Competition fears raised over Wood Group, Amec FW merger

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 amfw
Competition fears raised over Wood Group, Amec FW merger

Written by  – 03/08/2017 6:02 am

Robin Watson, chief executive of Wood Group.

Energy service firms Wood Group and Amec Foster Wheeler (AFW) expect to complete their merger this year despite the UK competition watchdog flagging up concerns about the deal.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the firms were two of the main suppliers of key upstream oil and gas services in the North Sea and that the tie-up could hit customers’ efforts to secure fair deals.

But Wood Group and AFW said they had already proposed measures which they expect to quash the CMA’s concerns.

In May, Wood Group offered to divest most of AFW’s North Sea oil and gas business as it looked to pre-empt competition fears.

Today, Aberdeen-headquartered Wood Group said those plans were already at an “advanced stage”.

“AFW commenced a formal marketing process in May, which has attracted interest and is progressing well,” Wood Group said in a statement.

Wood Group said it had been working constructively with the CMA and would now formally submit its proposals to the watchdog. The company expects a final decision from the CMA in October.

The CMA’s misgivings centre on a potential lack of competition in the supply of engineering, construction, operation and maintenance services in the North Sea.

The watchdog warned today that it would have to launch an in-depth investigation into the merger if the measures proposed by Wood Group did not go far enough.

Kate Collyer, deputy chief economic adviser at the CMA, said: “It is clear that Wood Group and AFW have a particularly strong market position in the supply of key services to the upstream offshore oil and gas sector in the UK.

“The merger would remove the rivalry between two of the four main suppliers of these services.

“Based on our initial investigation, this could significantly reduce customers’ ability to obtain competitive bids, which could lead to increased prices and affect the competitiveness of the oil and gas industry in the UK.”

Wood Group chief executive Robin Watson said: “Both sets of shareholders overwhelmingly supported the proposed combination and we continue to believe that the proposed remedy will be sufficient to obtain clearance from the CMA.

“We remain fully committed to completing the transaction in quarter four this year.”

Wood Group has said about 1,300 global energy service jobs were under threat from the proposed merger.

Read: Wood Group-Amec Foster Wheeler tie-up threatens 1,300 jobs

 


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Industry report: Scotland set for 100 year oil boom West of Shetland

 

Written by Michael Gray
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Increased oil investment in Scotland’s Atlantic waters has led to a growth in the strength of Scotland’s oil and gas sector. In recent months reports have focus on the new Clair Ridge field, a massive £4.5 billion oil investment project.

A new industry report goes even further and estimates that these recent investments represent only a fraction of a 100 year oil boom for Scotland’s Atlantic Margin.

The report, commissioned by Oil and Gas People, the world’s largest oil and gas industry jobs board, with support from North Sea oil and gas industry experts, conclude that untapped oil and gas in the West Coast will last for at least 100 years, with a whole value of more than £1 trillion.

Investors Chronicle reported that politicians in Westminster were underestimating the value of Scotland’s oil and gas to undermine the case for Scottish independence. Former Chancellor Dennis Healey admitted that this ploy was used in the 1970s.

Atlantic Margin can substantially enhance Scotland’s finances

Such an expansion in West Coast oil and gas would be as significant an economic transformation as the original explosion in North Sea oil and gas in the 1970s. This would also have a significant impact on Scotland’s overall finances. It would give Scotland further finances in invest in the growing renewables sector, other manufacturing sectors and improve public services.

north-sea_1855640bOil rich countries such as Norway, Qatar, Kuwait have been transformed as a result of their natural resources. In contrast, Westminster Government has squandered North Sea oil and failed to establish an energy investment fund.

When contacted regarding the report, Professor John Howell, Chair in Geology and Petroleum Geology at the University of Aberdeen has commented:

“This is another piece of work from the industry that highlights the massive unexplored potential that lies in the West of Shetland region.”

Other sources in the industry include Hurricane Energy who reported that the Lancaster field has ‘well exceeded expectations‘. Other reports highlight the growth in production and activity across the region due to advances in exploration technology. Oil and gas investment hit a record high last year of £13 billion.

Today both Professor Alex Kemp from the University of Aberdeen and Kevin Forbes, Chief Executive of Oil and Gas People, were interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland. Both commentators agreed that this oil boom is developing with potential for long-term growth.

