When the organisers said that this year’s Offshore Europe
was going to be the best yet, I must admit to some nagging doubts. We are, after all, in the worst recession since the Great Depression.
But, within seconds of walking into the vast halls of Offshore Europe today all thoughts of gloom and doom are dispelled. This is a vibrant, show that exudes confidence and enterprise.
The statistics are impressive. At 22,620 square metres of exhibition space, Offshore Europe 2009 is 11% bigger than the last of the bi-ennial shows in 2007. All the indications are that 2009 will also break the 2007 record of 40,179 visitors.
It took us a full two hours to do our quick recce walk around exhibition – and that was with only very minimal meeting and greeting on the way. There are four massive temporary halls in addition to the main arena of the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre
What is deeply impressive is the international focus on Offshore Europe as a world showcase. Among the international pavilions are China, Western Australia, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands and Norway.
It seems that governments around the world have recognised that Aberdeen is the place to be.
If only our own governments and politicians reflected the same recognition of the Aberdeen’s international role as a global technology centre and the future potential of the industry. They should do. North Sea oil and gas is expected to contribute £30 billion to the UK balance of payments!
There is still enormous opportunity in the North Sea. Surprisingly, the UK ranks us as a bigger oil producer than Kuwait and North Sea oil and gas produces 75% of the UK’s prime energy needs. There is as much oil still left out in the North Sea as has been produced in the past 40 years (albeit that what remains is going to be more difficult to reach).
It’s time to dispel the myth that the North Sea is in its twilight years.
Given government support and encouragement, the industry has many years left and our technology has a ready market around the world – from China and Australia, to the Caspian Region, Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas.