Wireline Magazine Autumn 2020 Issue 49

Road to Recovery: a not-so distant future

The Recovery Group's first webinar offered more depth on how far the industry has come and how far it has left to go amid a time of economic downturn for all.

A s the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry continues to grapple with some the hardest challenges faced in recent decades, sector leaders recently reflected on the turmoil COVID-19 has brought, but more importantly the resilience and determination the sector has built to overcome it . Assembled by OGUK in May, the Industry Recovery Group is a group of senior leaders charged with shaping the sector’s recovery from the pandemic, with a focus on measures that will help stimulate demand and progress new low-carbon business opportunities. The work of the group is a core strand in OGUK’s three-stage recovery framework, which covers immediate support for businesses, stimulating a recovery and accelerating the net-zero transition. Now in its sixth month of activity, the group has developed a series of projects that provide a blueprint for self-help, whilst working with governments and regulators to stimulate activity for a supply chain under immense pressure. Last month saw the first ever Road to Recovery webinar, titled Oil and Gas Industry Action , hosted by OGUK’s Operations Director Katy Heidenreich. Attendees welcomed in-depth presentations from board members appointed to the Group, who answered some of the biggest questions for the sector today, whilst highlighting the importance of the industry’s ability to maintain a healthy and growing competitiveness. Katy said: “We continue to work on boosting competitiveness and preserving our sector-leading regulatory policy framework. Working with industry, the MER UK taskforces and the OGA, it’s important that the revised MER strategy provides a regulatory regime industry can thrive in; protecting a competitive, predictable, fiscal regime and driving technology and innovation investment.” The challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and the downturn in oil prices, coming only as the sector was beginning to emerge from one of the most prolonged downturns in its history, have given industry an even stronger drive to find a path to recovery. “There is hope, we can recover, and we have a plan. But we don’t want handouts. It’s clear that the stability that is key for planning ahead and success of this industry will make

the difference between whether we can drive net-zero at home; building new jobs and industries,” Katy added.

Transitioning forward together It is clear the coming months will be pivotal in defining the future of the sector. Increasingly policymakers are turning to green recovery solutions; a movement which should only be seen as promising for the economic future of oil and gas and its workforce . “In terms of the accelerate phase and maximising the energy potential, Roadmap 2035 offers a blueprint for net-zero and aims to enable a safe, sustainable and competitive oil and gas industry. “The North Sea transition deal is part of an array of ways in which we will forge this positivefuture. It is about securing a long-term future for this industry, but we need to act now to preserve the skill and supply chain that will be essential to this industry playing its role in the transition to a net- zero economy,” Katy adds. The promising future put forward by the group recognises the real time challenges faced by an industry, with OGUK warning earlier this year that up to 30,000 jobs could be lost if no action was taken. In terms of recovering activity, the group continues to look at unlocking planned work programmes, promoting collaboration and knowledge transfer as well as encouraging uptake of good practice. It is confident that through the new SME forum, commercial codes of practice, supply chain principles and the various tools and other guidance developed by a cross-section of OGUK and MER taskforce workgroups, this will be more than achievable. The team are also developing recovery levers, such as further regulatory support, and the OGA are continuously working in conjunction with the industry to maintain investment, maximise recovery and uphold a strong sector. Withnew ‘GreenRevolution’ announcements following the Conservative conference in October, the industry is becoming more defined by its ability to adapt. It is clear that an economic recovery and the energy transition will go together hand in hand, an opportunity which companies are looking to embrace. Spirit Energy HSE director Neil McCulloch spoke in depth about the need for a strong response: “I’ll be the first to say the energy transition is not a choice, it’s a necessity… but in the same breath I will also be the

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