By Michael Jenkin
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Additional info for British Industry and the North Sea: State Intervention in a Developing Industrial Sector
11 Thus, the offshore supply industry is a geographically diffuse collection of diverse elements unified only as a result of the final destination of the goods and services it produces. Such coherence as the industry possesses derives directly from the requirements of the oil companies and their contractors. These requirements are interpreted during the course of continuous inter-company negotiations regarding supply contracts. Unfortunately, the relationships that have evolved between companies during these negotiations are among the most difficult aspects of the offshore supply 20 BRITISH INDUSTRY AND THE NORTH SEA industry to analyse, for they are always to one degree or another hidden from outsiders for reasons of commercial 'confidentiality'.
27 Before the issue of exploration and production licences in I 964 British firms had been only marginally involved in any offshore work. Two small jack-up exploration rigs had been built, one in I958 at Redcar and one in I959 at Southampton, 28 but these were isolated efforts. However, partly as a result of exhortation from the Ministry of Power, some oil companies with North Sea licences placed orders for exploration drilling rigs suitable for operation in the southern North Sea. 29 In the event, a total of nine drilling rigs were ordered from British yards during the period I965-7.
British firms wishing to enter the offshore supply market have to deal with oil multinationals which are, on the whole, owned abroad and staffed, particularly at senior levels, by foreigners. These companies have contacts with, and in many cases commitments to, foreign suppliers of services and equipment. In addition, the engineering contracting firms which supervise most development work are foreign-based with branches in the UK, and have similar contracts with and commitments to foreign suppliers.
British Industry and the North Sea: State Intervention in a Developing Industrial Sector by Michael Jenkin