Oil & Gas UK is the leading representative body for the UK offshore oil and gas industry. It is a not-for-profit organisation, established in April 2007 but with a pedigree stretching back over 40 years. Our aim is to strengthen the long-term health of the offshore oil and gas industry in the United Kingdom by working closely with companies across the sector
A ship’s crew with an impeccable safety record spanning 20 years and a woman whose dedication to her role as an offshore Safety Representative have each earned a spot as a finalist for this year’s Offshore Safety Awards.
18 entries have reached the shortlist across six categories covering Maritime Safety, Safety Representative of the Year, Innovation in Safety, Operational Integrity, Workforce Engagement and Sharing and Learning.
The awards – jointly organised by OGUK and Step Change in Safety with TOTAL as principal sponsor – celebrate the outstanding individuals and companies going the extra mile to ensure safe operations on the UK Continental Shelf.
Matt Abraham, Health, Safety and Environment Director with OGUK said:
“Recognising the achievements of those who have gone above and beyond to ensure safe operations is critical in our pursuit to continually improve industry’s safety performance across the North Sea. The calibre of entries we had this year was excellent and all our finalists should feel very proud of their achievements. Across all categories their case studies shine a real example on the good work going on to improve safety in our industry and I’m really looking forward to celebrating their success at the awards ceremony in August.”
Jean-Luc Guiziou, Managing Director TOTAL E&P UK Ltd said: “Total’s core value is safety and we are delighted to be supporting the Offshore Safety Awards this year. Safety is something everyone in the offshore industry in the UK believes in and these awards allow us to celebrate the best examples of how we bring that to life every day.”
The finalists across the six categories are:
Maritime Safety sponsored by Marine Safety Forum
Oleg Krushynin / Solstad &Eric Wiseman Seacroft Marine Consultants
Crews of the VOS supporter ERRV Vroon Offshore Services
Douglas Bain & Crew Nordic American Offshore
Safety Representative of the Year sponsored by Drager
Stephanie Sunley Aramark
Lee Chegwidden Apache
Ian McKnight Wood Plc
Innovation in Safety sponsored by Bureau Veritas
Epic Exploration & Production Company Ltd EPIC
Shell UK Ltd Shell UK Ltd
CNOOC International and DNV GL Limited CNOOC International
Operational Integrity sponsored by Aker Solutions
Material Corrosion and Inspection Simplification Project Shell UK Ltd
ABB (energy industries business line -Stuart Young) ABB
Workforce Engagement sponsored by Peterson
Robert Ferguson Noble Drilling
Neptune Energy UK Ltd Neptune Energy
Shane Gorman Diamond Offshore
Sharing and Learning sponsored by Spirit Energy
QHSE Team with Company RS & Inspection Services CAN Group
ASCO ASCO Group
Brent Decommissioning Project Shell UK Limited
The finalists will attend an interactive awards ceremony at P&J Live, Dyce on Wednesday 29 August where they will pitch their safety initiative directly to attendees, who will get the chance to cast their vote and ultimately decide on the winners of this year’s awards.
About Oil & Gas UK
Oil & Gas UK is the leading representative organisation for the UK offshore oil and gas industry. Its membership comprises oil and gas producers and contractor companies.
About Step Change in Safety (SCiS)
Launched in 1997, Step Change in Safety was created to continue post-Piper Alpha safety improvements and drive sustained safety performance improvement and workforce engagement.
As a tripartite member-led safety body for the UK offshore oil and gas industry, the membership and leadership of Step Change in Safety is made up of oil and gas operators, contractor companies, the Health and Safety Executive, and the Trades Unions.
Workforce diversity and inclusivity are currently major discussion points for industry. For the sector to prosper and remain competitive, a lot needs to change.
Diversity in oil and gas – within the workforce and across ideas – is necessary if the industry is to thrive. Vast changes are anticipated as the industry adapts in line with the energy transition and advances in technology. As a result, the existing skills gap will only grow, unless companies make the changes needed to make oil and gas an attractive destination for professionals and graduates alike.
Diversity is only possible if companies work to create an environment and culture that is inclusive. In practice, this means companies allow for all manner of personal expression from their employees without anyone fearing that bringing their whole selves to the workplace will hinder, target or ostracise them.
“Inclusion [to me] means making the industry open to everyone no matter who you are; what you identify with culturally, religiously; what your ethnicity is; what your gender is,” explains Spirit Energy director for resourcing, talent, D&I and L&D, Susan Grayson. Wireline met with Grayson to discuss diversity and inclusion in the industry and the work Spirit Energy is doing to embody these ideas.
