Strength of North Sea oil and gas industry demonstrated

The strength of the booming North Sea oil and gas industry was demonstrated last week with two major announcements of significant benefit the region

Ian McClelland Photography Ltd George Rafferty, chief executive of NOF Energy
George Rafferty, chief executive of NOF Energy

The strength of the booming North Sea oil and gas industry was demonstrated last week with two major announcements of significant benefit the region.

The Wallsend-based OGN Group secured a multi-million pound contract with independent UK oil and gas development and production company EnQuest, which will lead to the creation of 600 new jobs at its Tyneside facility.

Aberdeen-based EnQuest also announced it is set to pump more than £4 billion into its Kraken oil field development. The heavy oil field, located about 125 km east of the Shetland Islands, will support more than 20,000 jobs during its construction phase, and around 1,000 jobs a year during its 25-year lifespan.

George Rafferty, chief executive of Durham-based business support organisation NOF Energy, said: “With £100bn worth of projects planned for the North Sea, the arrival of the EnQuest Producer at OGN on the River Tyne represents the first indications of the impact this latest round of offshore investment can have on the supply chain. A record £13.5bn has been earmarked for projects on the UK Continental Shelf this year alone with considerable additional investment planned for the near future as operators look to maximise the resources available from the North Sea.

“EnQuest’s £4bn Kraken Field project is proof positive that mature fields continue to offer worthwhile investment opportunities for operators, which in turn will create prospects for companies in the supply chain that can support the continuing development of these assets.

“The North East has historically been at the heart of the North Sea oil and gas industry and there is no reason why that shouldn’t continue.

He added: “Companies from the region have developed world-leading products, services and competencies that have become an intrinsic part of the oil and gas sector, which make exceptionally attractive to operators.”

The OGN Group, an offshore engineering, procurement and construction specialist, will provide its specialist fabrication services to undertake finishing and commissioning works on the EnQuest Producer, a 249m long Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel.

The EnQuest Producer recently arrived at OGN’s Hadrian Yard, in Wallsend and upon completion of the works, the vessel will be deployed to the Alma/Galia field in the North Sea, which is a redevelopment of the UK’s first producing field, Argyll. In addition to creating new jobs at OGN, the project is expected the project will support in the region of 250 supply chain jobs.

David Edwards, chief executive officer at OGN Group, said: “This contract is a major endorsement for the UK’s oil and gas supply chain and, in particular, OGN Group’s ability to deliver on a project of this scale. It will have a significant impact on the North East economy, particularly in terms of creating employment and providing opportunities for the supply chain.

“With Wallsend’s proud shipbuilding history, it’s moving to see a vessel of this size and scale docked at Hadrian Yard. It sends a clear signal that this region still has much to offer the global energy industry.”

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