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UKOOA Communications & Reputation

UKOOA’s Reputation Steering Group continued to meet throughout 1999.

In 1998 the Group had set itself five key objectives. The first two of which were:

* To have reputation management be a self sustaining process within UKOOA members and our Industry in the next two years
* To work with Task Groups and relevant Committees to have them responsible for the management of our Industry’s reputation.

Reputation is central to the work of UKOOA and it has always been our desire to make it a key focus of discussion in the Executive and Council rather than be dealt with discretely. Both the restructuring of the Executive and the success of working directly with the Task Groups have convinced us that the time is right to take the step of winding up of the Reputation Steering Group. In future communications and reputation issues will be managed from within the new Executive Committee and the individual Committees, Task and Work Groups.

Day to day communications and issues management will be handled by the UKOOA Secretariat as in the past year.

UKOOA’s Communications Strategy continued to develop with all key audiences throughout the year.

In the Public Affairs arena, briefings were sent out to parliamentarians on a regular basis as well as specific briefs on individual issues such as the Drill Cuttings Initiative, UKOOA’s Environment Report, the Gas Moratorium, and Capital Gains Tax Rollover Relief.

Scottish teachers of technological studies at an in-service workshop, using "Control Technology in the Oil and Gas Industry" microcontroller package developed by UKOOA and Higher Still.

At Westminster in March an All Party Group for the British Offshore Oil and Gas Industry was established under the Chairmanship of Bob Blizzard MP. The Group has over seventy members and held two meetings in 1999. Briefings for the All Party Group, other MPs, members of the Scottish Parliament, and MEPs took place on a regular basis throughout the year.

For the first time UKOOA had a presence at all three Party Political Conferences, which included a stand at the Labour Party Conference. We also sponsored the RNID Noise at Work Campaign fringe meetings at all three conferences.

Work to develop UKOOA’s Media Relations Strategy also continued throughout the year. Press releases were issued at a rate of more than one a week whilst background briefings were prepared for issues surrounding the Atlantic Margin, the Industry’s Y2K preparations and liaison with the Fishing Industry. Five informal briefings were given to the Trade Press in both London and Aberdeen, whilst major press conferences were held to launch the Drill Cuttings Initiative and the signing of the UKOOA/IUOOC Consultation Agreement.

Our Education Communications Strategy built on the work in 1998 and had two particular projects that stood out. We have provided funding for a pilot project of in-service training for science teachers required to teach the earth science elements of the national curriculum through the Earth Science Teachers Association. In Scotland we worked with educationalists at grass-roots level during the revision of the Higher Still syllabus. In doing so we have introduced Oil and Gas Industry technology into the Scottish curriculum for the first time. The Higher Still “Controller Technology and the Oil and Gas Industry” kit will be used by all teachers and students involved in technological studies in secondary schools and colleges in Scotland.

Public Relations activities included exhibiting at the BBC Tomorrow’s World Live Show and the Festival of the Sea at Maritime Ipswich.

We sponsored the RNID Noise Induced Hearing Loss Campaign. This was launched at the House of Commons with a reception attended by the Rt Hon Michael Meacher MP, officials from the DETR and HSE, over two hundred MPs, journalists, Bob Connon as President of UKOOA, and UKOOA staff.

In April we launched UKOOA’s new public website onto the internet at www.oilandgas.org.uk. The site was aimed at the public rather than an internal audience and will continue to develop in the coming years. Shortly afterwards we launched an intranet site for UKOOA members to aid communication between Committees and other UKOOA members. Students with 'Oily the Robot' on the UKOOA stand at Tomorrow's World Live.

Issues management remains at the centre of everything that UKOOA’s communication team work on. During 1999 the economic and fiscal environment became even more important than in the past as can be seen elsewhere in this Annual Report.

UKOOA communications has now consciously refocused on the key target audiences that can impact upon the industry’s well being, as is appropriate during such challenging times for the Industry.

At the end of the year the Reputation Steering Group completed a piece of research that had been designed to take a snapshot of opinion formers’ views of the Industry. It also measured the progress that has been made over the past two to three years and sought to gain some guidance as to how the Industry might continue to improve its communications over the next few years.

Whilst the research revealed that there was much work still to be done, there was wide recognition within the Industry’s key publics of the attempts that it has made to improve its communications and the success that it has had in doing so. There was particular recognition that the Industry was trying to be much more open than in the past in terms of its relationships with its key audiences, publication of information and engagement with society, through initiatives such as the RNID sponsorship.

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