A programme, created to cultivate and promote the energy sector across the eastern region, is building momentum towards its ultimate goal of attracting £31 billion of investment to the region over the next 8 years following a string of financial successes across regionally based energy businesses.
The East of England Energy Zone was launched back in May to highlight the region’s offer to the oil, gas, wind and nuclear energy industries both in the UK and internationally. The Energy Zone’s favourable geography halfway between the Thames Estuary and the Humber, as well as more than 45 years’ experience in operations in the Southern North Sea has seen East Anglia evolve into one of the most diverse energy reasons in the UK, with huge potential for further development. Crucially, the region also boasts a firmly established infrastructure and an experienced supply chain ideally situated to support growth and innovation within the energy industry, which is evident from the number of continually thriving businesses.
Yarmouth based gas and oil industry service company, Petrofac, which works with energy giants including Perenco and Centrica in the Southern North Sea, recently announced sales and profit growth of over 30 per cent. While British Gas parent Centrica itself revealed its plans to create 4,000 UK jobs following the Government’s announcement of tax breaks for developing shallow waters.
Centrica also revealed the allowance would enhance the economics of the £1.4bn Cygnus project in the Southern North Sea, which is the largest gas discovery in the area for 25 years. At peak production, the field could account for around 5pc of the UK’s total gas production, enough to meet the demand of nearly 1.5m homes.
In recent weeks, regional businesses have also grown in terms of fleet with Alicat Workboats of announcing the delivery of the Dalby Tees, its second offshore renewables vessel creating 20 new on and offshore positions. And Seajacks announced an order for its fourth self-propelled jack-up vessel, specifically designed for installation and maintenance services in the offshore wind, oil and gas sectors.
With fleet expansion comes the need for storage facilities, an opportunity seized by Fendercare Marine. It has opened a support base in Yarmouth providing a hub for all types of offshore activity in the Southern North Sea with ambitious targets to treble its size over the next four years.
Together these business growths and successes deliver a powerful message about the potential and forecast investment in the region, with current predictions estimating that by 2020 the Zone could be generating enough low carbon electricity to power every home in the region.
Operations Manager at Perenco, John Sewell said:“ The approval by government of the East of England Energy Zone has been great news for the region and provides the catalyst to maximise the great opportunities available to existing and new supply chain companies in the region. Southern North Sea gas will continue to make a significant contribution to the UK’s energy needs for decades to come with renewable and nuclear continuing to grow and making an increasing contribution. This is a great time for companies to take full advantage of the EEEZ and invest for a long term future in the East of England, a future that Perenco UK are proud to be part of.”
The energy sector is a major economic opportunity for the East of England businesses both within the UK and accessing projects across Europe, with pipeline projects showing potential sector investment in the region worth £33bn by 2020. Over 60% of the proposed opportunities are predicted to arise from offshore wind, with further projects identified in gas (£4.4bn), nuclear and decommissioning (£7.7m) and power (£0.5bn). (source: EEEGR)