“If we are truly inclusive, we will have diversity of thought; we’ll make better decisions as teams, we’ll be innovative as an industry and we’ll move on. If we have non-diverse and non-inclusive teams the industry will not keep up with other industries and we’ll lose talent.”
Across the industry, diversity is appearing more frequently in company manifestos and as a talking point at events and conferences. Many organisations are striving to make the changes necessary to encourage greater inclusiveness. For many, however, not enough is being done – evidenced in recent comments made by Energy Institute president Steve Holliday, who remarked that: “The oil and gas industry is appalling. Absolutely awful. It’s pretty much the worst sector for diversity in terms of gender and ethnicity.”
Energy Voice reports that, overall, figures for the number of graduates and women joining the industry are declining and, more generally speaking, the industry performs badly when it comes to ethnic and LGBT diversity. The University of Aberdeen also reported that the oil downturn has had a negative impact on the number of women entering oil- and gas-based higher education. These numbers only highlight the choice that many young people are making in light of the downturn and the energy transition.
There are fundamental shifts that need to be made in individual perspectives and by companies as a whole; attitudes towards diversity and inclusion need to change. Some companies have already taken steps toward addressing their lack of diversity and creating a more inclusive work environment by looking at hiring practices and introducing support and development programmes for existing employees.
“If we are truly inclusive, we will have diversity of thought, we’ll make better decisions as teams, we’ll be innovative as an industry.”
There are a number of different interventions a company can adopt to improve diversity and inclusivity at their organisation. In a paper published in the journal Work Occupation in 2014, titled ‘Corporate diversity programmes and gender inequality in the oil and gas industry’, the authors interviewed female geoscientists to explore the effectiveness of different corporate strategies that exist to address the issue. Their findings also give insight into not just company attitudes to diversity, but also how recipients of diversity intervention programmes feel about them.
In some organisations, specific goals are set for the hiring and promoting of professionals from minority backgrounds, and an individual or committee is given the responsibility to oversee the achievement of these
goals. This kind of strategy has proven most effective in increasing the number of women in management but is generally met with some resistance – both from those not targeted by the programme and those who stand to benefit.
Grayson alludes to this in her own experience: “In 2013, when I worked for Centrica, our SVP Collette Cohen set up the first Women’s Network. At first, I thought: ‘Gosh, do I really want to get involved?’ Then I thought, if I could have had the help and advice from myself at this age starting out in my career it would have been easier.” This hesitation and resistance is understandable.
People can be reluctant to join anything that might set them apart from their colleagues and this specific intervention can open avenues for other people to question a person’s right to be at a company, degradingly referred to as a ‘diversity hire’. It is therefore important that people understand how diversity is also an issue of inequality, and that in order to work towards a level playing field, many systemically disadvantaged minorities need to be given a ‘leg up’, and offered space and support that they’re denied in society.
The paper’s authors report: “By holding an entity accountable for the achievement of diversity goals on-the-ground, this policy aims to subvert both organisational inertia and wilful resistance from frontline supervisors.”
“Corporate diversity discourse often frames diversity as ‘individual or group differences’ rather than addressing issues of structural inequality, like sexism and racism.”
In an industry characterised by an incredible lack of diversity, powerful measures are needed to alter the reality. One such way is for companies to embrace this unpopular measure of legally enforcing equal opportunity by, for example, targeting women for promotions and hiring black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) professionals.
“It’s not one solution fits all. You tackle the problem from school, university, graduates, and then within your organisation and working environment and then [by] bringing and retaining talent,” Grayson adds.
Traditionally, mentoring programs exist to pair a junior employee with a more senior employee who can share their experiences and offer technical and career advice. Career progress can be hindered for individuals who do not have access to advisers that provide support and advocate for them, so many organisations choose to implement mentoring programmes to assist underrepresented employees.
Research shows that such programmes are only moderately successful at increasing diversity at the leadership level. However, this does not take away from how valuable it can be for an individual to feel supported by having the option of mentoring available to them and working in an inclusive environment. In this study, the female participants expressed that formal mentoring in their first five years at an organisation was invaluable and many missed having a mentor after this period.
Diversity training programmes
Many organisations organise compulsory training programmes to their employees, including seminars and webinars, as part of their diversity and inclusivity efforts. These are devoted to enhancing cultural sensitivity and teaching employees about issues such as unconscious bias, protected characteristics and what behaviours fall into discrimination and harassment. The goal of these training programmes is to teach individuals about the types of diversity that exist and how to be more inclusive, in the hope that participants will change their attitudes and behaviour in response to the training, paving way for a more inclusive environment.
