At a ‘shot-gun wedding’ reception yesterday in Norwich, Norfolk, the Aberdeen-based Oil & Gas UK and East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) trade associations signed a ‘Memorandum of Cooperation’ with the aim of developing a closer relationship which better serves and promotes the interests of the organisations’ members and the UK oil and gas industry in general.
With the ongoing evacuation of Tier-1 international oil companies from ‘uber-mature’ North Sea, the move signposts a significant dilution of power of Oil and Gas UK in ‘teaming-up’ with a ‘regional’ (and ‘all-sector-)energy trade body.
So intransigent to change are UK Oil and Gas members as a trade association body that the UK government has instead had to resort to the legislative ‘big stick’ to impose collaboration on on N. Sea operators in the forthcoming Energy Act in its UK Collaboration Code.
Simon Gray, Chief Executive, said the deal was in the interests of EEEGR’s more than 400 member companies.
He explained: “British Energy Secretary Amber Rudd’s energy ‘reset’ in November announced up to 50 new gas fired power stations would be built.
“The gas has to come from somewhere and, from the point of view of energy security; we want that gas to come from our own waters and our own offshore reserves rather than being imported. So, from what the future looks like, the southern North Sea gas basin has never been so strategically important to the UK.
See also: UK oil and gas is a loss-making sunset industry which ‘is spending more than it’s earning’, Holyrood MPs told
“Gas is going to be the interim fuel of choice for the next 15-20 years whilst we await the construction of the offshore wind farms and nuclear power stations to generate the country’s electricity requirements as we stop burning coal, which has to cease totally by 2025.
“Whilst we see difficult times ahead in the oil and gas sector, a strategic close cooperation with Oil & Gas UK is something we see as being essential and it also recognises the importance of our region, the diversity of the supply chain, skills and training facilities and the innovations that can be found in the East of England.”
The move follows a similar ‘closer relationship’ deal between the Deirdre Michie-led Oil and Gas UK and Decommissioning North Sea body – also based in Aberdeen – which has not yet replied to enquiries from Scottish Energy News as to when, or if, interim chief executive Karen Seath will be confirmed in the post full-time.