Conclusion

This is potentially one of the most important stories of the independence debate. While David Cameron has sought to play down the value of Scotland’s oil, industry experts and commentators have explained how valuable it is and its importance long into the 21st century.

Voters in Scotland will decide on the 18th of September whether Scotland or Westminster should receive the tax revenue from this important resource.

 

 

 

Shell gas release on Brent Charlie had potential for ‘fire or explosion’, says HSE

Shell gas release on Brent Charlie had potential for ‘fire or explosion’, says HSE

Written by  – 03/08/2017 7:30 am

Brent Charlie

Production on one of Shell’s oldest North Sea assets has been shut in for nearly three months after a gas leak sparked fears of the potential for a “fire or explosion”.

Non-essential workers were downmanned from the supermajor’s Brent Charlie platform following the suspected release back on May 19.

At the time Shell said production has been halted and that the source of the leak had been “isolated”.

Now it has emerged that production is still shut in at the ageing facility, 110 miles north-east of Shetland, months later.

The Brent field has been in production since the early 1970s and is one of the oldest and most prolific North Sea discoveries.

The Brent Charlie was the last of four platforms installed in the area, arriving in 1978.

Shell has now been served with a prohibition notice over the potential for “fire and explosion” in relation to the latest leak.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said the oil giant had failed to act under the Offshore Prevention of Fire regulations.

The watchdog said the breach related to the possibility of an uncontrolled release of flammable or explosive hydrocarbons from safety critical pipework in the platform’s Column Four leg.

A Shell spokeswoman said: “Shell UK can confirm that we received a Prohibition Notice on 27th May 2017 in relation to pipe work integrity on our Brent Charlie installation in the northern North Sea.

“We continue to work through the necessary actions required to enable safe restart of the installation.”

During the May incident, platform personnel were brought to muster, as is standard practice. All 176 workers were safely accounted for and no injuries were reported.

Shell said production has been halted and the leak has been “isolated”.

The oil major has not given any information on the volume of gas involved but there is not through to have been any associated environmental issues.

Shell was hit with a prohibition notice earlier this year over safety concerns on the same platform.

HSE said Shell had failed to put appropriate controls in place to protect workers from dangerous gases in one of the platform’s legs.

The watchdog said the company had identified the risks of exposure to hydrogen sulphide and hydrocarbon gas while accessing the column C1 leg.

But Shell did not adequately describe how control measures would be “organised, controlled, monitored or reviewed”, according to HSE.

The prohibition notice was served early in February.

Prohibition notices dictate that work activity in a certain area or on a particular process must stop immediately.

Jake Molloy, RMT regional organiser, said issues in the legs of the Brent field platforms had been a “recurring” problem.

He added: “It is an issue that they have not been able to get a grip on.

“Hence they have been hit again with another notice.

“As long as it is shut in there’s no immediate danger to the guys on board from hydrocarbons.

“But managing this needs to be a top priority.”

The decommissioning of Brent field, which has produced oil for 40 years, is one of the most complex engineering projects of its kind and is expected to take a decade to complete.

Shell floated the idea of leaving the legs of three of the four platforms in place on the seabed earlier this year.

The field has more than 140 wells, 64 storage shells and 28 pipelines.


 

 

 

Super Puma operators ordered to carry out more safety checks and upgrades

SUPERPUMA TOWING

Super Puma operators ordered to carry out more safety checks and upgrades

Written by  – 28/07/2017 11:39 am Source Energy Voice

GROUNDED: Dozens of Eurocopter EC225s were pulled from operations to investigate gearbox problems

Aviation watchdogs have ordered more safety checks and upgrades on Super Puma helicopters.

The European Aviation Safety Authority has issued fresh Airworthiness Directives for the AS332L2 and EC225 aircraft.

The Airbus manufactured choppers were banned from flying in the UK until recently after a fatal crash off Norway which killed 13 people.

During investigations into the incident, fatigue and surface degradation was discovered in the main gearbox.

This led to the grounding of UK and Norwegian operations until it could be determined if this was a contributing factor to the accident or if it was a consequence of another fault.

It is thought the rupture of a second stage planet gear “likely” caused the Norway accident but the root cause of the failure is still not understood.

The CAA announced plans to lift the flight ban earlier this month despite this being the case.

