Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said yesterday that foreign investment in the North Sea would help UK oil and gas service firms to export their expertise.
He said north-east energy service companies had to increasingly market their skills overseas to extend the life of the industry in the region.
Mr Moore was speaking during a visit to Dana Petroleum, which was bought by Korean national oil firm KNOC for £1.67billion in 2010.
The minister said: “The North Sea has been a global industry from its outset, but we are now in a new phase of it where we have state-owned enterprises taking a closer interest.
“Our great skill in the UK has been to maximise the opportunities from the North Sea, but also export our expertise and make sure we have a life here that is not just based on the resources we have.
“Having companies like Dana with its headquarters in Aberdeen, where it is running its international portfolio, is very exciting.”
In addition to KNOC’s acquisition of Dana in 2010, two Chinese state-controlled oil firms announced plans to move into the North Sea last month. On the same day, Chinese groups CNOOC and Sinopec revealed acquisitions totalling more than £10billion.
CNOOC made a £9.6billion offer for Canadian stock market-listed Nexen – which would give it control of the UK’s largest producing oil field, Buzzard – while Sinopec offered £956million for 49% of Canada-listed Talisman’s UK North Sea business, which includes 11 operated platforms.
Other state-owned firms with operations in the North Sea include Abu Dhabi national energy company Taqa, which entered the region in 2007 when it bought interests in a number of assets.
Then, in 2008, it took over several assets as Taqa Bratani. Since then it has gone on to be one of the fastest-growing exploration and production companies in the North Sea, employing 2,000 offshore and onshore in offices at Westhill.