Time for British SMEs to tap into global oil and gas demandAs a new UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) oil & gas specialist and International Trade Adviser (ITA), it seems to me that the talent and ingenuity of British SMEs in the oil and gas sector is a lucrative commodity in the global marketplace. UK companies already lead the world in many areas of finding, developing and extracting oil and gas as well as managing installations in an industry worth over $10 billion a year.
This is largely down to the universal appeal of Britain's long history in the sector, the tireless innovation of small and medium sized enterprises, and new technology grown in the UK which is exported worldwide within the oil and gas supply chain.
While this is good news, there is always scope for growth. Despite obvious successes, there remains a huge amount of untapped potential for exporting among small and medium sized businesses across the sector. 90 per cent of firms either don't export or are trading only with close European neighbours. With high value opportunities existing across the world, this is a statistic I'd like to see decline.
Kazakhstan, for instance, is currently building four major oil fields across its landmass, one which is the size of Europe. This is an investment which could make it the world's top oil exporter. British firms, given their expertise and knowledge of the sector, are perfectly positioned to secure a significant number of the contracts involved with this investment - and I urge them to do so.
If that wasn't enough, in Iraq, the Rumaila oilfield in the south of the country is due to open imminently with an impressive 16 billion barrel reserve. This is on top of continued development of natural gas gathering facilities in Basra and the expansion of existing oil fields in Majnoon. This is a tiny snapshot of what is out there, and as a trade adviser I want to make companies aware of them so we can begin to see more British companies expanding beyond the British and European markets and really gripping export opportunities wherever they find them.
I can, however, still understand that some firms are apprehensive about exporting. Having worked in the industry for over twenty years myself, working in both Shell and Exxon, I know how daunting it can seem. However, with UKTI's help, you can be sure of top level support for your international journey, whether you're just starting out or whether you're already an established exporter in the global marketplace.
As UKTI International Trade Advisers, it is our job to apply our experiences of the sector to provide expertise, advice and support to businesses looking to expand their operations overseas. Depending on your area, trade advisers like me are on hand to introduce you to new markets, help you with market research, enable you to reduce your risks and build a bespoke export plan suited to your business.
Just recently, 'Export Week' showcased the finest UKTI has to offer. All of the seminars, workshops and one-to-ones held as part of the week's events enabled the more than 3,000 attending delegates from across the country to access the knowledge and experience they need to succeed overseas.
And this wasn't a one-off. Throughout the year, UKTI offers a huge range of events designed to get your firm trading in the international marketplace, as well as export-boosting programmes such as the 'Passport to Export' scheme - which can get your company on the road to trading abroad. This is on top of regular trade missions across the globe and covering all sectors. The schemes and events we offer can provide companies with a robust export plan. We can help research markets, work locally to find business leads and give advice and tips on local business culture and etiquette.
I urge all companies who are considering taking the next step on their business journey to engage with the support available to them from UKTI, work with our specialist advisers and be one of 100,000 new exporters UKTI aims to create in the next five years.
The first step is clear: pick up the phone and call UKTI on 44 08452 789 600 or email: email@example.com to speak to one of our excellent trade advisers and begin your exciting journey towards international success.
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