Collaboration still ‘difficult’ to achieve, says North Sea survey

An unmanned gas platform in the southern North Sea
An unmanned gas platform in the southern North Sea

Collaboration is still proving “difficult” for many North Sea supply chain companies, according to a new survey.

Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) and professional services firm Deloitte have have published the annual Supply Chain Collaboration Survey,

More than 200 people working in the sector responded, with 90% agreeing that working together is “integral” but many are finding it difficult to achieve.

Just 36% said more than half of their collaboration efforts were successful in 2018, down from 43% in 2017.

The collaboration index remained the same as last year at 7.1, which the surveyors said showed “appetite” for working together.

Graham Hollis, senior partner for Deloitte in Aberdeen, said: “This year’s survey results should prompt the industry to redouble its efforts and build on the positive changes seen in the past three years. This would entail extending them across the basin and making them ‘business as usual’ so they add value in an upturn as well as a downturn.

“We expected to see greater awareness among respondents about the value of digital technologies which has the potential to drive a new wave of productivity across the industry. Organisations do not necessarily need large upfront investments of time and capital to test and roll out new technologies and processes.

“Effective collaboration should not be forgotten when oil prices rise and the industry gets busier; this will only lead to a reversal of the efficiency gains of the last three years.”

Where collaboration was successful, trust was cited as the most important reason, followed by mutual benefits for both parties.

Oil and Gas UK’s supply chain and HSE director, Matt Abraham, said: “It is encouraging to see that for most operators and suppliers collaboration remains a key priority, despite tough business conditions.

“This is reflected in the index, with the highest ever score being maintained as business activity improves. This gives us confidence that cultural change is being embedded and will stand us in good stead as we continue to improve the competitiveness of the basin.

“We have seen some positive news for industry this year, with more projects approved in 2018 than in the last three years combined along with more attractive investment conditions for the basin, but we cannot become complacent.

“OGUK’s Efficiency Task Force remains focused on driving further business improvement through collaboration and shared learning.”