News story

Trade Minister urges oil and gas firms to export

Trade and Investment Minister, Lord Livingston, saw how the North East is leading the way in the oil and gas industry on a visit to Tyneside.

Neil Kirkbride-Lord Livingston at BEL Valves

Lord Livingston was in Tyneside yesterday (2 October) to visit Newcastle based company BEL Valves which is part of the British Engines Group. He saw progress of the company’s £15 million investment programme to expand production to meet export demands. The investment will create new jobs and business growth in the area.

BEL Valves’ growth

The company celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The last 3 years have seen turnover almost double and staff increase from 393 to 551.

The company’s growth is predicted to continue, which is why the company launched the investment plan at the end of 2013 to develop its Newcastle site over the next four years. It aims to increase production, test facility capacity and cater for its increased staff.

Lord Livingston’s visit

During his visit Lord Livingston was told of the company’s success so far and its investment plans to support its forecasted export growth. He then toured the site, where he met operators and apprentices involved in manufacturing at the company.

He also saw the assembly and test site, where the company rigorously tests its products to meet the demands of its customers and the hazardous environments they are installed in.

Lord Livingston said:

BEL Valves is a great example of a dynamic company which is growing its business through exporting.

Increasing the number of UK businesses that sell overseas is integral to the Government’s long term economic plan to build a stronger, more competitive economy.

Last year companies from the North East contributed to the region’s economic success with almost £12 billion in exports. Companies in the North East wanting to export should contact UK Trade & Investment who can give them the support they need to get started.

Neil Kirkbride, CEO at BEL Valves Ltd, said:

Recent figures from HMRC reveal the North East as the fastest growing region in England for export. This, alongside the fact the region has amongst the strongest manufacturing output and order books in the UK, shows that we really know how to make things happen in the North East.

Fundamentally we are specialist engineers and we aim to retain the most talented professionals right here in the North East. I am delighted that these figures show that we are achieving this together as a region – we certainly are at BEL Valves. It is this technical expertise and creativity that enables us to continue designing and manufacturing new products to meet the needs of our clients.

We were delighted to welcome Lord Livingston and look forward to working with UKTI more in the future.

Join Export Week

UKTI will be teaming up with partners and business organisations next month to host the latest Export Week (10-14 November) initiative. It aims to encourage companies to take up the Exporting for Growth challenge.

Previous Export Weeks have seen more than 17,000 companies across the UK attend events.

Find more information about Export Week and how to book your place at events.


UKTI’s ’ExploreExport’ will be in the North East on Tuesday 11 November as part of a tour of the country. ExploreExport will bring more than 120 experts from across the world to share their expertise.

Contact UKTI

Arrange a face to face meeting with a UKTI international trade adviser. Contact your local International Trade Team.

Published 3 October 2014