Business and financial adviser Grant Thornton said the prolonged low oil price had driven “significant change” within Scotland’s energy sector, with businesses forced to slash costs, increase efficiency and evaluate how they interact with each other.
Industry body Oil & Gas UK estimates that more than 120,000 people have lost their jobs in the industry in the last three years, primarily in the North-east of Scotland, with many oilfield services businesses bearing the brunt of delayed or cancelled projects, growing margin pressures and a lack of visibility over future orders.
However, a more positive outlook for oil prices and a number of large deals in the sector appear to be restoring some momentum, the report noted.
Barry Fraser, Grant Thornton’s managing director in Aberdeen, said: “There are undoubtedly many challenges that still lie ahead for the oil and gas sector in Aberdeen, but we’re seeing some glimmers of light after a prolonged period of uncertainty.
“Many north-east businesses are no longer focused on pure survival and are seeing an increase in tender activity and new opportunities, particularly overseas.”
Ian Knott, director at the Grant Thornton practice in Aberdeen, added: “It’s reassuring to see the sector and the wider region taking a more positive view of the future, but businesses will also need to keep a close eye on cash resources as they return to growth, as this is a period where we see many business failures due to companies overstretching themselves.”