Decom North Sea (DNS’s) chief executive Brian Nixon received one of the oil & gas industry’s most prestigious accolades when he was presented with a Significant Achievement Award at the Offshore Achievement Awards (20 March 2014).
The Offshore Achievement Awards have a 27-year history of celebrating outstanding success within the UK offshore industry in categories which include safety innovations, new technologies, collaborative working and individual achievement. Nixon’s honour is a special category which recognises his long career and contributions to the energy industry. Previous winners include Malcolm Webb, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK and Alexander Kemp, professor of petroleum economics at Aberdeen University.
On being presented the honour, Nixon commented: “I’m absolutely thrilled and most grateful to receive this prestigious industry award, which I credit to the entire DNS team. It couldn’t come at a more appropriate time, as I will shortly be ‘decommissioning’ myself and heading into partial retirement.
“I believe the award recognises not just my efforts, but also those of our members and the quite exceptional team that I have at DNS, and in particular Sarah Hillyear. So I was delighted to accept the award on behalf of the whole DNS team.”
For the past four years, Nixon has led the development of DNS and at the end of last year, he announced his decision to step down to take partial retirement. Now a well-respected industry body, DNS’s 230 members are drawn from operators, major contractors, service specialists and technology developers. It has seen growth in its national and international presence, holding and attending events across the UK and in Norway and the Netherlands, both countries having members on the Board of Directors.
Nixon has encouraged a transparent knowledge share of DNS members and has spearheaded the development of practical tools to benefit the decommissioning industry. These include its 2013 report on the supply chain in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and Accenture, which produced a detailed assessment of the current state of the decommissioning sector. Nixon was also instrumental in DNS’s collaboration with operators, consultants and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to formulate a Standard Decommissioning Programme Template which enables plans to be ratified more quickly, allowing the smooth planning of decommissioning programmes and workloads in years to come.
In the years ahead, many mature assets in the North Sea will reach the end of their economic life and will be decommissioned and removed. Latest estimates forecast a spend of £35billion by 2040, with the total cost of North Sea decommissioning in the next five years alone expected to be around £4.5billion focusing on 40 platforms, showing that decommissioning will continue to rise in prominence in the coming years.
Nixon’s long career in the energy industry started with an apprenticeship at Babcock and Willox, followed by a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Strathclyde University. He went on to spend 15 years at Motherwell Bridge before embarking on projects with Atlantic Power and Gas, AOC International (which became part of PSN) and Wood Group.
Nixon’s tenure at Wood Group included a secondment as 1st Secretary, Oil & Gas, to the British Embassy in Angola to help UK firms win work in the newly oil-rich country. This led to him being headhunted by Scottish Enterprise where he spent eight years as the Director of the Energy Team. Decom North Sea was formed following a 12-month consultation with industry leaders led by Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and the Department of Energy & Climate Change into the main bottlenecks which were inhibiting the development of a decommissioning supply chain, a recommendation was approved to form an independent forum focussed on decommissioning.
DNS Chairman Murdo MacIver, Director-Offshore Group for Peterson, said: “Brian is an inspiration to many people and his contribution to the energy industry, and in particular to the decommissioning industry during the past few years, has been of tremendous benefit to the supply chain as a whole. His unique talent for bringing people and organisations together has been instrumental in the development of Decom North Sea and of benefit to many in creating knowledge and an understanding of the decommissioning industry. I am absolutely delighted that Brian has won this award which is very much deserved.”
Nixon continued: “In my retirement I very much look forward to spending more time with my family and friends and doing a little bit of travelling.”
Press Release, March 21, 2014