Chief Secretary to the Treasury the Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP has opened the second day of Oil & Gas UK’s first Annual Conference in Aberdeen today ahead of a strong line-up of national and international speakers, including Sir Ian Wood.
Alexander outlined the UK Government’s vision of the future of the oil and gas industry, stating the North Sea is a ‘hugely important asset to our country’. The Chief Secretary also announced the name for the new industry regulator – the Oil and Gas Authority – and confirmed Aberdeen as its headquarters.
The Oil and Gas Authority will be designed to encourage economic production in the UK and provide sustainable long term support for the industry. An advert will be published 19 June 2014 to find a Chief Executive to lead the independent body.
“Our goal is simple to articulate – but hard to achieve – to maximise the benefits that the North Sea can bring to our economy. That means getting out every last drop of oil and gas that we can,” Alexander said.
He also highlighted today’s DECC decision to approve the Field Development Plan for the Premier Oil-operated Catcher field in the North Sea.
Alexander said:”The Catcher Project will see £1.5 billion of new investment and over 1,000 new jobs.”
In welcoming today’s announcement, Malcolm Webb, Oil & Gas UK’s chief executive, said: “The new regulator is now much more than just a vision or a theoretical construct. It is beginning to take shape, with a name, a location and – as we heard at the conference yesterday – the search for the new chief executive is underway. This is all very good news for our industry and we look forward to the creation of the new regulator over the coming weeks and months.”
Today’s plenary sessions in the morning also heard from Sir Ian Wood who, drawing from presentations by the Dutch, Danish and Norwegian authorities, summarised the aspects of these regimes which, in his view, the new regulator could learn from.