Fuelling energy debate in the North-East

Photo by Ian McClelland Photography Ltd/ 0191 5121400
Photo by Ian McClelland Photography Ltd/ 0191 5121400

THE North-East will continue to bid a hotbed for the oil and gas market – but offshore wind and the nuclear market are not far behind.

A survey by NOF Energy, the business development organisation for the region’s oil, gas, nuclear and offshore renewables sectors, charts the activities of its 420 members.

It showed that 78 per cent of members felt oil and gas would be their main priority in 2013.

Offshore renewables will be a high priority for 36 per cent of members while nuclear will be a high priority for 32 per cent of members.

The annual survey also tracks NOF Energy members’ export activities and highlights the top international markets served by supply chain companies.

The top five are the United States, Norway, Brazil, Holland and Australia.

Other markets that have moved up the rankings and provided opportunities for members over the past 12 months include India, Venezuela, Kazakhstan and South Africa.

NOF Energy’s annual survey also highlighted the challenges facing its membership. According to around a third of NOF Energy members, the biggest challenge they face is recruiting qualified personnel with the right skills.

The organisation is hoping its recently-launched service, Military2Energy, will help by tapping into the extensive number of ex-forces personnel who have skills and competencies transferable to the energy sector.

Chief executive George Rafferty said: “Oil and gas will continue to hold much potential for the supply chain for several decades and, as a result of our activities, our members are fully aware of the opportunities available both in the UK and around the world.

“The Government’s Energy Bill will begin to create some stability across the entire industry, which will see the offshore renewables and new nuclear sectors gain some momentum. Our survey shows, even though these new sectors will not form the majority of the work of our members, they are geared up, and have the ability to serve these emerging segments of the energy industry.”