Scots firms told of £100bn oil and gas opportunity

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Scottish firms have a £100 billion opportunity to benefit from the next six years of investment in oil and gas, according to the man in charge of the sector’s international strategy.

David Rennie, from Government business development agency Scottish Enterprise, said the 12-figure step-up in spending anticipated over the remainder of this decade would create countless opportunities to diversify into the supply-chain.

But he warned that aspiring companies must fully understand the safety-led, quality-focused and on-time culture of the industry before they can make inroads and secure orders.

He will lead a seminar focused on access to the oil and gas industry in Dundee this week, one of two taking place outside the sector’s north-east stronghold as Scottish Enterprise seeks to encourage more expertise into the sector.

Mr Rennie cited a study by industry body Oil & Gas UK which identified a likely spend in excess of £100bn in the UK by 2020.

A more conservative assessment of published potential projects put the figure at around £88bn.

“I don’t think enough people understand that there are lots of companies across Scotland who are winning and doing business in oil and gas.

“But these are companies that are doing other things and who want to do more, or get into oil and gas,” he said.

“It is focused on Aberdeen but if you look down the east coast, and even into Glasgow and Ayrshire, more and more companies are winning and doing business in oil and gas.”

The Scottish Enterprise seminar, at the city’s Apex Hotel on Thursday, will feature Dundee’s Galloway Group and Kirriemuir firm J&D Wilkie, both of whom have made moves into oil and gas in recent years.

It is one of a string of steps being taken by the body, including dedicated company support and meet-the-buyer events.

Mr Rennie said he hoped to help other firms “get to know” what was required by the industry, as he seeks to broaden and deepen the supply chain.

“Increasingly, the money spent in oil and gas is not spent by the big names like BP — it’s spent at the next level down,” he said. “These are the companies who will do most of the contracting and sub-contracting.

“We’ve got to break it down a bit, but it’s almost a given that there must be opportunities for companies to win business, if you can prove your quality systems, your health and safety, and your approach to meeting deadlines.”

He added: “It’s challenging and there are standards that have to be met — but if you can get over how oil and gas works, and you buy into the approach on safety, quality and timescales, then actually the size of the prize could be huge.

“But companies have to go in with their eyes wide open.

“You have to be aware of that culture and how it all works. If you don’t buy into that, then it’s going to be very difficult to get business out of the oil and gas sector.”