Two Scottish economic development bodies will invest a combined £1million-plus to help smaller oil service firms break the reliance on their core markets.
Aberdeen-based Opportunity North East (ONE) and Scottish Enterprise are teaming up to launch two programmes to achieve their objectives.
For the first programme, they will each put forward £300,000 over three years to help smaller oil and gas supply chain firms win decommissioning contracts.
Jackie Doyle, director of oil and gas and digital development at ONE, said most small suppliers did not get to meet operators face-to-face to find out which decommissioning services are needed.
Mr Doyle said the programme would “facilitate and encourage collaboration” to help smaller companies “get up the ladder”.
He said there could be opportunities for small groups of oil service companies to join forces when bidding for decommissioning work.
For the second three-year programme, ONE and Scottish Enterprise will each invest £250,000 to support small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the oil service sector that want to diversify.
Mr Doyle said the initiative would start by educating oil service firms about the opportunities that exist in renewable and low-carbon industries like wind and tidal.
The SMEs will then receive one-to-one support and advice on adapting their business models to take advantage of those opportunities.
Mr Doyle was speaking at a forum on diversification and collaboration in the oil industry organised by law firm Womble Bond Dickinson and Pale Blue Dot Energy.
Yesterday’s event at the Macdonald Norwood Hall Hotel was attended by about 90 people.
Mr Doyle said: “If we are relying on oil and gas to supply the same level of prosperity as it has in the past, I can tell you that it won’t, or a least we shouldn’t assume it will.
“The basin is getting older. We have to maximise economic recovery by being more efficient and making better use of resources.
“The economic value we get from oil and gas will decrease, but there is evidence that we are thinking differently about our future − a future less reliant on oil and gas.”