The move was met with anger from workforce representatives who claim that there is no need for the aircraft since alternatives were sourced.

The new CAA directive states that if a helicopter operators wants to return a Super Puma to service they must carry out certain “in-house” upgrades.

The work includes complying with a previously issued ‘airworthiness directive’ which called for increased maintenance checks on a gearbox particle detector and oil cooler inspection as well as the replacement of the second stage planet gear assembly.

Super Puma operators must also fit a Full Flow Magnetic Plug to support the inspection of the main gearbox oil system particle detection and a full safety case must be prepared.

Now additional maintenance checks and safety upgrades have been issued by EASA.

The work includes replacing parts of the second stage planet gear assembly as well as an upgrade to the Full Flow Magnetic Plug.

A separate Airworthiness Directive also asks operators of the two aircraft variants replace pins on the main gearbox suspension bars.

This is to prevent tightening torque loss.

EASA added: “The condition, if not corrected, could lead to structural failure of the main gearbox suspension bar attachement pins and/or fitting”.

Metal particles broken off from the fast moving gearbox parts, known as spalling, are thought to have played a part or indicated an issue in several helicopter accidents in recent years, including the 2009 crash off Peterhead which claimed 16 lives.

These particles are normally ‘detected’ by magnetic plugs which pick up the fragments and alert the pilot, typically resulting in the crew putting the aircraft down safely.

However Super Puma manufacturer Airbus now wants to improve the detection rates of gearbox spalling by fitting these additional safety measure.

It comes after a test revealed that the total detection rate – the % of all free magnetic particles expected to be collected on the plugs – was just 12%.

Airbus is currently canvassing opinion about the safety overhaul made in light of the Norway crash.

The preliminary report from the the Accident Investigation Board Norway states that Airbus launched a main gearbox spalling test program following the G-REDL accident in 2009.

The single test, presented to the AIBN, showed that the total detection rate – % of all free magnetic particles expected to be collected on the plugs – is 12 %, while 44 % of the particles were said to end up in the oil filter.

 


Unite the Union Back Home Safe Petition 2017

Do Not reintroduce the Airbus H225s and AS332s  – L2s airframes in commercial operations in the UKCS

back-home-safe-unite-150x150

                                                  Unite the Union Back Home Safe Petition 2017

Do Not reintroduce the Airbus H225s and AS332s   L2s airframes in commercial operations in the UKCS

As a direct result of Unite the union members working  in the offshore Oil & Gas sector raising their  serious concerns in relation to the reintroduction of the Airbus Superpuma H225LP and AS332 L2 helicopters Unite  is running a petition the ‘Back Home Safe 2017 `campaign to demonstrate the offshore workers and families and the general publics  no – confidence in these airframes.
  • Our petition calls for all stakeholders to back the non-reintroduction and the permanent cessation of commercial operations in the UKCS.
  • Please sign our  on – line  petition and  if you wish hard copies  or to assist in the campaign (please let us know contact details below)
The Link to the Survey Monkey  –  Unite Back Home Safe 2017 petition; for all offshore Oil  & Gas workers their families and the general public to sign and show their support for the campaign Not to  re – Introduce the Airbus superpuma 225s
Do Not reintroduce the Airbus H225s and AS332s  L2s airframes in commercial operations in the UKCS
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FW6Y8KG   please distribute as appropriate
Unite members have a vital role in making this campaign a success. Together we need to show that workers will not accept a return ‘business as usual ` and will express a vote of no – confidence in the Airbus Superpuma  225s  airframes.
Unite members have told us, their Health & Safety is paramount in the offshore sector. We are asking our members and all offshore workers and their families and the general public to visibly support this campaign and future health and safety campaigns in the industry.
To win, you will need to show publicly your support and you will need to build the campaign through speaking to your colleagues, gaining their support and asking them to play an active role. Thirty thousand workers are employed in the UK Oil & Gas Industry; thirty thousand voices united will not be ignored.
If, you have any questions or would like to assist in the campaign please e mail uniteoffshore@gmail.com
Offshore helicopter safety is no accident  Unite the union the largest trade union offshore in the Oil &Gas Sector  demands  the highest standard of  training and health &Safety for all who work on and travel in and fly on commercial offshore helicopter operations

 

Get Protected! Get Active! Get Organised!

