GDF SUEZ has underlined its long-term commitment to the North Sea by investing £6 million in establishing its UK Exploration and Production (E&P) operational center in Aberdeen.
Securing a 10 year lease at a new high-profile office in the city's Union Plaza development, the energy giant has also appointed Aberdeen industry stalwart, Rob Buchan as UK E&P operations manager and general manager of the company’s UK E&P operational center in the city.
Europe's third largest energy company and the world's number one independent power producer, GDF SUEZ is active across the entire energy value chain, in electricity and natural gas, upstream and downstream sectors. Headquartered in Paris with offices globally, the GDF SUEZ group focuses on energy, energy services and environmental services.
In his new role as UK E&P operations manager, Rob Buchan is responsible for all of the company's E&P operational activity in the UK North Sea including asset management, drilling and production operations, subsea, development and procurement activity. He is also tasked with helping manage stakeholder engagement in the UKCS and further developing the business through organic growth and acquisition.
The move into Aberdeen means the company will be bringing up to 80 new jobs to the city.
Rob Buchan said, "This is a major move for the company but at the same time, a logical one. The North Sea is a key growth region for GDF SUEZ UK E&P Ltd with our offshore interests spanning more than 35 exploration and development blocks across the West of Shetland, Central and Southern North Sea basins.
"We operate 15 of these 35 blocks, two of which include the Cygnus and Juliet fields which are significant North Sea discoveries. With these fields now approaching development approval, we are positioning ourselves to harness opportunities in the North Sea energy market.
He continued, "The rationale for establishing our operations center in Aberdeen is strategic. It's important for us to be able to build the appropriate resource infrastructure and skills set to exploit the market, develop competency and build a track record. We are evolving from a subsurface focused organization into a fully integrated operational company and as part of that we need to create networks and develop mutually beneficial relationships with all stakeholders in the UKCS.
"GDF SUEZ plans to become an important producer in the UK North Sea and will play a significant role in its future development and longevity. We are investing approximately £6 million in our move to Aberdeen and to support that we are currently on a recruitment drive in the region. We have plans to employ a stable of up to 80 staff in the next 12 months to support our growth ambitions and enhance our North Sea operations."
Rob Buchan (54) was previously with BP for 24 years in drilling and operations management in Aberdeen and London before moving to GDF SUEZ.
The headquarters for the company's UK E&P division will remain in London.
Rene Montaz, managing director of GDF SUEZ UK E&P Ltd reinforced the importance of this decision to move into Aberdeen by the UK affiliate. He said, "This is a natural step in the evolution of our business in the UK. Aberdeen is viewed as the oil and gas capital of Europe and it’s important for our UK North Sea operations team to be located there to support our ambitions for industry integration and meet the procurement and technical demands of operational activity."
The GDF SUEZ Group employs 200,000 people worldwide and achieved revenues of £71.9 billion (€83.1 billion) in 2008. GDF SUEZ is listed on the Brussels, Luxembourg and Paris stock exchanges and is represented in the main international indices: CAC 40, BEL 20, DJ Stoxx 50, DJ Euro Stoxx 50, Euronext 100, FTSE Eurotop 100, MSCI Europe and ASPI Eurozone.