Affinity groups and networking programmes
These groups provide a means for employees to gain social support by joining up with fellow employees that they share a common interest with or a demographic trait. Companies introduce affinity groups on the premise that these networks can help employees combat feelings of isolation. Though they have very little impact on increasing the representation of minorities in management, they do serve an individual and personal benefit by providing a safe space, emotional support and encouragement. Groups are typically open to all employees and may organise informal gatherings for socialising or formal events related to professional development.
Corporate diversity discourse often frames diversity as ‘individual or group differences’ rather than addressing the issues of structural inequality, like sexism and racism, that underpin the lack of representation.
As a result, interventions such as those described above can have the unintended consequence of absolving employers from any discriminatory intent by not addressing existing structural barriers and attitudes that reinforce inequality.
For those reasons, greater research is needed into ethnic and racial diversity within the industry. Grayson says that while there has been success in setting up affinity networks for women and for Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) professionals, others have proven more difficult to establish. “One thing we are trying to set up in Spirit now is an LGBT network. I am finding it harder for people to come forward. There is a fear of being noticed or connected with something that is important, but people feel might not be doing them any favours.”
There are individuals who are critical of the increasing emphasis that the corporate world is placing on diversity. Some deny that there is a problem at all, while others feel excluded and, though incorrectly, discriminated against. This is an unfortunate but unsurprising obstacle that leaders and those working to address diversity and inclusivity issues in an organisation have to deal with. “One of the feelings that have been building around men is ‘What about me?’ Instead of leaving them out [of the work], what Spirit has done is try and engage with that group and bring them onboard, saying: ‘Here’s what you can do to help and be a part of this’,” Grayson explains.
For International women’s Day 2019, the company’s EVP technical & operated production Neil McCulloch, penned an article for Energy Voice on the value of gender equality for businesses and how efforts to achieve gender balance are not an attack on men. “Viewing gender imbalance as a women’s issue and leaving it to women alone to ‘fix’, means that any failures will rest at the feet of women instead of being identified as systemic deficiencies. The fact is that in most businesses both the human and financial resources are controlled by men,” McCulloch wrote.
In 2016, OGUK introduced a new award category for ‘Diversity and Inclusiveness’ at its annual industry awards. The award, last year sponsored by Spirit Energy, ‘recognises a company that drives improved business results through recognising and promoting the value of diverse teams and inclusive behaviours.’ The most recent winner of this award was BP, whose efforts in this area have been extensive and led to real improvements in its workforce.
At the heart of this effort are its Business Resource Groups (BRGs), employee-led business groups that raise awareness, educate employees and initiate policy changes on everything from ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation to more flexible ways of working. Crucially, each network has an executive sponsor to help them grow and line managers support staff who want to get involved in a BRG alongside their day job.
BP is deeply committed to creating an environment where diversity and inclusion are valued, celebrated and integrated within its business strategy – and it’s working. Around a third of BP’s North Sea employees are actively engaged in one or more BRGs. It was also the first company in the North Sea to support Grampian Pride.
In the US the company has introduced recruitment, development, advancement and inclusion programmes to achieve specific ethnic minority recruitment goals. BP’s gender balance is also steadily improving, with women representing 34% of BP’s global population in 2018, up from 32% in 2015. This kind of work never stops but what BP has achieved so far deserved recognition.
One step organisations can take to hold themselves more accountable and be more attractive to women is by being transparent with their employee pay scales. Both BP and Spirit have made their gender pay gap figures public and are actively addressing this discrepancy.
Ultimately, the ‘argument’ for diversity and inclusivity in the workplace is not up for debate. “There’s no competition in this for the industry, we’ve all got to do it because we have got to attract people to work in our industry and if we don’t do that, we fail,” Grayson states. It is equally important for executives and leaders to display their commitment making diversity and inclusivity a priority. “Leadership need to be visible and ‘walk the walk, talk the talk’. You need to be authentic, immersed and engaged in the issue.”
This campaign aims to start the conversation about how we will, together, deliver a brighter future for our industry, our people and our country.
By balancing the use of secure, affordable domestic energy resources with an accelerated transition towards lower carbon, we can rise to one of the biggest challenges of our time.
Vision 2035 is about extending the life of the UK North Sea by at least a generation and doubling supply chain opportunities at home and abroad to, in turn, deliver exciting jobs, security of supply and, through the energy transition, a lower carbon future.
The search is on for industry’s brightest stars as nominations open for the 2019 OGUK Awards, sponsored by Shell U.K Limited.
The annual awards ceremony, to be held at the new P&J Live venue in Dyce, Aberdeen, celebrates the outstanding achievements of businesses and individuals across the North Sea sector.
New to this year’s roster of awards is the Energy Transition category, which recognises a company that is leading the way in how the UK industry approaches and contributes to the move towards a lower carbon future.