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Unite is the largest trade union  for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen. Join the union

Join Unite today!

http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/

 

 

 

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Europe’s Oil Giants Recover from Three-year Slump

 13151652_991585990926790_4089925344397212686_n

Published in Oil Industry News on Friday, 28 July 2017

Graphic for News Item: Europe's Oil Giants Recover from Three-year Slump

Europe’s major oil and gas companies have turned a corner after a three-year slump, reporting strong growth in profits as cost cutting paid off and vowing to press on with saving more money amid a fragile recovery in oil prices.

Royal Dutch Shell, France’s Total and Norway’s Statoil reported sharp increases in cash flow from operations in the second quarter as profits beat analyst expectations, meaning they can all comfortably pay dividends and reduce debt.

Shell led the charge, more than tripling profits in the second quarter from a year ago, boosted by its refining and chemicals business and a 16 percent rise in oil prices.

 

“This demonstrates they have moved themselves to a new level of profitability at $50 oil,” said Colin Smith, director of oil and gas research at Panmure Gordon.

Combined, the three companies more than doubled cash flow from operations to more than $41 billion from about $17 billion. Shell’s first-half cash generation rose seven-fold, a year after it completed the $54 billion acquisition of BG Group.

Oil investor hopes were raised at the start of the year by a deal to cut production between members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and some non-OPEC producers. That lifted oil prices above $58 a barrel in January, well above their 2016 low of just $27.

But Brent crude prices slipped back below $50 in the second quarter as U.S. shale production surged, sparking a wave of price forecast downgrades from banks and prompting investors to focus again on cost cutting by oil companies.

Statoil’s Chief Financial Officer Hans Jakob Hegge said he expected oil prices to rise towards the end of the year though Total said prices would remain volatile due to high global inventories.

Executives vowed to keep a tight rein on costs.

“The external price environment and energy sector developments mean we will remain very disciplined,” said Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden.

Total Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said the company had the flexibility to take advantage of the low-cost environment in the sector to launch profitable projects and acquire resources under attractive conditions.

Total maintained its 2017 cost savings target of $3.5 billion, aiming to lower production costs further.

Total and Statoil also beat analyst profit forecasts with Total seeing a strong lift from its high-margin upstream projects.

Shell, Total and Statoil shares were up by more than one percent by 0718 GMT, slightly outperforming the broader sector index.

Spain’s Repsol also posted a 43.8 percent jump in second-quarter adjusted net profit, with earnings from its oil and gas division jumping 150 percent.

The companies broadly maintained their spending plans for 2017, with Statoil slightly reducing its exploration budget.

Shell said it had sold some $25 billion of assets to pay off the BG acquisition and analysts said the new projects coming online meant it had a bright outlook.

“What drives Shell on from here is the benefit of the new growth projects that they’ve got coming through at higher cash margins. We’re yet to really to see that come through in the numbers,” Smith said.

Source: www.reuters.com

Please leave comments and feedback below

 

 


The rise in profits is at the expense of Jobs, skills and workers pay being cut between 10% – 45%  and the casualisation of the offshore workforce and mass redundancies over the last 3 years which has resulted in a rise in fear and no job insecurity.

Workers doing more for less while the Oil majors get tax breaks and slash and burn workers pay to get back into profit busting the myth,  Oil companies can not make money & profit when the oil price is less than $50 a barrel.


 

Get Protected! Get Active! Get Organised!

join unite 2

Unite is the largest trade union  for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen. Join the union

Join Unite today!

http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/

 

 

 

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Unite Back Home Safe 2017 petition calls for vote of ‘no-confidence’ in Super Puma airframe

Unite the Union Back Home Safe Petition 2017

Do Not reintroduce the Airbus H225s and AS332s   L2s airframes in commercial operations in the UKCS

