Factors influencing the export performance of the Scottish manufacturing sector of the offshore supplies industry
Gregory, Paul D.
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The development of the oil and gas resources discovered on the U.K. Continental Shelf has had a significant impact on employment in Scotland. It is estimated that in Scotland 60,000 - 70,000 people are currently in oil-related employment. Approximately 20,000 of these are employed in (over 300) units manufacturing offshore-related equipment. However, it is argued in this thesis that domestic demand for many items of offshore-related equipment will fall from around 1982 onwards as the number and size of new field developments being undertaken declines. It is further argued that if offshore-related employment is to be maintained in Scotland it is to be hoped that manufacturers of offshore-related equipment can identify and exploit opportunities in offshore markets overseas by means of exporting. It has frequently been suggested that involvement in the development of North Sea oil fields has given indigenous firms a comparative advantage over their international competitors. However, very little is known about the nature and scale of offshore-related exporting activity being undertaken and virtually nothing about the factors which influence the aims and attainment of these firms with respect to exporting. Thus, this thesis represents the first major study of the practice of exporting in the Scottish manufacturing sector of the offshore supplies industry. The main objective of the thesis was to undertake a detailed examination of the major factors influencing the export performance of this sector of Scottish industry. This was achieved by means of a series of in-depth, qualitative interviews with the senior executives responsible for exporting strategy in a number of offshore-related manufacturers. In addition, further research was undertaken to investigate possible future trends in the exporting activity of the surveyed firms. In order to do this it was first necessary to develop, with the aid of a survey of expert opinion, a hypothetical scenario of the global offshore market in the period to 1985. The third and final phase of the fieldwork then consisted of returning to the original sample of offshore-related manufacturers to discuss their expected strategy (particularly with respect to exporting) in the period to 1985, given the market situation presented in the scenario. Thus, this thesis provides not only the first in-depth study of the major factors influencing the offshore-related export performance of Scottish manufacturers, but also investigates the implications of these findings for the future of the Scottish manufacturing sector of the offshore supplies industry in the period to 1985.