(Alliance News) – The organisation that represents the UK offshore oil and gas industry, Oil and Gas UK, Friday said it has appointed Deirdre Michie as its new chief executive after a “comprehensive search”.
Michie will take up the position from the beginning of May, replacing current Chief Executive Malcolm Webb, who is retiring at the end of May.
Michie joins Oil and Gas UK from Shell where her career spanned almost 30 years in senior UK and global upstream and downstream management positions, said Oil and Gas UK.
“Having worked extensively in both operator and supply chain orientated roles, she brings significant experience of the upstream oil and gas industry, with a strong and proven background in strategic contracting and procurement, commercial negotiation and communications,” it said.
Oil and Gas UK is currently “spearheading industry collaboration on cost reduction and efficiency initiatives as well as leading discussions with the UK government on tax and regulatory reform” to try and maximise economic recovery from the UK’s offshore resource, it said.
BP PLC’s North Sea Regional President, Trevor Garlick, who is also the co-chairman of Oil and Gas UK, said he was “very pleased” with the appointment while John Pearson, group president of Amec Foster Wheeler in Northern Europe and CIS said Michie will help “solve complex, multi-stakeholder issues.”
On Wednesday, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer met outgoing chief executive Webb to discuss what action is needed by both industry and government to “ensure the long-term success of the sector”.
The meeting was organised after Oil and Gas UK conducted a survey that provided “striking evidence of how rising costs, taxes and inadequate regulation have taken their toll on the UK industry?s international competitiveness,” and highlighted “the urgency with which measures are needed to secure new investment and address the collapse in exploration.”
Most oil and gas fields in the North Sea are ageing and becoming more expensive to maintain. The recent sharp slide in oil prices to about USD58 a barrel, from over USD115 a barrel last June, has put pressure on the North Sea operators and threatens tax revenue from a source that is still important to the UK’s overall tax receipts.
This is evident by operators such as oil majors BP and Shell cutting North Sea expenditure plans and making broader spending cuts. On Tuesday, oil services firm Archer confirmed it was cutting 400 jobs from its UK operations, mainly in the North Sea just hours after Oil and Gas UK revealed the poor performance of the North Sea during 2014.
The Oil and Gas Authority, the new regulator of the UK oil and gas industry, said on Tuesday that the industry, government and the Authority must work together to maximise the North Sea’s potential.
By Joshua Warner