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Internationalisation and Diversification: The Future for Oil and Gas Sector SMEs?
Date: 14 February 2000
Our ref: 536
The University of Aberdeen’s Department of Geography is undertaking a study looking at how small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) are responding to the challenges facing the North Sea oil and gas industry.
Funded by a £40,000 grant from the Economic and Social Research Council, Professor Keith Chapman and Dr. Andrew Cumbers will examine the extent of innovation among SMEs in Aberdeen which are involved in the oil industry. In particular, the study will investigate whether SMEs are translating knowledge and expertise gained from involvement in the North Sea oil industry into new business opportunities by diversifying into export markets and/or non-oil activities. It will also look at the main factors affecting such innovation and diversification and the prospects for the Aberdeen oil industry sector.
Professor Chapman said: “We believe that this study is particularly relevant and timely given the UK government concerns with competitiveness and Scottish Enterprise’s identification of oil and gas as one of the four sectors in which Scotland has an international competitive advantage.”
The study, entitled “Innovation, Localised Learning and Competitive Advantage: A Case Study of SME’s in the Aberdeen Complex,” has received the support of Aberdeenshire Council. Alan Campbell, Information and Research Manager said:
“It has been said regularly that the North East is at the crossroads. The maturity of the North Sea means that these words are even truer today. SMEs will make decisions in the next few years which will have significant impact on the nature of the regional economy. The output of the research could assist the public sector agencies in understanding this process.”
John Mitchell, Head of Scottish Enterprise’s Oil and Gas Cluster team, added: “The aims and objectives are both consistent with the overall strategic objectives of Scottish Enterprise and are of fundamental importance to the development of the Oil and Gas Cluster in Scotland.”
Explaining the basis of the project, Dr Cumbers said: “The project builds on an earlier pilot study and will rely primarily on data collected from an extensive survey of oil-related firms within the Aberdeen travel-to-work area. Although SMEs are the principal focus, we also intend to conduct interviews with key public agencies and industry bodies, both at an early stage in the study to assess expectations and inform the research, and towards the end of the study to discuss preliminary findings.”
Gordon McIntosh, Director of Economic Development at Aberdeen City Council said: “I am delighted that the University of Aberdeen has been so successful in getting funding for this research project, which we were so keen to see go ahead. It fits so well with the work we are doing to help innovation in the industry.”
He added: “We are blessed
with a few very successful local businesses, but we need many more to meet
the challenges of new technologies and markets. Providing an insight
into what stimulates innovation in these businesses will highlight the
issues that can make the difference.”
University Press Office on telephone +44 (0)1224-273778 or email email@example.com.