Is the North East Offshore Sector Reviving?

Positivity in the North East has increased as the number of oil and gas projects rise and more companies return to the region.

This week has seen 70m jackets for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm erected on the banks of the Tyne, bringing with them a hope of revival in the sector.  

Despite their excellent reputation in the industry, the North East has been suffering since the slump in global oil prices 3 years ago. Many oil and gas companies in the region have had to cut hundreds of staff, restructure, or go into administration. Last year saw a record number of oil and gas companies becoming insolvent.

Smulder-UKs-jackets-for-the-Beatrice-Offshore-Wind-Farm

However, there has been hope across the sector recently as there are signs that it may be improving. Work is currently underway in the North East for projects such as the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm and the EDF Renewables Blyth Offshore Demonstrator Wind Farm, which had the first of its constructions floated out this month. The five 60m high gravity base foundations are currently being worked on at Neptune dry dock in Wallsend. These projects have managed to secure hundreds of jobs in the region, creating a sense of stability for the first time in years.

George Rafferty, NOF Energy chief executive has said: ‘The North East has a very active and diverse supply chain operating in the offshore wind sector that is benefiting from the current level of opportunities in the industry.’

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Major oil companies such as BP have also reinvested back into the North Sea, with the Quad 204 project announcing first oil in May. The company has announced plans to double its UK North Sea production by 2020, with seven major Upstream projects expected to be underway in 2017.

As other countries such as the United States and Taiwan show their keenness to work with UK companies, it is expected that some of this work may end up in the North-East, a sector that is famous for its industrial heritage and experience in operating in harsh offshore environments.

Renown Group’s managing director, John Hamilton, has said: ‘It’s great to look down the Tyne at the monumental structures and see the North East’s renowned manufacturing and engineering capabilities being utilised once more. Though the region has done well to adapt to the oil and gas slump, I hope to see more and more companies secure and deliver projects for the offshore market so that some security and positivity can return to the oil and gas industry.

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