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UK oil and gas firms are missing opportunities on collaboration

Published:  07 October, 2015

A lack of effective supply chain collaboration means companies are missing out on maximising the potential value from the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), according to Deloitte’s survey of oil and gas operators and oilfield services companies.

Seventy four percent of respondents said collaboration was an integral part of their day-to-day business but only 27% reported that the majority of their efforts resulted in a successful outcome. Cost reduction was found to be the main driver for collaboration today, with nearly a third (31%) of company respondents in agreement. 90% said that supply chain collaboration would also play a greater role in their company’s success.

Nick Clark, a director in Deloitte’s consulting team and contributor to the research, said: “While it’s encouraging that collaboration is seen by the industry as an important tool in helping companies succeed in maximising economic recovery of the UKCS in line with the Wood Report, there’s clearly work to be done, and fast given the current tough environment.

“The industry needs to address a number of practical, cultural and behavioural barriers that are standing in the way of realising this successful future. These include fundamentals such as a lack of effective financial incentives, a lack of clear communication and misalignment of expectations between operators and service companies in execution.”

The most critical finding highlighted the discrepancy between what drives successful collaboration, and the actions of leadership and business processes to underpin it. While there was clear recognition of the value of collaboration and what’s needed to make it happen, trust and mutual benefits for example, less than 10% said that leadership regularly emphasised its importance or included it in their business strategy.

Despite this 20% of respondents still said they actively sought out opportunities to collaborate, which shows that the potential is there if the right leadership and incentives are in place.

Deloitte suggests that while industry must take the lead to make collaboration effective in the UKCS, it should look to the regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), and Oil and Gas UK (OGUK), the industry trade body for support, pointing out that initiatives like OGUK’s Efficiency Task Force can be a real driver for positive change.

Oil & Gas UK’s business development director, Stephen Marcos Jones, commented: “In a world of a fallen oil price and high costs, industry is facing a difficult time. Whilst there are some signs of recovery - through an upturn in production and concerted focus on improving efficiency - there's also growing consensus that much more needs to be done. Deloitte’s report is a welcome contribution to this important debate, it is valuable to have a means to measure industry’s progress in terms of collaboration – which is no easy task.

“I believe industry is now starting to readjust its way of working together. It is vital we work together proactively - not just between operators, but crucially between operating companies and the wider supply chain - to deliver the transformational change we need to see.

“That is why Oil & Gas UK has put in place an Efficiency Task Force - championed by leaders from across the industry - we hope this group will challenge existing behaviours and be a catalyst for pan-industry improvement, in addition to the extensive work being undertaken by companies individually.”

Clark continued: “Thirty years ago health and safety was the major focus for the North Sea, and the industry made that a central tenet of its culture – for collaboration to succeed it has to be addressed with the same urgency and senior leadership.

“Our research shows that the industry recognises this, and the critical value that effective supply chain collaboration can deliver in securing the future of the UKCS. We need to act fast and I believe that every company involved in the North Sea will want to play its part in making it a safe, collaborative, efficient and profitable region for many years to come.”

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