News that the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry will be boosted by a £1bn investment by chemical giant INEOS has been given a guarded welcome by Nautilus in advance of cross-union action to ensure continued recovery in the sector.
INEOS has announced it plans to spend £500m to modernise the Forties Pipeline, which transports 40% of the UK's North Sea oil and gas – with the aim of extending the life of the pipeline by at least 20 years.
The company will also spend another £350m to upgrade its Grangemouth refinery, and £150m to build a new chemical plant in Hull.
Mike Tholen of the industry body Oil & Gas UK commented: 'Investment of this scale in the Forties Pipeline system is a vote of confidence in the future potential of the UK North Sea. The modernisation programme will provide operators with a greater degree of certainty when making investment decisions about the future development plans for their assets.'
Nautilus strategic organiser Lee Moon said: 'This is another welcome step in the recovery of the sector, and we expect this recovery to find its way to our members by way of job security and being able to reclaim some of the benefits lost to keep employers in business.
'The sector is a significant contributor to British jobs, skills, technology, and energy security. There are still huge profits to be made in the North Sea, which is backed up by so many investors still seeing it as a viable risk. Those huge profits can be translated into highly skilled well-paid jobs for everyone, providing there is a level playing field for business and seafarers alike. '
Nautilus members working in the offshore sector can attend a special meeting in Aberdeen on 12 March 2019 hosted by a cross-union lobby group formed in response to the North Sea jobs crisis.
The Offshore Coordinating Group (OCG) was formed by Nautilus, the RMT, GMB, Unite and BALPA in 2016 to ‘lead the fightback’ against job losses, pay cuts, lowered safety standards, and cuts in terms and conditions.
'Our work at the OCG and ETF is trying to ensure that the recovery of the North Sea benefits not just big business but the seafarers who have also had to face tough times and provide the profits for those at the top,' added Mr Moon.