Energy firms urged to seize the opportunities of the East coast

The SNS 2016 Offshore Energy conference at the Norfolk Showground. Simon Gray, chief executive of EE

The SNS 2016 Offshore Energy conference at the Norfolk Showground. Simon Gray, chief executive of EEEGR. The SNS2018 conference kicks off today. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

The region's energy businesses will gather today with the 'perfect opportunity' to make the most of the East's nuclear, offshore wind and gas projects, an industry leader has said.

The SNS2018 conference and exhibition, organised by the East of Energy Group (EEEGR), will bring together 1,300 representatives from operators and the supply chain today and tomorrow.

The rescheduled event, which was cancelled due to the Beast from the East in February, will showcase experts and leaders from across the energy spectrum at Norwich's Norfolk Showground, with the industry in a buoyant mood.

Among the speakers will be Shell's Bacton Gas Plant manager Belinda Ikazoboh who will be speaking about the rejuvenation of the site, Siemens' head of strategic cyber solutions Ian Bramson talking about cyber security and ENI UK's Richard Innes who will reveal details of the decommissioning of the Hewett gas field.

While 85% of speakers have signed on again from February's aborted first attempt, there have been changes in the industry, with the oil price back on the rise and several major regional projects moving forward.

EEEGR chief executive Simon Gray said it was "probably the most buoyant" mood in the sector in the six years he had led the organisation, with opportunities in offshore wind, gas and nuclear.

He said: "Across our region we have nuclear, gas and massive offshore wind farms: it is really the perfect opportunity for a lot of companies.

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"From the blue-chip companies like EDF and Shell down to the two-man metal bashers in places like Gorleston and Lowestoft, they can unlock vast opportunities in the region."

He added energy security could become an even bigger issue, given the current reliance on Russian gas and turbulent political times.

Mr Gray said the conference had become even bigger after the cancellation.

He said: "Rather than being a larger regional exhibition, SNS has become a small international one and we have people coming from France, Germany and Scandinavia. We really are at the centre of a real opportunity and there is a really positive feeling."

SNS2018 begins today from 9am until 4pm.