The oil and gas sector is full of opportunities

Statistics estimate that Scotland is the largest oil producer in the EU. Picture: AFP/Getty
Statistics estimate that Scotland is the largest oil producer in the EU. Picture: AFP/Getty
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THE value of Scotland’s oil and gas exports to UK and international markets, covering supply chain sales and oil and gas products, were estimated to be worth over £30 billion in 2012, according to the recently published Scottish Government Oil and Gas Analytical Bulletin.

These statistics, compiled for the first time, estimate that Scotland is the largest oil producer in the EU and its second largest gas producer. Supporting over 200,000 jobs, the industry is vital to the Scottish economy, particularly the domestic supply chain. This is Scotland’s most important industrial sector, involving around 2,000 companies who were responsible for generating domestic supply sales of £9bn in 2010/11.

With the Bulletin estimating that 24 billion barrels of oil equivalent, valued at £1.5 trillion, are still available in the North Sea, the sector looks set to be a success for decades. Confidence is high, and £44bn is due to be invested in 86 new fields, and the redevelopment of current fields, by 2016. Earlier this month, the development of the £4bn Kracken field was announced and this is expected to produce hydrocarbons well into the 2040s. The new contracts for these and other projects offer great opportunities to supply chain companies. And countries with fast-growing oil and gas sectors such as Africa, Australia and Brazil are looking to access the experience and expertise gained by Scottish companies in the North Sea.

There is great potential to grow the supply chain market further, particularly for companies not in the oil and gas industry. There are many businesses in sectors such as aerospace, defence and marine engineering, life and chemical sciences, construction, advanced computing and manufacturing with the potential to win significant oil and gas business.

Indeed, a number of such companies have already diversified successfully into the oil and gas supply chain and there are still plenty of opportunities for other Scottish companies to follow suit and take advantage of Scotland’s thriving and lucrative oil and gas market.

• David Rennie is international sector head, oil and gas, at Scottish Enterprise

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