The vibrancy, innovation and collaboration across the East of England energy industry was celebrated in an awards event showcasing the region’s best ideas.
Inventions, innovative ways of companies working together to drive down costs in highly competitive oil & gas and offshore wind industries and skills initiatives to inspire young people into the industry were presented at the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) 14th annual awards.
The unique relationship between the 50-year-old oil & gas industry off the east coast and the fast-growing new multi-billion offshore wind market was something to celebrate, EEEGR chief executive Simon Gray, who hosted the awards, said.
“We are leading the way in the East of England by how the sectors all work together for the future of UK energy generation, and the generation of new jobs in the region.
“Looking around this room of more than 200 individuals, it really is remarkable to see representatives from renewables, oil & gas and nuclear all interacting and working together as one energy industry. It makes me very proud to see how these relationships have been forged and are growing in our region.”
Twelve finalists, in six categories, presented their ideas to an expert eight-strong judging panel and audience of more than 100 people in the afternoon at Dunston Hall, near Norwich. The winners were announced at a dinner for more than 220 guests.
A specialist decommissioning facility at Great Yarmouth, created by Peterson and Veolia, to make a UK Southern North Sea (SNS) Centre of Excellence won EEEGR’s Late Life and Decommissioning Special Interest Group (SIG) Value to Industry Award.
The partnership targeted Great Yarmouth as a prime location for bringing ashore dismantled infrastructure from the SNS – for the UK and also for the Netherlands.
The facility’s first 1000-tonne topside and jacket arrived ashore this summer.
Ron van der Laan, of Peterson, said the centre offered massive cost savings and waste and recycling could be achieved faster, cheaper and safer using local content and knowledge.
James Fisher Marine Services’ (JFMS) East of England Renewables Centre, won the Best Regional Contribution to Local Content awarded by EEEGR’s Offshore Wind SIG.
The company had consolidated its spread of offices across the east into a new centre, regenerating the old AKD Engineering offices and warehouse in Lowestoft, employing 80 full-time employees and offering construction services to the offshore wind market.
Martin Myhill Sisley, managing director of JFMS Renewables, said £30m annual revenue was generated out of the East of England.
The winner of the Innovation Award, sponsored by Galloper Wind Farm, was Oranje-Nassau Energie UK (ONE) for its ERRV Mooring Buoy, which has made large savings by mooring standby vessels near platforms instead of continually circling them.
One of the larger expenditures on a project was a standby vessel, Martijn Hoefsloot, of ONE, said. To moor a standby vessel saved money, cut CO2 emissions and the wear and tear of the vessels.
“Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones.
“Our suppliers found that, by mooring the vessel, it didn’t need to run engines 70% of the times. It offered a serious cut in day rates, less wear and tear on engines and will pay for itself in eight months. With a life span of 10-15 years, it is an an easy win.”
In the three months the buoy has been operational, the standby vessel has been moored between 65-70% of the time.
ASCO UK won the SNS Rejuvenation SIG Collaboration Award sponsored by the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) for its Shared R&D Warehouse Facility in Great Yarmouth, which has saved £1m, secured 10 jobs for the town and will lead to a further 10 jobs.
Simon Turner, of ASCO UK, said that by responding to demands to cut costs in the industry, the company had come up with a solution for two major clients, Centrica Storage and ConocoPhillips.
The companies had been finding it difficult to maintain services in a challenging environment, so ASCO UK turned two facilities into one, closing a Humberside warehouse and consolidating services in Great Yarmouth, offering demonstrable savings, he said.
Focusing on skills for the future, an internship programme which has so far provided 30 sixth formers with four weeks’ work for some of the energy industry’s biggest names in the east coast won the Skills for Energy Award, sponsored by Vattenfall.
The East Coast Energy Internship Programme, run by Best Proactive, the Ogden Trust and the Royal Academy of Engineering, plans 40 internship places for next year, building alumni and ambassadors for the programme.
John Best, who manages the programme, said projects completed by the students had added £75,000 value into the industry.
The judges could not choose between presentations by Trade Apprentice of the Year finalists Edward Mattocks, of Aquaterra Energy, and Daniel Lark, of Pruce Newman Pipework, so announced them joint winners.
Other special awards presented were the ScottishPower Renewables Best Offshore Wind Award given to Great Yarmouth-based Seajacks and EEEGR Member of the Year 2017, awarded to Survitec Group.
The EEEGR Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award was presented to its former chairman, Mark Goodall.
Mr Goodall, area manager for Aker Solutions, has been a director of EEEGR for 16 years, a New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP) board member and is chair of the region’s Oil & Gas Taskforce
Patrick Phelan, EEEGR chairman, said: “He really is a giant in the East of England energy industry. He has given so much of his time to date supporting the energy industry.”
The judging panel was chaired by Mr Phelan and included Scot Hewitt-Gudgin, Project Functions Manager, ScottishPower Renewables, Martyn Johnson, Head of Skills Strategy Wales, Midlands and East of England, Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), Andy Paine, Head of Offshore Wind Development UK, Vattenfall, Toby Edmonds, Project Director, Galloper Wind Farm, Innogy, Eric Marston, Area Manager for the Southern North Sea and East Irish Sea, Oil & Gas Authority (OGA), Chris Pearson, Small Pools Solution Centre Manager, The Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and Dr Patrick O’Brien, Chief Executive, Industry Technology Facilitator (IFT).