Centrica Chief Executive Sam Laidlaw gave a keynote address at the Offshore Europe conference in Aberdeen, one of the largest oil and gas events in Europe.
Sam first spoke about the recent tragedy, which claimed the lives of four people from the oil and gas industry in a helicopter crash off Shetland. He said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with the families and colleagues of those involved. These are losses which all of us in this close offshore industry feel deeply.”
“It is also a stark reminder of the absolute commitment to safety as the over-riding priority of our industry.”
Sam went on to discuss the future of the UK offshore oil and gas sector, which “supports nearly half a million jobs and makes a central contribution to the nation’s energy security, its economic growth and the country’s tax revenues”.
He explained that the world energy market is changing with the impact of LNG and natural gas from shale ‒ outlining the enormous potential economic benefit that unconventional gas could provide. However, he stated that meaningful engagement with local communities is vital if the UK is to develop shale production successfully: “We must reassure them that the highest safety and environmental protection is in place, and we must demonstrate the benefits to them.”
Sam added that the UK Continental Shelf still has a lot of potential: “With the right technology and incentives, there is much to play for, not only in the more frontier areas west of Shetland but also in the mature basins.
“In Centrica’s own portfolio we have good examples of this. With our partners, the operator GDF Suez and Bayerngas, we are currently developing the Cygnus field, the largest gas discovery in the southern North Sea in the past 25 years.”
Sam urged the Government to put in place a stable and predictable tax regime for the next phase of North Sea development, welcoming the measures on decommissioning relief announced by the Chancellor today.
Simpler access to infrastructure, and its preservation, is also vital. He said: “Key offshore hubs and pipelines need to be safeguarded to ensure that we can develop the smaller fields that will be the hallmark of the next phase of North Sea development.”
He also called on the oil and gas industry to come together to build capabilities, innovate through technology and lower its cost base – as well as improve project management capabilities to prevent overruns on capital projects.
He concluded: “I believe that, if we can work together, the future for the North Sea and the wider energy market is a bright one.”
Press Release, September 04, 2013