Opinion: All’s fair with decom plans but North Sea needs help now


Decommissioning seems to be the word on everyone’s lips in the oil and gas sector. Shell’s announcement of plans to remove facilities in the Brent field was closely followed by Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement of a £5 million Scottish Government fund to support decommissioning projects.

Oil & Gas

UK Government called to support ‘sacrificial cow’ by union boss


The UK Government must support the North Sea oil and gas industry through the downturn because it was its “sacrificial milk cow” for years, a union boss warned last night. Jake Molloy, RMT regional organiser, made the comments on a visit to London, where he briefed MPs in the union’s parliamentary group. They discussed sustainability of production and jobs, and how to maximise the recovery, in advance of a meeting with energy ministers at Westminster.

Oil & Gas

GMB urges Unite and OCA to agree offshore worker pay deal


The GMB trade union has urged its counterpart, Unite, and North Sea industry chiefs to return to the negotiating table and hammer out a pay deal for offshore workers. The appeal follows yesterday’s announcement from GMB that its offshore members had voted to accept the same offer from employers that Unite members rejected last week. It is understood there was a clear majority from GMB in favour of accepting the offer from the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA), which has 10 full members including Petrofac, Wood Group PSN and Stork.

Oil & Gas

Unions could ‘jeopardise’ future investment after OCA no vote


North Sea oil workers could be jeopardising future investment in the North Sea if they choose to ballot over strike action, according to a top industrial relations expert. Unions voted against a package offered by the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) earlier this week, a move which could lead them back to the negotiating table or a potential strike not seen since the 1980s. Sean Saluja, a partner at Burness Paull and head of their employment division, said the decline in oil price since last year had been more “significant” than the industry had previously anticipated.

Oil & Gas

Union boss warns of “zero-hours” impact on offshore safety


Offshore workers are being put on “zero-hours” contracts that are a threat to safety in the oil and gas industry and should be outlawed, a union boss said last night. Jake Molloy, regional organiser for the RMT, was speaking after it emerged energy service firm Bilfinger Salamis UK was signing people up on terms he said were tantamount to controversial zero-hours deals. But the company denied this was the case, saying its employees were paid even if there was no work available and that “technical variations” to contracts gave it more flexibility in the oil and gas downturn.

Oil & Gas

Exclusive: Archer to reduce jobs in North Sea operations


Drilling company Archer is in consultation with its staff about redundancies on a number of its North Sea operations. The move will affect offshore employees on the Shell Brent Alpha, Bravo and Delta as well as staff known as the “roving crew” according to documents seen by Energy Voice. In a letter to staff, Archer said the redundancies had been caused by the oil major Shell’s announcement it would be ceasing operations on its Brent Delta Rig.

North Sea

Unions to hold oil crisis talks


Unions and employers in the oil and gas industry are to meet to discuss the threat to jobs in the wake of the dramatic fall in oil prices. The move follows an announcement from BP of hundreds of job losses, sparking warnings of further cuts and calls for Government action. The firm said it expects to shed 200 onshore staff, while 100 contractors’ posts will also be axed, which unions said was a “devastating blow” to the industry.

Oil & Gas

Offshore union calls for ‘crisis management’ to rescue jobs in wake of oil slump


Offshore union RMT has called for a “crisis management” plan to rescue British jobs and infrastructure in the wake of the oil price slump. It has “major concerns” about the impact of cost-cutting across the sector with workers from Total, Apache, Shell and others complaining that terms and conditions are to be cut and shift patterns altered. Major redevelopment and refurbishment projects will be “delayed indefinitely as investment dries up”, the Health & Safety Executive “will be stretched to maximum capacity trying to deal with the introduction of the new EU Offshore Safety Directive”, the sustainability of production is “at risk”, and the UK taxpayer faces a bill of up to £30 billion for decommissioning, it said.