THE North East has welcomed news that the region will play a lead role in the Government’s oil and gas strategy.
Three Government ministers yesterday unveiled plans to help the sector grow, with supply chain help and long term tax certainty.
As part of that plan, Newcastle’s Neptune Park, on the banks of the River Tyne, will be home to the UK’s £7m offshore engineering research centre, testing out the technology needed to maintain oil rigs in some of the world’s roughest seas.
The Neptune Centre already has the backing of leading UK companies through the Subsea North-East Consortium including Shepherd Offshore, BEL Valves and SMD.
Richard Dodd, Director of BEL Valves which is part of the British Engines Group, said the investment would further boost the North East’s reputation as a world leader in subsea and offshore engineering.
“This partnership between Newcastle University and companies such as BEL Valves is a major opportunity for the region,” he said. “It will allow us to grow our capabilities and skills base to keep us at the forefront of this highly specialised field of engineering.”
Newcastle East MP Nick Brown also welcomed the news. “I welcome this £7m investment and the 100 jobs that the construction and operation of the facility will bring,” he said.
“This is a prestigious project of international significance. I congratulate Newcastle University and Shepherd Offshore for everything that they have done to help bring this about.
“The project is a very good neighbour for the other businesses in the Energy Park and elsewhere in the North East of England.” The North East Chamber of Commerce welcomed the news. Chief executive James Ramsbotham said: “It is a major achievement for the North East to secure the Neptune National Centre for Subsea and Offshore Engineering and a testament to the region’s excellent reputation in the subsea and oil and gas sectors.
“Few parts of the UK could boast the skills, sites and will from both the public and private sector to house such an important facility and everyone involved must be congratulated for the amount of work that has gone into this project.”