James Gray, inward investment director for EEEGR and the East of England Energy Zone (EEEZ), has welcomed the progress of a group set up to encourage energy businesses across the region to work together to attract as much work as possible from the predicted boom in decommissioning Southern North Sea gas platforms and other offshore infrastructure.
He spoke after more than 100 industry representatives gathered in Norwich to learn about the progress of a Special Interest Group launched by Decom North Sea and EEEGR (East of England Energy Group) to challenge for business in a sector likely to be worth billions of pounds over the coming decades.
“The work of the group will provide valuable support for efforts to persuade international companies to come to the region and take advantage of its ports, infrastructure, offshore skills and expertise established over many years,” said Gray.
Around 440 fields have been developed in the North Sea over the years containing more than 800 platforms and subsea facilities.
“It means there is a potential multi-billion business becoming available for the East of England, alongside the rapidly developing windpower industry and the resurgent offshore gas sector – and this region has the assets, resources and background to successfully challenge for this work,” said Gray. “Local expertise went into many of these installations so we are best equipped to help their decommissioning.”
ASCO regional director Glen Hurren, appointed chairman of a steering group set up to lead the initiative, said it would promote the infrastructure and skills of the region to help compete for decommissioning work which might otherwise go to northern Europe.
“Through collaboration I want to see us attract this work to the region along with the employment and wealth it will bring.”
Sarah Hillyer, Decom North Sea operations manager, told delegates that the partnership, first agreed with EEEGR in July 2012, would stimulate business opportunities in North Sea decommissioning – attracting inward investment and promoting local skills and capabilities.
“We want to encourage operators to share information and knowledge and help our supply chain understand what has to be done and when and where.” she said. “We’re based in Aberdeen but are well aware of the significance of the East of England region in relation to the Southern North Sea and want to help it capture the decommissioning work.”
The meeting later heard from Tetra Technology’s North Sea & Europe business development leader Eddie Grant; Gerard Lubbinge, tender manager for Boskalis Offshore; and Doug Nunn, of Fraser Offshore, who all shared their decommissioning expertise and experiences with delegates.
EEEGR chief executive Simon Gray said it was vital to get the timing right for decommissioning. It was important not to remove infrastructure which might otherwise be upgraded later to accommodate innovative ways of extending the life of existing gas fields.
Press Release, December 11, 2013