EEEGR calls for urgent Goventment action to help Southern North Sea gas sector

EEEGR chief executive Simon Gray.

EEEGR chief executive Simon Gray. - Credit: Archant

Action by the Government to act on its commitment to support the oil and gas sector through difficult times is now urgently needed, according to a body supporting the industry in the region.

In the face of falling oil and gas prices, combined with higher operating costs, the industry needs swift implementation of recommendations contained in the recent Wood Review to maximise the economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas reserves, the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) has said in a letter to Ministers.

The needs of the Southern North Sea (SNS) region, which EEEGR highlights as a “major stimulus” to the East of England economy and of significant strategic importance to the UK, must be considered by the Government, EEEGR chief executive Simon Gray says.

And the new Oil & Gas Authority regulator should also have a presence in the East of England to support companies working in the gas-only SNS, EEEGR believes.

Changes and recommendations made by Sir Ian Wood in his review, including improving collaboration between the Government and the energy industry, could add “at least” £200billion to the economy over the next 20 years.

In a response to a Department of Energy & Climate Change call for evidence on review’s recommendations, EEEGR calls for the maximising economic recovery strategy (MER) to appear on the face of the Government’s Infrastructure Bill.

“The Wood Review came up with very good recommendations. But we are increasingly concerned about the amount of time it is taking for the Government to implement the measures set out,” the letter says.

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“The timescale should be speeded up as much as possible, particularly given the falling price of oil and the ongoing decline in production rates.”

The letter refers to the industry having had a record £8.9bn operating expenditure in 2013 with £14bn capital expenditure and says a further £12bn to £24bn could be developed with the right framework. “The Government therefore needs to encourage reinvestment in the current infrastructure so as to extend the efficiency and economic life of producing fields.” it adds.