BP Struggle to Fill Roles

Oil and gas company BP are struggling to find skilled engineers to expand their North Sea operations, reports the BBC.

The growth of the North Sea oil and gas fields, expected to create hundreds of jobs, seems to have stagnated as Trevor Garlick, head of BP’s North Sea operations, said the company cannot find the correct people to fill the roles. He adds that “getting hold of the right people is a real issue for us.”

BP views the North Sea as a ‘training ground’ where the most capable employees are developed before being moved overseas. Mr Garlick says that whilst “we are hiring a lot of people, but we are also an exporter of a couple of hundred people to other regions.” It is believed that the oil and gas industry is expected to create over 15,000 jobs in the next five years, though companies complain of the same problem as BP – being able to find qualified staff to fill positions.

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QinetiQ Sells Fuel Business to Intertek

The QinetiQ Group, based in Farnborough, is selling off its fuel and lubricants business for £500,000, reports insidermedia.com.

The Intertek Group is to take over the UK Fuel and Lubricants Testing Business (OALTB), which QinetiQ has sold in order to concentrate on their core services, including aerospace and security. Intertek is going to bring the fuel business into the pharmaceutical and chemical division of their operations.

This is the third recent acquisition by Intertek, who have also purchased Stoke based Food Analytical Laboratories Limited (FAL) and Rechere Developpement and Consulting (RDC), based in Brussels. Wolfhart Hauser, CEO of Intertek, has said the purchases “demonstrate Intertek’s progress in its strategy to add new expertise and capabilities across the supply chain.” He later commented that the firm is looking forward “to welcoming these companies and their management teams to Intertek.”

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Shell Profits Allow For New Projects

The BBC has reported that oil and gas giant Shell recorded a 77% rise in profits in the second quarter of 2011.

The $8 billion profit is roughly double that of the same period in 2010, with the company attributing this to sales of assets in the first half of the year, amounting to $4 billion.

The sales were said to be a “key driver” in the reduction of costs and improvement of operating performance throughout the business. Shell has disclosed that production is down in the second quarter, though it also said that three large scale projects are beginning, increasing European imports and hopefully creating jobs. Chief Executive Peter Voser says that the “new projects should drive [Shell’s] financial performance in the coming quarters.”

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Benfits Merger Worry For Pharma Companies

Two pharmacy benefits companies are set to merge in a multi-billion dollar deal, reports fiercepharma.com.

Pharmaceutical companies are beginning to worry that due to the proposed $29 billion deal that will see Express Scripts buy Medco Health Solutions, drug prices could decrease, affecting the pharamceutical compnies profits. Most who have commented on the deal, including Eli Lilly’s CFO Dernica Rice, have played down the impact the buy-out will have, with Rice saying Lilly could maintain its negotiation power through their products advantage over the generic drugs on the market.

However, Michael Luby, of BioPharma Alliance, believes the merger will mean the combined company would have “extraordinary purchasing power… [and] leverage [over] pharmaceutical companies.” Price cuts in Europe; particularly Germany and Spain, have been causing pharmaceutical companies problems, and having staved off effort from the US government over pricing, the big companies are now going to have to attempt to stop the private sector submitting the pharmaceutical sector to the same pricing measures.

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Sanofi and Dendreon Battle for UK Market

Sanofi, a leading pharmaceutical company, has launched new cancer drug Jevtana in the UK, reports inpharm.com.

EMA approval was granted after extensive phase III trials which indicated the drug extended the life of men suffering from a type of prostate cancer considerably. It also slowed the time it took the cancer to progress compared to standard chemotherapy drugs.

However, Sanofi will face competition from US firm Dendreon, as they seek to launch their drug Provenge into the European market. Ultimately, Provenge extends the patient’s life further and reduces the risk of death by nearly 25%, though it would cost £25,000 more to treat a single patient than Jevtana, so would struggle to be able to convince NICE that it is worth the extra cost.

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