Home: Issue 9 2011 › Oil & Gas UK 'The voice of the offshore industry'
Oil & Gas UK 'The voice of the offshore industry'
13/10/2011 | Channel:
IT, Technology, Equipment, Health & Safety, Exploration & Production, Drilling, Lifting Gear, Subsea, Support Services, Manufacturing, Hire & Rental, Human Resources, Environmental, Decommissioning, Storage
Formed in 2007 and intended to be ‘the voice of the UK offshore oil and gas industry’, Oil & Gas UK is the leading representative body for the entire sector, acting as a non-profit organisation with the key objective of strengthening the long-term health of the industry in and around the UK.
In order to achieve this, the organisation works closely with companies across the sector, as well as governments and stakeholders to address and solve all issues that may affect business.
“When Oil & Gas UK was formed four years ago we wanted to take the opportunity to raise awareness of the UK industry, while at the same time raising its political profile, and I think that thus far we have been successful,” Oil & Gas UK chief executive Malcolm Webb recently told European Oil and Gas Magazine. “Loosely, this translates into three central strategic objectives today. The first is to maximise the economic recovery of the UKCS reserves, the second is to promote the longterm sustainable future of the magnificent oil and gas supply chain that we have here in the UK, and the third is to raise public awareness of the industry in general.
“How we go about doing that is really broken down into a number of different methods and techniques,” he continued. “For example, we carry out a great deal of inter-industry work promoting collaboration and the exchange of information between various organisations, companies and groups. Alongside this we run a great deal of industry forums, publish and monitor guidelines and run projects and discussions on the key issues facing the industry. We also represent the industry in the PILOT forum, which means liaising with the government’s industry committee, which is chaired by the Secretary of State for Energy and tasked with addressing the long-term future of the industry. In addition to these activities we are responsible for a number of databases and information on topics such as exploration, appraisal and production, licensing, drilling and seismic activity, which are collated by our subsidiary Common Data Access (CDA).”
One key example of Oil & Gas UK’s dedication to strengthening the UK industry in a safe, efficient and productive manner is its role in the establishment of the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group (OSPRAG), which was set up in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster in April 2010 to review the UK sector’s offshore drilling practices and assess the industry’s readiness to respond to a major event of similar levels.
“Deepwater Horizon shocked everyone,” explained Malcolm, “but the key point from Oil & Gas UK’s perspective was that we didn’t hesitate or waste any time in establishing OSPRAG, which was up and running by May 2010. After the disaster we immediately contacted all of the relevant companies, regulators and unions, all of which were very keen to join us in establishing an advisory group. From our point of view, in terms of activity in the UKCS there were a number of key concerns to address, with the first being, were we safe to continue operating? After immediate review the industry was convinced that we were in a safe environment to carry on with operations due to our stringent safety regimes and the independent verification and inspection that we have in the UK sector, which brings considerable advantages in overall safety.
“OSPRAG has also been involved in other major steps, including the design and development of a new innovative capping device that will be available for anyone in the UK that needs it in an emergency. It is lightweight, easy to transport without using a rig and will be one of the key developments from OSPRAG for the industry.”
Analysing the current condition of the market, Malcolm explained that although there is considerable potential left in the UKCS the recent business climate has given rise to some concerns: “I don’t think that the sector has been helped by the recent Budget, as what the UK offshore market needs is a stable business climate and a predictable fiscal regime. Going forward we need to make sure that we work with the Government to mitigate the damage and I think we need to liaise very closely when considering any further changes to the fiscal regime in order to achieve the best outcome.
“What some analysts do not always consider is that given the right business, regulatory and fiscal climates there is a huge amount of resource yet to be discovered in the areas surrounding the UK, which is something that we at Oil & Gas UK have really got to try and maximise. There really is excellent potential for this though; not only do we have a very experienced and knowledgeable market, but it is supported by a very strong supply chain, which is a major exporter of goods, services and knowledge worth some £6 billion to £7 billion per year to the economy.”
For Oil & Gas UK then, the future looks positive. The organisation will continue to be the voice of the UK’s offshore industry, raising the profile of the sector by promoting open dialogue within and across all areas of the industry, developing and delivering industry-wide initiatives and programmes and acting as the definitive source of information about the UK upstream market. “The UK offshore market leads the way in many areas in the global oil and gas sector,” said Malcolm, “we are a definite leader in subsea technology and have influenced developments around the world in that area.
“Ultimately I would like to see the industry continue to grow and develop its technical expertise further in the coming years. I believe that the UK Continental Shelf, contrary to some sources, still has a long life ahead of it, possibly 30, 40 or even 50 years. There will of course be new areas of growth, such as decommissioning, which will increase in the coming years as much of the infrastructure ages, but these are challenges that we in the industry look forward to, and I hope that as the industry grows Oil & Gas UK will continue to expand alongside it for many years to come,” he concluded.