numbers at Highlands and Islands Airports (Hial) edged up to hit a new record in its last financial year despite a disappointing start to 2016. The group of 11 regional terminals was used by a total of 1,437,625 people in the year ended March 31, up by 0.4%, on the previous year, according to figures released yesterday. Inverness was the busiest airport in 2015/16, handling 671,103 passengers over the 12 months, an annual increase of 2%.

Events

OGUK launches new series of share fairs

20/04/2016

Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) aims to build on the momentum gathering behind efforts to reduce energy sector costs with the first in a new series of “share fairs”. The industry body’s new share fairs aim to spur collaboration by giving supply chain companies a chance to have one-to-one interviews with operators’ decision-makers and listen to presentations on key topics. The first event in OGUK’s Aberdeen office on Wednesday, April 27 will focus on the theme of maintenance and repair.

Oil & Gas

Ashtead increases turnover and profits in “relatively buoyant” 2014/15

20/04/2016

Aberdeenshire subsea service company Ashtead Technology has posted increases in profits and turnover for its last full financial year before changing ownership. A week ago, the Westhill-based firm announced a majority stake in the business had been acquired by Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp) and its London-based venture capital partner, Buckthorn, for an undisclosed fee. Ashtead, which employs 75 people in Aberdeen, London, Houston and Singapore, with agents in Abu Dhabi, Perth and Stavanger, said the investment would help the firm expand its geographical reach, with the Middle East being a particular area of interest and focus.

Health & Safety

Iqarus completes 2nd takeover of 2016

19/04/2016

Iqarus has added the United Nations (UN) and Nato to its client base after completing its second takeover of 2016, the Aberdeen-based occupational healthcare business said yesterday. Bosses at Iqarus said the acquisition of remote medical support provider Exmed would “propel” the company into some of the world’s most difficult operating environments. Iqarus declined to give a price for the takeover of Exmed, which has supported operations as far afield as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Siberia, but did reveal talks with other takeover targets were at an “advanced stage”.

Oil & Gas

Construction firm chief to join Wood Group board

16/04/2016

The head of a major construction firm will try his hand in the energy sector after agreeing to join the board of Wood Group. Richard Howson, who has been chief executive of Carillion since 2012, will take on the role of non-executive director at Wood Group starting May 12. Mr Howson will also take up a place on the Wood Group board’s committees for nomination and safety, assurance and business ethics, the Aberdeen-headquartered oil service firm said yesterday.

Oil & Gas

Exclusive: Petrofac facing legal dispute over Laggan-Tormore bonuses

16/04/2016

Petrofac is facing a legal battle over claims it has withheld hundreds of thousands of pounds in bonus payments from workers on its gas plant in Shetland. Contractors on the £800million Laggan-Tormore plant claim the oil and gas services giant has repeatedly fobbed off attempts to pay out bonuses worth up to £250,000. Tavish Scott, the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ Shetland candidate, weighed into the row, labelling the situation “unacceptable” and demanded that Petrofac pay the bonuses.

Other News

Aberdeen hotel up for sale against backdrop of market struggles

16/04/2016

An Aberdeen hotel was included in a £130million portfolio of 10 UK hospitality properties that was put up for sale yesterday. But potential suitors could be put off at a time when room revenues in the north-east market are plummeting. The Hotel Collection, a group of properties owned by Dallas-based private equity firm Lone Star, has instructed Savills and Rothschild to find buyers for the portfolio, which notched revenues of £48million last year.

Oil & Gas

Anti-corrosion business opens in Aberdeen

13/04/2016

GEV Group’s anti-corrosion coatings business has set up shop in Aberdeen. Oxifree UK will initially employ four to five people at its rented premises near Aberdeen Harbour. The facility will also be used as a training facility for technicians, while GEV’s other subsidiaries – GEV Offshore, GEV Windpower and Subsea Masters – will have a presence at the site.

Oil & Gas

Score Group profits slump 82% as clients can’t afford to spend

13/04/2016

A nosedive in spending at cash-strapped oil and gas companies has inflicted an 82% drop in profits at Peterhead’s Score Group. Profits also took a tumble at Kintore-based Ferguson Group, which supplies offshore accommodation modules and containers for the international energy industry Score chairman Charles Ritchie said the global engineering firm had an “overhead structure” designed to cater for revenue streams in excess of £200million.

Oil & Gas

Boss of new industry alliance vows to rescue North Sea oil industry

11/04/2016

The boss of a newly formed group of three businesses has vowed to come to the rescue of North Sea oil and gas companies with badly-needed well intervention services. Paul Landers said The New Way (TNW) will pool its resources to improve flow from wells at a low cost and with a quick turnaround time. TNW is made up of well services firm StimLite and GB Seismic, both based in Leicester, and UCS, a contracting supply company.