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Everything posted by Ignorantbliss

  1. Anecdotally, based on a number of 4+ bed properties I've wishlisted on ASPC, properties are selling quite quickly in west Aberdeenshire. Will be interesting to see if this trend continues. On separate note, maybe someone out there knows the answer to this. Had discussion with a neighbour who is in the building trade and he mentioned that Kirkwood Homes and Stewart Milne were linked and the co-operation between the two being one of the main barriers on competition in housing in the area. Seemed very sure of this but I'm not convinced when you look at the entries for the companies at Companies house.
  2. You do wonder. All the guy got told is that as the external appearance of the front of the house was the same as the plan, and mainly only the internal structure that was messed up, it was not a concern especially as the house had been completed about 6yrs prior to him buying it last year. Caveat Emptor definitely the watchword with these new build houses.
  3. Stewart Milne (SM) does seem to have an inordinate amount of influence in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire area. Pity his companies house quality is poor - visited work colleague at weekend who lives in a SM built bungalow. Looking round asked my colleague why did they build the utility room at the other end of the house to the garage (makes more sense to have the back door of the utility room opening out to the garage in my view). Reply say a lot about all concerned - "funny you mention that, when we bought the house our solicitor noticed that the house was built the wrong way round compared to the plans submitted to and approved by the council. Council not worried about this oversight". So, where the utility room now is should have been the lounge and vice versa - where is the quality control!
  4. Does anyone have a idea of how recruitment is going in O&G these days? Thinking of moving up to a larger house but unclear if prices are going to keep dropping. I thought things were improving but friend of ours just got a redundancy notice from GE and Total are apparently laying off 250 - https://stv.tv/news/north/1410643-oil-giant-to-cut-250-scottish-jobs-after-5-3bn-buyout/. Both related to mergers I would think so what is the trend outside those companies affected by merger activity?
  5. Where are they getting the buyers? https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/plans-for-700-new-homes-in-north-east-recommended-for-approval/ "Plans for more than 700 homes, community facilities and industrial development in the North-east have been recommended for approval. Councillors will discuss plans for a major development on the outskirts of Inverurie. Crichie Developments is looking to build 737 homes, a primary school and retail development at Crichie, which is just outside the town. Council planners have asked members of the Garioch area committee to approve the proposal in principle under a delegated grant." Was visiting Alford Academy this week (excellent new campus they have up there) and was amazed at the number of new houses getting thrown up across from the campus. All this new housing on the market and still prices remain high, amazing really.
  6. Not sure what is happening with the day rates to be honest. You are right though about supply and demand - there is a real glut of unemployed experienced O&G engineers out there worldwide and companies are taking advantage of this when positions do arise. The race to the bottom in salary will continue for a while, as I cannot see demand exceeding supply (the number of petroleum engineer graduates is dropping in the western world but that drop in numbers is more than matched by the increasing number of graduates elsewhere, especially from China). To me it looks like many parts of O&G are becoming part of the gig economy which obviously has negative implications for the housing market.
  7. Activity is rising going by what I am hearing from contacts in O&G (definitely more tenders). Conversely though, there is no boom coming - heard of at least one person that was laid off in 2015 and got re-hired at end of 2017. Effectively same job as before, but this time the salary half of what it was plus big cut in benefits (pension especially).
  8. A false dawn tallies with what I have been hearing recently from my contacts in some of the major service companies - "restructuring cost efficiency" is back on the planning agenda for next year, especially now that the shale oil boom in the USA looks like stalling in the near future (the revenue from that has been a lifeline for all of them in the last 18 months allowing them to retain service capabilities in currently unprofitable areas like the UK in the hope of better times). It's telling how many of them have reorganized internally in the last couple of years such that the UK is now only generally considered a subsidiary unit within a larger region. It remains to be seen if tinkering the tax system will improve the prospects for the UK sector - exploration is the only long-term hope for the UK basin and whatever is done, the UK sector will need to improve it's EROI ratio (EROI – Energy Returned On Investment) compared to onshore locations in the likes of NA if it's going to be attractive to the financiers that ultimately run the oil show. I also suspect that the massive decommissioning bill that is looming for the UK exchequer is focusing minds on changing the environmental rules post Brexit from a EU green perspective to a UK stance that is more "cost-effective" - cue the establishment of a series of new artificial reefs in the UK sector and less decom money running through the Aberdeen and environ housing market. For sure though, the world is not going to be needing less O&G in the near future - wind farms are going to be supplementary to the energy market if this analysis is anything to go by worlds-first-offshore-wind-farm-retires-a-post-mortem. The oil and gas is out there, but have we local and national politicians that can create a business environment that will allow it to thrive
  9. I don't think any further comment is needed as the picture says it all - astonishing - 300 Flats planned for Rubislaw Quarry. Bit more detail in the Evening Express
  10. One of our Neighbour's just got laid off by GE so the oil patch is still not stable - still astonished at how resilient prices are in the outer areas of Aberdeenshire considering the area's faltering economics.
