COMMENT: Time for a unified single Scottish energy trade association – just like the East of England (all) Energy Association

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Like the long-awaited Aberdeen by-pass, the arrival in the city of the annual Oil and Gas UK trade conference, which opens tomorrow – instead of being held in London – may already be too late, with more than 10,000 directly-employed jobs lost in the region and more than 110,000 jobs lost over the past two years.

You only need to read the dire warnings from independent experts such as PWC consultants and the Bank of Scotland to realise ‘Something Must Be Done’.

Certainly, the ability of Oil and Gas UK to dominate the industrial and political landscape in the sector has visibly declined since the government implemented the Collaboration Code in the Energy Act, which formally established the Oil and Gas Authority (also in Aberdeen).

SEN logo Dec 2015Under the Collaboration Code, the OGA has the power to ‘knock-heads together’ (if need be) but is prudently pursuing a collaborative approach with the industry to Maximise Economic Recovery.

The OGA has set up a number of thematic working groups to increase collaboration and co-operation and to smash bottle-necks to MER. While heavily involving Oil and Gas UK personnel and member companies, these also simultaneously serve to highlight how far off the ball OGUK has become.

Last year, it also had to scurry post haste to Yarmouth after the Norfolk based Southern North Sea focused East of England Energy Group (EEEG) cried ‘foul’ because it (rightly) felt it was not getting a fair crack of the OGUK whip.

Oil and Gas UK then hastily cobbled together a ‘let’s be friends’ collaborative framework with EEEG and also quickly cosied up to Decommissioning North Sea to ‘share common resources’ (a well-known management euphimism for ‘duplication’ and ‘too many cooks’)

Meanwhile, the (mostly wind-y) Scottish Renewables trade association nurses the chip on both its shoulders after the UK government took away subsidies and refuses to play nice – or even talk to – other energy sectors.

Scotland is too small, the challenges too big, and time too short for these petty empire-building and jobs-worth protecting fiefdoms to survive.

If ever there was a time, a need, and an opportunity to get Scotland’s energy industries truly sharing and collaborating in the national interest and for the common good – and to learn from the East of England Energy Group (which represents all main sectors, Gas, Oil and Renewables) – it is now with the new Scottish Energy Strategy which the Scottish Energy Minister will formally launch after his summer hols.

There is more than unites the Gas, Oil and Renewable energy sectors than divides them – and the issue of carbon capture and storage is the perfect example of this.

These facts – however inconvenient they may be for some – are already recognised by at least one prominent trade body which represents all main energy sectors.

It’s called the Scottish Energy Association.


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