THE outlook for the North Sea industry remains fragile, according to Oil and Gas UK.
The industry body’s confidence index for the second quarter increased modestly from 51 to 54 points.
OGUK supply-chain manager Ken Cruickshank said: “Across the operator community, confidence increased slightly from 46 to 48 points, but this score still represents a negative outlook. Contractors are slightly more confident, with their outlook rising from 54 in the first quarter to 56 in the second.
“While still in negative territory overall, the operators’ two-point increase in confidence was driven by the majors whose index rose by 13 points from 39 to 52.
“In contrast, the independent operators registered a one-point decline dropping further into negative territory from 48 to 47.
“Confidence was hit at the end of the first quarter by the unexpected tax increase announced in the 2011 Budget. While it appears that some companies may feel reassured by the Treasury’s willingness to engage on ways to mitigate the negative impact of the tax increase on investment, the confidence of many independent operators in particular continued to decline in the second quarter.”
In the contractor community, confidence in drilling and well services rose by 11 points to 54; facilities engineering, operations and maintenance increased from 51 to 56; marine and subsea recorded a fall from 69 to 64, and support services dropped from 57 to 54.
The index is on a 100-point scale and measures several economic indicators, with ratings above 50 indicating a positive outlook.