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Spotlight falls on energy

PUBLISHED: 15:12 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:49 03 July 2010

THE southern North Sea remains a treasure chest for the energy needs of the UK.

It will soon be home to the world's largest offshore wind farm and the remaining reserves of gas take on a new significance following the recent Russian posturing over international supplies.

THE southern North Sea remains a treasure chest for the energy needs of the UK.

It will soon be home to the world's largest offshore wind farm and the remaining reserves of gas take on a new significance following the recent Russian posturing over international supplies.

Advancing technology and subsea expertise allow much smaller pockets to be opened up for commercial use.

All of which means the Southern North Sea Conference, SNS 09, staged in Norwich next month by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) will be more in the spotlight than ever.

With the region's gas industry focused on Great Yarmouth and the rapidly emerging wind farm world looking to centre on Lowestoft, the energy industry is vital to the East of England and its 1,200 or so companies in the supply chain.

"The energy industry has been thriving in the southern North Sea for more than four decades and every year that someone tries to play down its importance, it bounces back with even more vigour," said John Best, EEEGR chief executive.

"Anyone with doubts should come to hear our speakers at the conference. There are some staggering stories to be told which will confirm the undoubted value to our industry of the Southern North Sea now and many years into the future."

Rob Hastings, director of Marine Estates for the Crown Estate, will outline how natural resources like wind and wave will become as important as North Sea gas and oil.

Steve Rose, offshore operations manager for the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm - to be built off the Suffolk coast - will update the progress of what will become the world's largest wind farm of its kind.

Alistair Birnie, chief executive officer of Subsea UK, will look at how investment can be encouraged for further gas production while Blair Ainslie, managing director of Seajacks UK, will highlight the Yarmouth-based company's multi-million pound initiative to launch a new range of powered jack-up vessels into the North Sea.

Other speakers will look at the way the region can use and enhance its assets and how European countries are working together to ensure that the SNS becomes a global centre of excellence in offshore wind energy.

SNS 09 is at the Holiday Inn, Norwich International Airport, on February 5 from 9am.


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