  11. Hmm, tad overpriced for what amounts to a wooden barn at the end of the day - The Byre Ballogie. How do these wooden houses fair in the longterm? Always thought they would be a nightmare to maintain thanks to the lovely moist Scottish climate - Larch is supposed to be less resistant to rot than other wood but even so...
  12. How do surveyors get their valuations? - in the current market a tad optimistic asking for over £425k+ - 45 Forest Road Kintore considering what you can get for that money elsewhere in the area.
  13. Apparently Aberdeen council need experts now to tell them how healthy the Aberdeen economy is instead of listening to local business - "Prominent experts appointed to advise on Aberdeen economy". The background of the appointed experts is an eye-opener - I wonder if they have ever set foot here in any meaningful way in their lifetime! Guardian article discussing this a bit more.... "Aberdeen joins councils raising money by selling bonds as cuts bite".
  14. Pretty detailed article on the Aberdeen economy - "Aberdeen, the city that looks like it's in the middle of a boom rather than an oil and gas slump"
  15. Another hotel and another 50 flats to add to the glut - Bon Accord Centre redevelopment in Aberdeen approved
  16. Dandara fined £9,000 for misleading customers for providing misleading information relating to the sale of homes at its Stoneywood Estate in Aberdeen - link here
  17. Don't often drive that way, but yesterday passed through Westhill. Was surprised to see a big new hotel being built on Straik Road (next to the Westhill Service Station) - I thought the Hilton out there was closing/for sale due to lack of hotel demand?. Anyway, my god, what a monstrosity of a building - looks like its made of prefabricated containers all stuck on top of each other. And who in the council allowed them to use bright orange cladding for the outside of the building?! I sincerely hope for the sake of the owners of the houses across the road that this is not the final colour scheme - not conducive for house prices for sure.
  18. Neighbor told us yesterday that Baker Hughes have been sending out "at risk" letters this week so that's another place letting people go.
  19. The location of the companies main HQ will also play a part. Companies with a USA HQ (e.g. Halliburton, Schlumberger etc) generally get headcount reductions mandated down to them by HR in the USA with little or no input allowed from UK management/HR, irrespective of the impact on operations ("if there is an issue, we can handle any extra workload from the USA or UAE"). In my friends case, the UK operations were seen to be an easy hit for a number of reasons, including higher average base salary and a perceived better reception from the media and politicians back in the home country "USA first". On plus side, the UK employees got a much more generous redundancy package that their US equivalents - but most of that extra money was thanks to European Employment Law. Bizarrely, the company did not mind the big layoff payoffs as they got a large tax benefit in the USA - bit like that story of Trump's losses being used to offset future profits. Another factor that makes them layoff people without a whim is that one of the key metrics senior management performance in the USA is measured on is "revenue per head" - and they are measured on that on a monthly basis. So, in times of falling revenue, the only way those managers can keep their jobs is to get rid of people as fast as possible - irrespective of the problems it causes in the future with loss of experience etc. Nothing like a redundancy consultation process to make you aware of how cynical the whole oil industry is - just remember there is no such thing as company loyalty in these big multinationals!
  20. Should clarify that it's supposedly a small consultancy office in Bridge of Don that is closing (not a base....doh) and not the manufacturing base on Woodside Road.
  21. Baker Hughes are actually closing another three facilities in Aberdeen (they closed the Westhill office last year) - Balgownie, one of the Bridge of Don bases and the big base at Stoneywood (next to BP). The closure of the Stoneywood facility is due by the end of December and the staff based there are supposedly going to be redeployed at the remaining facilities in the likes of Portlethen and Kirkhill - though as there are few spaces in there for additional personnel the omens are not good for the Stoneywood people. They have already started demolishing part of the Stoneywood facility (old portacabins nearest BP car park) and the for sale sign I hear is already up. The closure of Stoneywood strongly indicates that they consider Aberdeen is finished as a major business base - they purpose built Stoneywood around 2002 to act as the main showcase operational HQ for the UK and they got the adjoining portacabin site from DrilQuip to allow the construction of an extension to allow the closure of Balgownie & Westhill. I hear nowadays that Baker has stopped considering the UK as a separate marketing/operations region and they have lumped the UK sector in with Norway with all the key management and decisions now being based/made in Stavanger - expect to see more of the Aberdeen bases work transferred to Norway in the months/years ahead unless there is a sudden change in UK D&E activity. So more empty offices coming onto the market - or will they demolish the lot and build more rabbit hutches like those on the old BP site?
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