OGUK assessing work opportunities for offshore sector

May 15, 2020
Oil and Gas UK has convened a team of senior industry representatives to help the UK offshore sector look beyond the immediate HSE issues posed by COVID-19.

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN, UKOil and Gas UK (OGUK) has convened a team of senior industry representatives to help the UK offshore sector look beyond the immediate HSE issues posed by COVID-19.

The team comprises BP regional president Ariel Flores, Aker Solutions head of UK and SVP Europe and Africa Sian Lloyd-Rees, Wood’s Asset Solutions CEO Dave Stewart, Shell’s vp Upstream Steve Phimister and Chrysaor CEO Phil Kirk.

They will jointly develop a strategy for the sector to recover as part of OGUK’s three stage framework.

The focus will be on opportunities with a short to mid-term impact, one of the goals being to provide a stimulus for the hard-pressed supply chain.

Proposals are already under discussion on bringing forward ‘net-zero’ projects in energy clusters across the UK, and talks are planned with the UK and Scottish governments on carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, and floating wind.

The group will examine opportunities from exploration to decommissioning, including maintenance and desktop engineering design work and offshore campaigns, in order to identify where projects could be either advanced or promoted more widely to help the service sector.

OGUK operations director Katy Heidenreich said: “We know that we can’t wait around for a recovery to come to us, which is why we’re already in action to understand where we can support supply chain companies and identify fresh opportunities in a challenging low oil and gas price environment.

“Many of our members are already active in bringing carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and offshore floating wind projects to life across the UK. Our recovery plan will not only look at how we can support the oil and gas industry through improving our competitiveness as a basin, it will also look at how we can use this as an opportunity to position ourselves as an incubator for net zero projects.”

Heidenreich, speaking during an OGUK briefing yesterday, said her team had issued a call for ideas to the association’s members on how offshore activity could be stimulated, and this had so far drawn 80 responses to the association “which we are currently working through.”

Among the priorities are getting back to a situation where some of the UK’s deferred (due to COVID-19) offshore maintenance campaigns can be reactivated, Heidenreich said, and keeping on the table projects from exploration to decommissioning. The team plans to raise some of these issues with the UK government at the MER Forum on June 11.

Following the previous downturn of 2014 onwards, the UK industry came into the current situation in a position of strength, Heidenreich said, having taken measures that included delivering production efficiency of 80%, a level that had been targeted for years, and the publication of guidance on good offshore practice.

“Now we hope to sustain jobs by improving the visibility of work that will come back towards the end of this year. COVID-19 and the oil price have put numerous work programs on hold, but we hope our good practice [and other measures] will lead to these held-over projects coming back.”

She also warned that because of the current business conditions, oil companies working on the UK continental shelf were looking at taking difficult decisions. “That’s why we are trying to push for new ideas, to forestall these decisions.”