Confidence levels rise among North Sea contractors

More than half of North Sea contractors believe the current downward cycle in the sector has bottomed out amid signs of increasing confidence.

The latest Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce survey shows a sharp rise in North Sea confidence levels. Picture: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Findings released today from the 26th Oil & Gas survey, conducted by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) with the Fraser of Allander Institute, show that 38 per cent of contractors surveyed are more confident about business on the UKCS compared to just 10 per cent who are less confident.

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The figures represent a notable improvement from historic lows six months ago when only 12 per cent of contractors were more confident and 47 per cent were less confident.

However, 52 per cent of respondents report no change in their outlook, indicating that significant challenges still remain in the marketplace. James Bream, research and policy director at AGCC, said although the outlook is more positive than it was six months ago “it is clear that most companies are still suffering”.

Meanwhile, opportunities for oil and gas supply chain companies to diversify into the rapidly developing wave and tidal power market will be highlighted at an event in Aberdeen tomorrow.

Economic development body Opportunity North East (ONE) and the Ocean Power Innovation Network (OPIN), supported by Scottish Enterprise, have joined forces to stage the workshop.

The marine renewables sector is already generating significant commercial opportunities with an estimated £450 million spent across the UK wave and tidal supply chain to date. The global industry is forecast to be worth up to £76 billion by 2050.

Trevor Garlick, chair of ONE’s oil and gas sector board, said: “The supply chain has developed over 40 years in the North Sea and has the knowledge, experience and products that can support the development of the wave and tidal power sector.

“There is an exciting opportunity here, especially for our SMEs, to engage with this emerging sector and to win new work through developing relationships at an early stage.”

Scotland is already playing a key role in marine renewables with initiatives including the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney where devices are tested, and the world’s first large-scale tidal stream array, MeyGen, in the Pentland Firth, which began generating electricity last year.