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Oil and gas industry announcements: 15 August 2014

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Barnett Waddingham

Research by pension consultants Barnett Waddingham has found that oil and gas firms in the FTSE350 saw their combined pension deficit (IAS19) reduce to £ 8.5 billion in 2013, a reduction from 2012’s £ 12 billion figure. The annual research on FTSE350 companies highlights the impact defined benefit (DB), or final salary, pension schemes are having on UK businesses.

The key findings specific to the oil and gas sector include:

  • On average, oil and gas companies in the FTSE350 pay 20p of every £ 1 spent on pensions to reduce DB scheme pension benefits. This compares to an average of 37p for the whole of the FTSE350.
  • In total, oil and gas companies in the FTSE350 paid £ 600 million towards DB pension deficits in 2013, down from £ 800 million in 2012 and £ 1.1 billion in 2011.
  • Deficit contributions as a proportion of operating profit and free cash flow were lowest for companies in the oil and gas sector, at approximately 0.8% and 1.9% respectively.
  • The average deficit clearing period for underfunded plans was just under 10 years.


Verity O’Keefe, Education Policy Advisor, EEF said, ‘with more and more vacancies to fill, manufacturers will be breathing a sign of relief that the take up of STEM subjects at A lavel has increased for the fifth year in a row. Without a doubt, students who have achieved top grades in these subjects have significantly boosted their employability and their chances of enjoying a successful and sustainable career.

‘However, the overall increase in the takeup of STEM subjects disguises a mixed bag. While we welcome the fact that the number of girls studying physics has increased by 4.7% year on year there is still a significant gap between the number of boys taking this subject compared to girls. We’re heading in the right direction, but we need a concerted effort between government, industry and the education sector to continue driving students into STEM, but to also close this yawning gender gap.

‘The major focus must be on radically overhauling careers provision so that every student, male of female, understands the impact A level subject choices can have on their future career and is fully aware of the opportunities for those who choose wisely.’

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

On 7 August, Commissioner John Norris announced that he is stepping down from the FERC effective 20 August. Once he leaves FERC, he will be taking a position as the Minister Counsellor for the US Department of Agriculture in Rome, Italy. The FERC has announced that Cheryl LaFleur will serve as Chairman ountil 15 April 2015. After that date, Norman Bay will take over as Chairman. The nominations for LaFleur and Bay were both approved by the Senate on July 15.

During the confirmation hearing, several Republican members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, communicated a willingness to support Bay as a commissioner but expressed concerns regarding a lack of experience to serve as Chairman.

NES Global Talent

NES Global Talent has acquired RC Consultants, a leading provider of engineering consultancy services and manpower solutions to the oil and gas industry in Norway. Founded in 1987, RC Consultants is headquartered in Sandnes. It is NES Global Talent’s first acquisition, and adds to the company’s existing presence in Norway.

Steve Buckley, Group CFO, NES said, ‘ Norway is Europe’s largest oil producer, the world’s third largest natural gas exporter and an important supplier of both oil and gas to countries across Europe. There are a lot of projects starting up across the continent, with a number of new discoveries being made in more testing environments where more advanced technology and skills are required, such as subsurface. There is also a huge demand for people with advanced scientific skills to work on older assets and help improve productivity and extend field life.’

St1 Biofuels

North European Bio Tech Oy (NEB) hs made an investment decision concerning the construction of a bioethanol plant on the Renforsin Ranta industrial estate in Kajaani. The raw material for the plant will be sawdust from local sources. The plant will be delivered by St1 Biofuels Oy, which is responsible for design, permits and coordination and will be operating the plant once it is completed. Implementation planning will begin immediately, and construction will be launched in summer 2015. The plant is projected to begin production in mid 2016. The production capacity of the plant, 10 million ltrs/y of bioethanol, will be leased to North European Oil Trade Oy (NEOT), which engages in oil and bioproduct wholesale trade.

Henrikki Talvite, NEOT CEO said, ‘having our own ethanol produced from waste and residue will reinforce our strategy in complying with growing biofuels mandates. Since we are a procurement company, it is essential for us to ensure the availability of competitive sustainable biofuels, and having our own production is becoming increasingly important. Sawdust and other wood waste is a substantial potential source for ethanol raw material not just in Finland but in the other Nordic countries too.

Edited from various press releases by Claira Lloyd

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