The Sea of Lost Opportunity Ebook

North Sea Oil and Gas, British Industry and the Offshore Supplies Office

Publication: Elsevier
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This book reviews the condition of the British economy and the status of offshore technology immediately prior to the arrival of the oil and gas industry in the North Sea. It examines the immediate and long-term reactions to this large new industry of both the private sector and of government, including the formation, functions and operations of the Offshore Supplies Office (OSO). The “The Full and Fair Opportunity” policy for British firms and the role of’ “UK content” and the sponsorship of R&D through license awards are considered. Relations with the USA, Norway and other European countries, as well as the European Commission are covered.

Notwithstanding the nearly 30 years of government support through the OSO, the UK has not reaped the full benefit of the North Sea discoveries;  this book attempts to explain why. Norman Smith is exceptionally well-qualified to write on this subject. His career in the offshore service and supply industry began in the early years of North Sea oil and gas and extended over the next 40 years. He moved progressively from the engineering sector via corporate finance to Director General of the British Department of Energy’s Offshore Supplies Office (OSO). After completing his OSO assignment, he became chairman of British Underwater Engineering Limited, one of 8 service and supply companies of which he was a director. Three of these were in the subsea area and in all three cases Norman served as company chairman. The other directorships involved companies with interests in petroleum and reservoir engineering, fabrication, topside design, well services and pipelines. During the final stage of his career Norman acted as a consultant to governments, exploration and production companies and financial institutions as well as service and supply firms.

  • Covers the entire period from the first well offshore Britain until the dismantling of the specific British industrial policy measures for offshore supplies
  • Based in large measure upon archives not previously accessed and the private testimony/papers of participants
  • ‘Drills down’ to the level of individual company decisions through case study and other material

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The Sea of Lost Opportunity