Chance for east coast oil and gas firms to raise issues at conference

Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, with Simon Gray, Patrick Phelan and Michael Wilder

Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, with Simon Gray, Patrick Phelan and Michael Wilder during a visit to Petans at Horsham St Faith - Credit: Archant

Beleaguered oil and gas companies will have the chance to directly address industry leaders in round-table talks at a major conference this week.

Companies that have had to lay off staff, cut salaries and urgently look for new opportunities in tough times offshore will lay their case before North Sea operators and senior industry regulators at the East of England Energy Group's SNS 2016 conference at the Norfolk Showground.

Those attending the Norfolk Showground event on March 2 and 3 include chief executives of the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) and Oil & Gas UK and key southern North Sea operators, including Perenco, Faroe, Shell and Centrica.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous, who has written to the prime minister asking for urgent industry support, will join the talks with Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis, OGA chief executive Andy Samuel, and Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK.

EEEGR chief executive Simon Gray, who will chair the talks, said: 'We are a member organisation representing companies across the industry and finding new opportunities for them.

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Members needed a forum to speak frankly about their businesses and the future with operators and industry leaders.

He added: 'Some of our members are really feeling the pressure from the downturn.

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'We believed that a round table and open, honest discussions away from the main conference was a constructive approach, which was welcomed by the operators and our visitors.'

Between April and November last year, 26 Norfolk and Suffolk companies went into administration, and more than 1,000 people lost their jobs. Many more are likely to be affected by reduced hours and unpaid leave as projects are pushed back due to challenging conditions.

Business figures in the East of England have been left disappointed at the government's focus on Aberdeen, where a £250m city deal was unveiled last month, while a £20m investment package announced by prime minister David Cameron focused on oil rather than gas.

Last week, former chancellor Lord Lamont urged the government to look at introducing measures in the budget to support the industry.

? How is your business coping with the industry downturn? Write, giving your full contact details, to: Journal Postbox, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB or email

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