NOF Chief Executive George Rafferty has praised the resilience of the energy sector supply chain during the COVID-19 outbreak and believes a repatriation of engineering skills and expertise after the crisis will help to insulate parts of the economy in the event of any future global pandemics.

George said: “NOF members and the energy sector supply chain is very resilient. We have had to deal with many dips in cyclical industries, particularly in oil and gas. Each time the supply chain has come through it and they will during this particular difficultly, perhaps even stronger.

“Engineering firms are pivotal to keeping the country and the economy ticking over as best we can. This includes providing essential services to ensure there is no interruption in the supply of fuel and power.

“As always it is in times like this that the innovation and collaboration of the supply chain shines through. It is inevitable that capacity levels will be affected by employees self-isolating, or sadly contracting the virus. As a result we are seeing members engaging with each other to support each other and combine their capacity to deliver projects.

“What this crisis has also shown is the need to increase the repatriation of capabilities to this country. Putting resilience above speed and cost and reducing the reliance on markets such as China will help companies in both the service and manufacturing areas of the supply chain.

“There is a strong case for encouraging the government to support the repatriation of those skills and expertise and make the supply chain, and the whole economy, much more resilient and prosperous.”