As a direct result of Unite the union members working  in the offshore Oil & Gas sector raising their  serious concerns in relation to the reintroduction of the Airbus Superpuma H225LP and AS332 L2 helicopters Unite  is running a petition the ‘Back Home Safe 2017 `campaign to demonstrate the offshore workers and families and the general publics  no – confidence in these airframes.
  • Our petition calls for all stakeholders to back the non-reintroduction and the permanent cessation of commercial operations in the UKCS.
  • Please sign our  on – line  petition and  if you wish hard copies  or to assist in the campaign (please let us know contact details below)
The Link to the Survey Monkey  –  Unite Back Home Safe 2017 petition; for all offshore Oil  & Gas workers their families and the general public to sign and show their support for the campaign Not to  re – Introduce the Airbus superpuma 225s
Do Not reintroduce the Airbus H225s and AS332s  L2s airframes in commercial operations in the UKCS
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FW6Y8KG   please distribute as appropriate
Unite members have a vital role in making this campaign a success. Together we need to show that workers will not accept a return ‘business as usual ` and will express a vote of no – confidence in the Airbus Superpuma  225s  airframes.
Unite members have told us, their Health & Safety is paramount in the offshore sector. We are asking our members and all offshore workers and their families and the general public to visibly support this campaign and future health and safety campaigns in the industry.
To win, you will need to show publicly your support and you will need to build the campaign through speaking to your colleagues, gaining their support and asking them to play an active role. Thirty thousand workers are employed in the UK Oil & Gas Industry; thirty thousand voices united will not be ignored.
If, you have any questions or would like to assist in the campaign please e mail uniteoffshore@gmail.com

Offshore helicopter safety is no accident  Unite the union the largest trade union offshore in the Oil &Gas Sector  demands  the highest standard of  training and health &Safety for all who work on and travel in and fly on commercial offshore helicopter operations

Get Protected! Get Active! Get Organised!

join unite 2

Unite is the largest trade union  for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen. Join the union

Join Unite today!

http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/

back-home-safe-unite-150x150

Beware of SCAM: Offshore People Ltd Exploit Recession Hit Oil Workers

SCAM: Offshore People Ltd Exploit Recession Hit Oil Workers

Published in Oil Industry News on Monday, 24 July 2017

Graphic for News Item: SCAM: Offshore People Ltd Exploit Recession Hit Oil Workers

Oil and Gas People ran an article last week raising suspicions about the actions of a company called Offshore People Ltd and asked for anyone who had dealings with the organisation to come forward.

After several of our readers contacted us with details of how they were duped out of money, we can confirm that Offshore People Ltd are running what is referred to as an ‘advanced fee fraud’ and is targeting entry-level oil workers to do so.

The organisation used several well known job sites to lure in their victims, advertising entry-level positions such as Roughnecks, Roustabouts and Floorhands to people without any previous oil and gas experience.

At present the low oil price has cost a third of the oil and gas industry their jobs and entry level positions are usually filled with hundreds of applicants from experienced workers. Oil and Gas People have contacted both Indeed and Reed who have now removed the organisations listings from their websites while they perform an investigation.

 

Offshore People Ltd is directed by a Nicholas Rothe and their registered address is listed as 40 Bloomsbury Way, Lower Ground Floor, London WC1A 2SE, according to Companies House.

Several complainers have informed Oil and Gas People that they had been convinced by the organisation to pay £495 for an offshore medical, with one complainer explaining how he was told his current medical was insufficient and he still needed to pay as this was an ‘advanced’ medical. However upon receiving his certificate, it became clear that the medical was the exact same as the one he had previously completed.

The complainer stated: “Not wanting to rock the boat about this, I let the matter go.  Days went passed and I heard nothing.  Weeks went passed and still nothing. At time of writing this email to you I have not heard another word from Nick and it has now been months.”

Other complainers were asked to pay over £1,800.00 for their Medical, BOSIET and Mist certificates, which are currently available through most providers for a cost of around £825.00.

The organisation uses a promise of work to lure people in, asking for information such as coverall sizes and shoe sizes to make you believe that work commencement is dependant on certificate completion, however once you have paid and completed the courses, a variety of stall tactics are used to keep you thinking you will mobilise shortly, before communication goes dark.

Oil and Gas People confronted Nicholas Rothe who made no effort to deny the scam, refused to comment and wished us a ‘good day’.

Oil and Gas People have filed a report with Action Fraud who have asked all complainers to contact them directly. If you have been a victim of Offshore People Ltd, please contact Action Fraud as follows:

Phone: 0300 123 2040
Online Report: Click here
Live Chat: Click here

If you have any further information about the organisation or would like to make us aware of your story, please feel free to contact our news desk in confidence at: news@oilandgaspeople.com