Miles Templeman, Director General of the Institute of Directors (IoD), in Aberdeen to learn about the offshore energy industries, has told business leaders in the city that they need to promote the city’s past success and future ambitions.
Speaking as he arrived in Aberdeen for two days of briefings, Mr Templeman said:
“Aberdeen is one of those cities that is not as appreciated as it should be. It should do more to project what it does.”
“I’m already impressed with the ambition of Aberdeen. I had not appreciated how strongly the city aimed to be an energy centre for all types of energy. Aberdeen needs to tell Britain and Europe of that ambition.
Mr Templeman went on to give the IoD view on many subjects including infrastructure planning and the slow pace of development in this country. He contrasted this with China, at the opposite extreme, pointing out that – in the time it took for the UK to build Terminal 5 at Heathrow – the Chinese had built 400 airports.
“I am not yet convinced our Government understands how much of an issue planning is. For example, I have seen the issues of transport in and around Aberdeen.”
Mr Templeman said that, in the board room, business leaders understood that a strategy was the beginning of the process. But, he felt government sometimes saw the development of a strategy as the goal – rather than the actual delivery of the result.
Turning to the economy, Mr Templeman said:
“I get a strong impression of us being caught in a pause in the economy. Companies that were talking about a slow growth are now in static position, with a lot ‘on hold’. There is a general feeling that it is too early yet to push forward, but the energy sector seems to be more buoyant than most.
“The concerns seem to be international confidence and also the sheer impact of the anticipated public sector cuts. But, it’s important not to be too pessimistic. I don’t see evidence of a ‘double-dip’ recession.”
During his visit Mr Templeman spent an afternoon in a briefing session with Mike Tholen of Oil and Gas UK, Tom Smith of Nessco, Neil Poxon of ITF, Allan MacAskill of SeaEnergy Renewables, Iain Todd of AREG, Ian Sharp of Fairfield Energy, Robin Davies of Subsea 7, Paul de Leeuw of Centrica and Mike Bowyer of Senergy.
In the evening, Mr Templeman, energy industry figures, development representatives and members of the IoD Aberdeen committee were guests of Aberdeen Harbour Board for a working dinner at the harbour’s Marine Operations Centre.
Commenting on the significance of the visit, Cameron Ramsay, newly-appointed Chairman of IoD Aberdeen, said:
“The oil and gas industry, predominantly based in Aberdeen is the UK’s largest industrial investor sustaining half a million quality jobs across the country. Yet, it sometimes seems that it is a forgotten industry at the centre of power.
“The IoD has a strong track record for lobbying government and raising issues of national importance. We hope that, having heard from people at the sharp end of the oil and gas and renewables industries in Aberdeen, Miles Templeman will take a strong message back about the needs of the offshore energy industries in Aberdeen when he returns to London.”