Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Redcar, Anna Turley, today (27th January 2014) said that the news that Teesport based offshore oil and gas engineering company, DeepOcean, were contemplating job losses should act as a “wake up call” to the Lib Dem-Tory Coalition Government to develop tax and business support strategies to sustain the North Sea fields in “difficult times.”
Press reports suggest 45 jobs are under threat across the Teesside operations of subsea specialist DeepOcean. The company has now confirmed that jobs across its Darlington and Teesport Commerce Park bases are at risk – roughly 30% of the workforce with a further 29 offshore roles also under threat. The company cites “lower than expected volumes of renewables work and rapidly declining oil prices, which have plunged from $100 a barrel to under $50 a barrel” as one of the main causes of their current difficulties.
“This is a first indication that government inaction to support the offshore industry is hitting jobs for Teesside workers. There are many hundreds, and indeed possibly thousands of Teesside workers who are employed offshore or for locally based companies supporting the oil and gas industry such as fabrication yards, wharf-side heavy load applications, marine and subsea engineering or offshore industry training.
“This vital economic linkage, one that is reflected along the whole of the North East coastline, is why we need a new innovative strategy to support the offshore industry through difficult times. It is crucial to remember our offshore industry still has great potential. The leading industry body Oil and Gas UK calculates that some 42 billion barrels of oil have been extracted with another 24 billion still left under the North Sea, which means there is still big potential. Indeed, recent gas finds by Centrica in the Pegasus field, just 130 miles out from the Tees Bay, show the potential for local development on the Tees for servicing and terminal activities connected just for this one field.
“There is a glaring need for a new and flexible system of tax help for Teesside companies like DeepOcean seeking contracts in this market. They will be the local employment base for Teesside offshore workers in the future, but they need help - help the present government is failing to give.”