Deirdre Michie, Chief Executive OGUK, said: “Our awards are a highlight of the industry calendar and an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the amazing people in our pioneering sector.
“I’m particularly pleased that this year, we are introducing an additional award that specifically recognises a company’s efforts to support the UK’s net-zero ambitions.
“Businesses within our sector have enormous capacity, capability and responsibility to promote progress toward a more sustainable future. The engineering and technological expertise of our supply chain companies means that we have the skills and experience to make a net zero future a reality.”
Nominations are open for the following categories:
Apprentice of the Year
Graduate of the Year
Mentor of the Year
MER UK Award
Excellence in Decommissioning Award
Diversity and Inclusion
Business Innovation (SME)
Business Innovation (Large Enterprise)
Find out more information on the categories and how to nominate here. The deadline for nominations is 9 August 2019.
The announcement by the Scottish Government that £4 million of support will be made available through the Decommissioning Challenge Fund has been welcomed by OGUK. The fund provides support for projects that enhance the decommissioning market and supply chain across Scotland.
Commenting, Mike Tholen, Upstream Policy Director OGUK, said:
“The Decommissioning Challenge Fund underlines the Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment to the oil and gas industry as we look to harness decommissioning opportunities at home and indeed, globally.
“Although decommissioning only accounts for eight percent of total spend in the North Sea, it is a growing market in which the UK has first mover advantage. This will not only provide the supply chain with a steady workflow in the UK, but these competitive capabilities are exportable to a global market.
“At the same time, we remain focused on providing security of energy supply through home-produced resources, providing energy sovereignty as recognised recently by the Committee on Climate Change in its Net Zero Report. All of this will ensure that we continue to provide highly skilled jobs, remain a major economic contributor and are best placed to become a key partner in the transition towards a low carbon future.”
The Dales Voe decommissioning facility in Shetland has welcomed portions of Spirit Energy’s ST-1 installation, taking the site one step closer towards becoming a Centre of Excellence for the recycling of North Sea offshore structures.
With a recycling target of 97%, strategic partners Veolia and Peterson will now work to recover approximately 2,500 tonnes of materials, with a view to returning valuable components to industry for re-use. Read more…
OGUK has appointed two new members to its board to further bolster the sector’s ongoing efforts to maintain the competitiveness of oil and gas production from the UKCS – whilst also playing a significant role in enabling the UK’s net zero carbon emissions ambition.
Bob Drummond, CEO of Hydrasun Group, has been appointed to the organisation’s board, as well as Alistair Stobie, Chief Financial Officer at Hurricane Energy.
With over 40 years’ industry experience, Bob Drummond has been CEO and managing director in a number of major energy services companies including Maersk UK, Salamis Group, Wood Group Engineering and Rigblast Energy Services Group, prior to joining Hydrasun in 2002.
Commenting on his new position, Mr Drummond said: “I am delighted to be joining the OGUK Board at such an exciting but nonetheless challenging time for our industry. I look forward to working with the board toward the delivery of Vision 2035 and in particular at a time when our industry continues to develop and evolve through the energy transition.”
Alistair Stobie of Hurricane Energy has significant capital markets and international oil and gas industry experience. Alistair was previously director of finance at AIM-quoted Zoltav Resources and CFO at Oando Exploration & Production.
Hurricane Energy has developed pioneering approaches to exploration, particularly in the frontier region West of Shetland and the company has recently achieved first oil from the Lancaster field.
Alistair Stobie said: “I am delighted to be joining OGUK’s board at this critical juncture in the industry’s future as we deliver both the oil and gas necessary to transition to a net zero carbon emissions economy.”
“I am really pleased to welcome both Bob and Alistair to OGUK’s board as they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be hugely beneficial as we engage in the challenges facing the industry.
“As well as ensuring as much as possible of UK demand for oil and gas is matched by efficient domestic production, we also have to play our part in supporting the UK in its net zero ambition. Delivering Vision 2035 is our route to doing this that will also seek to improve diversity and inclusion and attract and retain talent into the sector.
“Around the OGUK board table, Bob and Alistair will continue to ensure a strong voice for the supply chain and for the diversity of operators that continue to be attracted to the UKCS.”
UK-based Hurricane Energy announced that the 205/26b-B well (known as Lincoln Crestal) was spudded on 12 July 2019 using the Transocean Leader rig.
Lincoln Crestal is the second in a three-well programme on Hurricane’s Lincoln and Warwick assets, comprising the Greater Warwick Area. The company says that a further update will be made following completion of drilling and testing operations. Hurricane has a 50% interest in the Greater Warwick Area following Spirit Energy’s farm-in to the P1368 South and P2294 licences in September 2018. Read more…