A major energy partnership between the UK and Norway announced Thursday is set to generate thousands of jobs.
The two countries have agreed what they describe as a "landmark energy partnership" designed to secure affordable and sustainable long-term energy supplies.
'The Norway-UK Energy Partnership for Sustainable Growth' was announced at a breakfast meeting Thursday morning that was attended by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, his Norwegian counterpart Jens Stoltenberg and 10 leading energy companies from the two countries.
Although the partnership involves collaborations that stretch across the entire energy spectrum – including the renewable energy and electricity industries – specific oil and gas investments were announced that will have a direct impact on employment within the sector in the UK.
As part of the partnership, Norwegian oilfield services firm Aker Solutions has stated that it plans to create 1,300 new highly-skilled jobs by 2015 at its London engineering hub in Chiswick – so increasing its resource there to 1,700 people. The new jobs are part of the company's plan to increases its revenues by between nine and 15 percent per annum from 2011 to 2015.
"Aker Solutions' decision to create 1300 new jobs at a new engineering hub in Chiswick is great news for the local economy and it is a vote of confidence in the skill, expertise and professionalism of our engineering sector," David Cameron said in a statement.
"Oil and gas engineers in London are typically experienced, highly competent and they have an international mindset. By combining our own experience with this expertise we can offer our customers engineering related to field architecture, products and technologies both in the North Sea and internationally," Oyvind Eriksen, executive chairman in Aker Solutions, commented.
Meanwhile, Norwegian oil major Statoil intends to invest a further $18.5 billion (GBP 12 billion) over the lifetime of the UK's Mariner-Bressay North Sea oil fields in addition to the $9.3 billion (GBP 6 billion) investment it has already announced. This will lead to up to 300 new jobs being created in the UK during the next few years in addition to 700 new jobs that have already been announced.
Statoil has also agreed a new memorandum of understanding with UK gas firm Centrica to continue cooperation on gas supply and exploration.
Commenting about the overall benefit of the new partnership between the two countries, David Cameron said:
"The jobs and investments announced today highlight how vital the strong relationship between Norway and the United Kingdom is for our energy security and economic growth. We look forward to strengthening our partnership further, driving investment into a diverse, sustainable energy mix that delivers affordable long term supplies for consumers."
Trade body Oil & Gas UK also welcomed the news.
"It is good news to hear that Statoil is creating new jobs in the UK and we are equally impressed that Aker Solutions is to expand its engineering hub in the UK to provide well over a thousand jobs by 2015. The fact that international companies of this stature are investing in the UK is a strong endorsement of our capability," said Mike Tholen, Oil & Gas UK's economics director.
Norway is already a key supplier of oil and gas to the UK, providing over a quarter of its primary energy needs – including 42 percent of its imported gas and around 62 percent of imported oil in 2011.
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