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Upbeat mood as energy industry gathers in Norwich for SNS2018 conference

PUBLISHED: 11:10 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:05 16 May 2018

EEEGR's SNS 2018 conference is being held over two days at the Norfolk Showground. Picture: Bethany Whymark.

EEEGR's SNS 2018 conference is being held over two days at the Norfolk Showground. Picture: Bethany Whymark.

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Speakers at the region’s largest ever energy industry conference have struck a positive tone about the future of not just renewable energy but gas production in the Southern North Sea (SNS).

Patrick Phelan addressing guests at the first day of EEEGR's SNS2018 conference and exhibition at the Norfolk Showground. Picture: Bethany Whymark.Patrick Phelan addressing guests at the first day of EEEGR's SNS2018 conference and exhibition at the Norfolk Showground. Picture: Bethany Whymark.

The rescheduled East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) SNS2018 conference and exhibition, taking place at the Norfolk Showground, will bring together 1,300 delegates from the energy industry in the UK and further afield.

Patrick Phelan, EEEGR chairman, said the three themes of the conference – collaboration, innovation and rejuvenation – had led to its success.

“EEEGR creates the right environment for inward investment and we have seen many overseas companies seek the support of EEEGR as they settle into the (SNS) area,” he said.

While renewable energy is growing apace in East Anglia, the keynote speakers from the oil and gas industry said its future as a gas producing region would continue at least into the middle of this century.

Frances Morris-Jones, recently elected Oil and Gas Authority chairman, said around 45% of the UK’s gas supply comes through the East of England, 20% from the SNS and the rest brought from other countries through pipelines in the region.

“There are estimated to be at least 20 years of production left in this basin but the game is changing,” she told industry leaders. “It is likely to get more difficult to access in tight and marginal reserves but I see that you are not afraid to step up to the challenge.”

Mike Tholen, head of upstream policy at Oil and Gas UK, said while renewable energy production in the UK is expected to grow by 300% in the next 20 years, oil and gas are still expected to make up more than half of the UK’s energy mix by that time.

But he said the oil and gas industry was “supporting the change from a high carbon to a low carbon future”.

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