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Opinion Piece by Paul Atkinson, Interim Chief Executive of the Offshore Contractors Association

OCA and Member Companies actively engaged in building a long term future for the Offshore Oil and Gas Sector.

21 June 2016/Categories: Media News, Press Releases 2016



Opinion Piece by Paul Atkinson, Interim Chief Executive of the Offshore Contractors Association


Date: 15th June 2016



OCA and Member Companies actively engaged in building a long term future for the Offshore Oil and Gas Sector.


The past eighteen months have proved particularly challenging for the UK’s Offshore Oil and Gas Industry following a sustained period of low oil prices. Many projects have been put on hold or cancelled, leading to a significant downturn in work for OCA member companies and sadly, impacting on levels of employment. The next twelve months are likely to be equally difficult; the new statutory Apprentices Levy will add further to the cost base of the industry.  


The OCA and its members recognise the importance of continuing to deliver a value proposition for the offshore sector, working in a collaborative way that improves safety, efficiency, productivity and innovation.


The Association is actively engaged with the partner Trade Unions, Unite and GMB through a series of initiatives and Working Groups to enhance and promote the needs of the industry, addressing the current crisis through meaningful and collaborative working. Critically, two Working Groups focusing on Safety and Cost and Production efficiencies have been established with the objective of ensuring the very best practice is shared and adopted across the sector.


The Safety Working Group is aligned to Step Change in Safety (SCiS) and forms part of the Safety simplification initiative. It has developed an industry standard for Toolbox Talks, Dynamic Risk Assessments and Behavioural Safety Observation Cards, called the Safety Working Essentials Booklet. The objective is to roll out in July this year, a single Toolbox Talk and Point of Assessment Card followed by a Common Observations Card for operations in the UKCS.          


The OCA and its member companies also places high priority on looking at new and innovative ways of working including how best to address duplication of work, ensuring that the sharing and adoption of best practices will help reduce the cost base of the industry without compromising the existing  high standards of safety.


Part of this initiative, which has been developed through the ECITB, is addressing and developing a core skills and training base that is easily transferable between clients and offshore assets, thus reducing the cost burden to the industry and supporting the strategic objective of maximising economic recovery.     


ECITB continues to play a crucial role and is assisting with the retention of key skills, especially in the graduate sector for the upstream Oil and Gas sector, and is working closely with the OCA and member companies to secure the long term future of the offshore sector.  


It is estimated North Sea Decommissioning could be worth up to £29 billion. The OCA and its members are addressing the forthcoming decommissioning market in anticipation of many major assets reaching the end of their useful working life adjusting the skills required to support this activity.


Working in collaboration with partners and key stakeholders, the OCA has an important role in securing the long term future of the UKCS.  The Association is actively engaged in developing new initiatives that maximise opportunities, share best practice and ensure that the highest possible standards of safety remain a cornerstone of all offshore operations   







Notes to Editors

The OCA looks after the interests of companies involved in a range of activities, including mechanical, electrical and allied services, construction, modifications and maintenance work, design and project engineering, fabrication and decommissioning.

Combined, these organisations have a turnover in excess of £3 billion; a workforce of more than 20,000 employees and a presence on virtually every installation on the UK Continental Shelf.  

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