Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standards Approved

Two new Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standards have been published and approved for delivery of apprentice pipe and plate welders, respectively.

The new apprenticeship standards and assessment plans were developed with key involvement from a number of high-profile businesses, including BAE Systems, Doosan, Hutchinson Engineering, Severfield, TEI, GE, Rolls Royce, Pall UK, Hudson Swan, Graham Engineering, and QA Weld Tech.

The new standards are approved for delivery at level 3 and mean that apprentices should be able to register for these courses from September, 2019.

The whole process was overseen by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, who will assess the effectiveness of the apprenticeship standard and make any necessary revisions in due course.

QA Weld Tech are proud of participating in the creation of these standards and the role played in developing the next generation of competent welders

Positive Nuclear Funding News for the UK

The Government has recently announced that it will be supporting the research and development in mini-nuclear plants through providing £56m worth of funding.

The funding has been allocated to assess the potential of designs of advanced and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and speeding up the development of these. It is anticipated that SMR’s will produce a tenth of electricity generated by larger-scale nuclear projects.

Anticipated to be deployed by the end of 2020, the mini nuclear plants are set to provide a solution towards Britain’s looming power crisis, whilst also being a cheaper alternative to the larger nuclear power plants.

Having recently received Fit for Nuclear (F4N) status, QA Weld Tech is delighted with the recent nuclear announcements and believes the boost in funding will help the UK to become a world leader in emerging nuclear technologies.

Dealmaking in Oil and Gas Due to See Biggest Growth Since 2014 Crash

A record breaking turnaround is on the horizon for dealmaking within the oil and gas sector, as the industry anticipates to see its first annual growth since the crash of crude oil prices in 2014. According to Mergermarket, so far this year, mergers and acquisitions have risen by 40% to over £202bn compared with £144bn in the first nine months of 2016.

With a downturn in projects and exploration over the past few years resulting in companies starting to worry about where reserves are going to stem from, but with deals such as Total’s AP Moller-Maersk oil and gas unit’s £5.8bn takeover and ExxonMobil’s US shale resources deal worth up to £5bn on the Permian Basin region of Texas and New Mexico, it suggests that the industry is beginning to refocus on growth.

After seeing a stabalisation in oil prices over the past year, ranging from £30 to £45 per barrel, buyers are confident that prices will not drop, especially as low as £18 per barrel as it previously did. This hasn’t stopped some of the biggest names in the industry offloading unwanted assets, hoping to make up for money lost during the market downturn, such as Royal Dutch Shell whom have agreed over £11bn in disposals this year.

As a leading provider of integrated welding and engineering services, we are delighted to see signs of recovery within the extremely challenging oil and gas sector, hoping companies can now get back on track after the decline and that this upturn sees more announcements and developments of future worldwide projects.

BP Announces the Start of Two More Major Upstream Projects For 2017

BP recently confirmed that another two projects have entered production for 2017, making that five out of the seven major upstream projects expected to come online this year.

Juniper, located in Trinidad and Australian based Persephone follow the start-ups earlier this year of the first phase of the West Nile Delta development in Egypt as well as the Trinidad Onshore Compression project and the redevelopment in the UK of Quad 204. And this comes on the back of the first phase of the Khazzan gas development in Oman and the Zohr gas field offshore in Egypt, both anticipated to start production before the end of this year.

Located about 140 km North West of Karratha, just off the coast of Western Australia, the Persephone project that is operated by Woodside Energy comprises two subsea wells. The project at peak is expected to produce around 48 MMscfd of gas net with BP holding 16.67% interest in Persephone.

As for the Juniper project, although it is BP’s fourteenth offshore platform in Trinidad, it will be BP’s first subsea field development in the country and the biggest new project to start up there in many years. Aiming to boost gas production capacity by around 590 MMscfd standard cubic feet a day for Trinidad and Tobago.

Having worked on projects alongside BP in the past, we are delighted to see that they are in for yet another successful year and these projects are going to deliver a key part in the company’s ambitious plans to produce 800,000 barrels of oil each day – from a range of projects – by the end of this decade.

Recovery for the Oil and Gas sector on the Horizon?

A study conducted by the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has revealed increasing confidence amongst contractors regarding the future of the UK Continental Shelf. A notable 38% of contractors are more confident about the progression within the industry, in comparison to only 12% just six months ago.

Confidence in the market signals for contractors and operators alike that now is the time to increase investment in their operations. Over 26% of contractors in the study, anticipated an increase in investment rather than a reduction, in the next two years. This is set to have a positive impact on industry efficiency, as continuous development will promote innovation and drive new technologies. As such this will stimulate growth in the sector, acting to provide greater stability for energy security within the UK whilst also reducing the skills gap in employment.

However, although extremely positive news, the oil and gas industry still faces considerable challenges caused by the macroeconomic conditions globally. The price of oil is a key indicator for the direction of the industry, and with sensitive geopolitical tensions between Qatar and the oil-rich Gulf States, most crucially Saudi Arabia, the looming uncertainty has resulted in a fluctuating oil price.

With over 35 years’ experience of operating in the oil and gas sector, we are delighted to see that the sector is taking an upturn and we are looking forward to new projects that have been recently announced come into fruition.