NORTH-EAST firms could play a key role in the shale gas market after bosses sealed a US agreement.

NOF Energy, the business development organisation for oil, gas, nuclear and offshore renewables, has added Greater Oklahoma City Chamber to its global partner network.

The move comes after NOF led a US fact-finding mission to meet Government departments, shale gas operators and supply chain companies in Oklahoma and Louisiana.

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NOF supports firms' access into overseas markets and international trade.

George Rafferty, NOF Energy chief executive, said: “This partnership is a further example of our approach to developing international business relationships.

“With the UK Government indicating support for the development of a shale gas industry, it's important we furnish those in the supply chain with the understanding needed to meet operators' requirements.

“There are a lot of companies operating in the energy sector that have the skills, products and services that are transferable into the shale gas market.

“We are convinced members will benefit from the relationship with Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and take advantage of work generated by onshore gas extraction.

Roy H Williams, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber president and chief executive, added: “This partnership will help forge a close connection between the supply chain in the UK and those involved in the energy industry, and in particular the shale gas industry, within our state.”