North East companies urged to seek export opportunities

ENERGY sector companies who have honed their skills in the North Sea are being encouraged to seek out opportunities all over the world.

ENERGY sector companies who have honed their skills in the North Sea are being encouraged to seek out opportunities all over the world.

International trade body UK Trade and Investment is holding a series of workshops next week in the wake of the Offshore Europe event in Aberdeen, and is urging energy firms to look at the possibility of taking their talents to a broader range of markets.

The UKTI Energy Roadshow will be visiting Durham’s Ramside Hall Hotel on Monday, September 12, before heading to Sheffield and London on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Experts from 13 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Russia, the Middle East and the USA will be outlining opportunities, and UKTI representatives will also be available to discuss the support on hand for businesses. The events will run from 9am to 2pm.

Advisers will be fresh from Offshore Europe, the oil and gas conference which closes today and featured an appearance from energy minister Charles Hendry.

UKTI international trade adviser Jonathan Gamblin expects businesses to see more opportunities in future, as global energy demand is predicted to rise by 34% by 2035.

He said: “In the North East, we have a lot of companies with a lot of valuable knowledge and expertise developed in the harsh climate of the North Sea, and that is highly prized around the world.

“This is true of oil and gas, but also for new and renewable energy. As the equipment for offshore is 10 to 15km out, a lot of skills are transferable from oil and gas. There are lots of opportunities for businesses on their doorsteps but they also shouldn’t forget other industries are interested in their skills as well, especially in areas such as Australia and Brazil.”

The UKTI offers businesses assistance in identifying market opportunities abroad and has trade advisers working directly with the company, as well as commercial officers that can identify potential partnership opportunities. It operates initiatives such as the Passport to Export and Gateway to Global Growth schemes.

Among the companies from the region exploring international trade is Sunderland fuel and chemical tank maker and repairer ABFAD.

Managing director Chris Haritou said: “With the help of UKTI we’ve been able to look at several European markets in a bid to expand our business.

“Events such as this are a great way to find out about the opportunities different markets can offer. UKTI can then be invaluable in supporting companies in their bid to turn potential opportunities into new business.”

Events are free to attend and feature a networking lunch.

Interested businesses are advised to book in advance through www.ukti-energyroadshow2011.com

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