African oil boom can offer ‘opportunities’ for North Sea oil sector

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Scotland’s North Sea sector can take advantage of the “vast opportunities” offered by oil and gas exploration in Africa, one of Theresa May’s trade commissioners has said.

Scotland’s North Sea sector can take advantage of the “vast opportunities” offered by oil and gas exploration in Africa, one of Theresa May’s trade commissioners has said.

Africa is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Africa is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Emma Wade-Smith (inset), newly appointed HM Trade Commissioner for Africa, says exporting Scottish energy expertise will be key trade strategy in the post-Brexit era.

On a visit to Scotland to promote trade links, Wade-Smith said the industry developed in Aberdeen should capitalise on the burgeoning oil and gas development in Africa which is creating a market worth billions of pounds.

Wade-Smith’s trip to Scotland follows May’s recent trade mission to South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria to promote global trade after Brexit.

Speaking to Scotland on Sunday, Wade-Smith said Africa was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, creating opportunities for Scottish business.

She said Scottish expertise should be harnessed to help countries like Senegal and Mauritania, who are starting out on oil and gas oil production.

It could also be used in countries like Angola and Nigeria where oil exploration is well-established.

“There is a huge amount of expertise and experience clearly in the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen,” she said. “So it is how do we take that to support countries across Africa in their own efforts to build an oil and gas capability? Also how do we use that experience and technological innovation to help African countries avoid some of the potential pitfalls of creating that domestic capability?”

She added: “There are vast opportunities for Scottish companies across the entire industry and supply chain to grow their businesses.”

Scottish expertise includes drillers, fitters and those involved with training. It also includes a host of supply chain enterprises which provide items such as equipment and clothing for an industry that has been hit by the falling oil price in recent years.”

Oil & Gas UK upstream policy director Mike Tholen said: “Embracing the opportunities available in the international export market could unlock an additional £150 million in the revenue of supply chain companies. It shows why industry, government and the regulator must put their shoulder to the wheel in pursuit of Vision 2035.”