A report indicates that over 500 oil and gas sector jobs may be created in the coming decade, providing an economic boost of up to £850 million. The report conducted by Optimat consultancy has evaluated the impact of the Oil and Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) as the industry looks to fight back from recent downturns.
The North Sea oil and gas industry has shed around 70,000 jobs since the 2014 downturn, and as companies look to adapt to the changing nature of the industry, organisations such as the OGIC are developing frameworks to improve their operations in challenging conditions.
The Scottish Government-backed initiative supports and funds early-stage technology innovation in the oil and gas industry.
Revolutionising North Sea Oil and Gas
OGIC commissioned Optimat, one of Scotland’s leading economic research consultancies, to carry out an independent economic impact assessment of its activities since 2014. As part of the research the consultancy firm examined the impact of 61 OGIC-funded projects, interviewing over 50 companies in the process, to determine both forecast and actual turnover.
It revealed that the OGIC is on track to deliver key objectives, drawing on the innovation found across the industry and in Scottish universities. Projects funded by OGIC are expected to create or sustain up to 500 technology-based jobs over the coming decade.
Projects supported by the OGIC could help in delivering significant cost savings for the industry by ensuring that critical technologies are brought to the market quicker. Ian Phillips, OGIC Chief Executive Officer, said that it is extremely encouraging to know that OGIC’s efforts are benefiting both the industry itself, and the economy as a whole.
Phillips said: “It’s extremely encouraging to know that the work we are doing to help innovation from the initial concept stage is not only benefiting the industry but also the wider economy.”
“Our support typically gets a project from inception to early prototype stage, ready for support from others such as the OGTC and Scottish Enterprise to help the company through to commercialisation.”
Supporting Future Growth
The OGIC intends to support 45 new projects by the end of 2018 to help maximise economic recovery both in the UK and overseas.
Many companies interviewed as part of the research reported that they found difficulties in securing support for the early stages of their project development. Through support by the OGIC and collaboration with Scottish universities, innovative companies are able to provide much needed expertise as the industry looks to digitise and further develop their operations.
Phillips says that although many pioneering young companies have the skills and vision to make their mark in the industry, the funding just isn’t there to propel them to the next level; that is where the OGIC plays a critical role.
He said: “There are many companies out there who have the skills and knowledge to pioneer the next big thing in oil and gas, but don’t have the funds to get it off the ground.
“That’s where we can help. At OGIC, we are committed to bringing the rich and deep research and development expertise in the Scottish university system to address the oil and gas industry’s innovation challenges, fast-tracking the introduction of new technology.”