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Energy sectors urged to collaborate to make the most of the Southern North Sea

PUBLISHED: 13:55 01 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:22 01 March 2017

The SNS 2016 Offshore Energy conference at the Norfolk Showground. Simon Gray, chief executive EEEGR. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The SNS 2016 Offshore Energy conference at the Norfolk Showground. Simon Gray, chief executive EEEGR. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Collaboration between sectors and technologies – as well as a supportive government strategy – was called for by energy leaders at industry leading conference.

Over two days 1,100 energy business owners, leaders investors and students are visiting the Royal Norfolk Showground for the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR)’s SNS 2017 conference which is focusing on the opportunities for rejuvenation in the Southern North Sea (SNS).

The energy industry has been experiencing a period of change with oil and gas prices hitting lows and a number of supply chain firms forced out of business due to the downturn in recent years.

However, the speakers, which included RenewableUK chief executive Hugh McNeal, Nuclear Industry Association chief executive Tom Greatrex and UK Onshore Oil and Gas chief executive Ken Cronin, said their were still many opportunities for East Anglia in the SNS but to bring costs down for businesses and the consumers working together as an industry would be vital.

Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, said: “2017 will continue to be a challenging year, we know that, but confidence seems to be building here.

“There really is an opportunity to work with our colleagues in renewables and nuclear whether it be in terms of sharing skills or infrastructure.”

Simon Gray, chief executive of EEEGR, said: “One thing we are trying to do is get particularly the renewables and oil and gas industries working together, particularly with training.

“There are a lot of people going from oil and gas to the renewable sector in which there are passports and qualifications which the renewable sector doesn’t accept even though there are similarities.

“We want there to be a system where the training can start out the same and then you can branch off and specialise in each sector.”

Mr Gray added that, particularly in light of the Brexit vote, it was important for the UK to produce more homegrown energy with the country currently importing around half of its power needs.

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