EIC event attracts delegates from across the energy industry

One of the energy industry's leading trade bodies held its first ever showcase event in the North East last week to coincide with the opening of its new regional office. Peter McCusker reports

Andy Buchanan/PA Wire An instillation in the North Sea
An instillation in the North Sea

On purchasing North East oil and gas industry business Whessoe, its new owners Samsung tapped into the knowledge and expertise of industry body the Energy Industries Council (EIC).

Already a member of the 71-year-old energy trade group Steve Kim, new chief executive of Whessoe, part of the Korean Samsung C & T Group, turned to the EIC in the search for continental contracts to secure the Darlington company’s future.

Mr Kim said last week: “Samsung-Whessoe used EICDataStream to harvest information for a pre-marketing European tour.

“Based on the information, we had an extremely successful tour, meeting with prospective customers across Europe, increasing our customer database and unearthing a number of new future prospects.

“Whessoe has been a member of the EIC for many years, and will continue to use the EIC to seek new opportunities worldwide.”

In a sign of support for the EIC, Kim opened the its new Northern regional office at Wynyard Business Village, Wynyard Park, Teesside, last week.

The move from Billingham to larger offices for its half a dozen North East staff is a credit to the region’s growing importance as a leading industrial cluster, servicing the UK’s energy industries, says Claire Miller, EIC chief executive officer.

“The EIC opened its first office in the North East region in 2005 when we recognised that the organisation needed a presence in the North of England. As a major industrial hub for manufacturers and suppliers to the UK energy industries, the Teesside area seemed a perfect fit,” she said

“With over 285 member companies located in the Northern region, the move to a larger facility will provide the EIC’s growing membership base with access to the full suite of EIC services at a local level.

“Additionally, the EIC is UKTI’s accredited trade organisation for the oil and gas and renewable industries, so we are perfectly placed to help the many companies concentrated in the North East who work in these sectors to export to international markets.

“From our global project tracking database, EICDataStream, to UKTI part-funded overseas delegations hosted in key upcoming markets, the EIC is committed to unlocking opportunities for our members.

“The move really is testament to the growing number of opportunities in the region, as evidenced by the high-profile speakers that presented to our members at the EIC North East Energy Showcase.”

The office opening was held on the same day as the showcase, where speakers from leading North East businesses Amec, Able UK, DeepOcean and Wilton Engineering unveiled their major project plans.

This was the first such event held by the EIC in the region and attracted over 100 delegates from across the energy industry to learn more on the long-term prospects in the region, meet influential contacts and network with other member companies.

Neil Wem, operations director – brownfield and asset management – for engineering giant Amec, which has a large regional base in Darlington, highlighted the strength and importance of its regional supply chain.

He said: “We are proud of the way we trade with the supply chain and a lot of our efforts go into making that relationship better.

“Here in the North East supply chain companies suffered as the industry declined but it has picked up again lately with the new investment in the sector.

“We want people to come on board and go on the journey with us and help us deliver engineering solutions for our customers. Businesses have to be lean and mean to survive and if we do not work together we will see more assets disappear from the region.”

Andy Readyhough, senior business development at DeepOcean, which has its main UK base in Darlington, outlined the recent growth of the company in the subsea sector.

DeepOcean has secured work on the Western Link interconnector to allow the transfer of Scottish wind energy to the rest of the UK. This consists of 720 km of cable to be laid in the Irish Sea between Hunterston in Scotland and Deeside in Wales.

Readyhough warned that the transfer of technology from the offshore oil and gas industry to offshore wind may prove more difficult than many envisage.

He stressed how costs will have to come down in the offshore wind industry highlighting how the cabling needed to support the offshore wind arrays, and to export the power produced, is of a magnitude never previously tackled.

He said: “There may be as many as 3,000 turbines on the Dogger Bank alone and oil and gas technology will not be able to make it work at the prices being targeted by Government.

“At the moment we are a long way from the £100 per MW/h Government price benchmark and we will have to find new ways to bring these costs down.”

Amisha Patel, head of power nuclear and renewables at the EIC, said that following the Energy Bill and the publication of the Contracts for Difference and capacity mechanism there is a now clear visibility on the opportunities available for the supply chain.

“In the renewable sector we have just had a record breaking year for offshore wind with a 79% increase in capacity.

“Last week there was the Siemens announcement in Hull (a new wind turbine blade manufacturing facility) and this is a significant investment in the sector creating 1,000 jobs and hundreds more in construction.”

About the Energy Industries Council

The EIC is a trade association that helps members understand, identify and pursue worldwide business opportunities in the sector.

Established in 1943, the EIC is a not-for-profit organisation with a membership of over 650 UK-registered companies who deliver goods and services to the energy industries worldwide.

The EIC’s membership operates across the oil and gas, petrochemical, pipeline, power, nuclear and renewable industries, collectively employing over a million people and generating over £100bn in revenues out of their UK-based operations.

Headquartered in London, the EIC has a network of offices, from regional UK offices in Teesside and Aberdeen, to international offices in Rio de Janeiro, Houston, Dubai and Singapore.

Claire Miller, chief executive officer EIC, said: “Our goal is to put our members first and serve them well, providing one of the most comprehensive sources of energy projects and business intelligence in the energy sector today.

“The EIC is renowned for excellence in the provision of services that unlock opportunities for our members, helping the supply chain to win business across the globe.”

The new EIC office features hot-desking facilities and free wi-fi for members. Wynyard Park, where the EIC is now based, is already home to a number of energy-related businesses including ConocoPhillips, KCA Deutag, Hertel and Fabricom.

28 energy projects in the North East

EIC Members can take advantage of its online projects tracking database the EICDataStream, which is currently tracking almost 10,000 projects around the world, across all sectors of the energy industry, representing billions of dollars of spending.

The database tracks the full life cycle of these projects, from the initial proposal and design work, through to construction and completion.

According to figures from EICDataStream, there are currently 28 power and renewable projects planned or under development in the North East.

One of these is on land owned by Able UK at Billingham Reach Industrial Estate, which is being developed by Gaia Power and involves the construction of a 50MW biomass power plant.

The plant will utilise recycled wood chippings mostly from construction industry and demolition waste. Iberdrola was awarded a turnkey EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract for the plant in November 2013, while Foster Wheeler was awarded a contract to supply the boiler in the same month.

EICDataStream informs members that Iberdrola is tendering key packages for fuel reception handling and storage plant, steam turbine/generator, water cooled condenser, water treatment plant, cooling water abstraction system plant equipment, civil contract and mechanical and electrical balance of plant, all of which are expected to be awarded in April 2014.

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