Scottish oil firms see 30 % rise in overseas business

Nov 20, 2003 01:00 AM

Direct exports by Scottish oil and gas firms rose almost 30 % last year to a record £ 1.35 bn, with a matching £ 1.35 bn in business being generated by overseas subsidiaries. The increase in international sales was revealed in the annual survey of oil and gas exports, published by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry. The biggest success in exports was made by Scotland-based firms providing general services to the global oil and gas industry, accounting for 76 % of total sales.
The North American market accounted for 25 % of total exports, with the vast majority of business in the US being driven through the subsidiary operations of Scotland-based companies.

Ian Armstrong, the SCDI's north-east manager, said the statistics showed that oil and gas continued to be a crucial component of the Scottish economy, with firms in the sector playing a major role in the export performance. The total international sales, he said, represented an increase of almost 44 % compared with the exports in 2000 and reflected an accelerating trend for Scottish firms to set up sites in key overseas markets, particularly the US.
He said: "The international activity of companies was widespread with sales recorded in 66 different companies worldwide. The European market accounted for 13 % of international sales, with Norway being the most significant market, followed by The Netherlands and Denmark."

The report also revealed a significant increase in sales to Latin America, where exports rose from £ 15 mm in 2001 to £ 180 mm last year and in Eastern Europe where sales almost doubled from £ 82 mm to £ 157 mm. Armstrong said that domestic sales by the oil and gas sector in Scotland also showed a healthy growth, with total sales estimated at £ 7.7 bn, compared with £ 7.15 bn in 2001.
He said: "International sales since 1997 have risen by 152 %, while domestic growth has risen by 66 %. The results clearly show that the growth in international sales has not been at the expense of domestic activity which, despite some well documented problems, continues to grow. The research also suggests that the service and supplies companies generated £ 5.97 bn in UK domestic revenues in 2002, compared with £ 5.6 bn in 2001. In total, the survey indicates that £ 8.68 bn in revenues was generated by the Scottish-based oil and gas supply chain in 2002, compared with £ 7.8 bn in 2001, of which international sales accounted for 31.3 %."

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