Do we dare to dare?

LISTENING to my eclectic playlist entitled simply “good songs”, Frank Sinatra’s 1965 hit “It Was a Very Good Year” came on (please don’t judge me).

My involuntary response was to laugh (and not at my choice in music), but on reflecting on the year that was 2016!

As an Aberdonian employed in oil and gas - it has been a difficult year, to say the least.

But by crooning his way through the years, Frank also got me thinking, years pass and there is a new one in sight, and there are already positive indicators for 2017.

One of my responsibilities at Return To Scene is to monitor trends, the operational environment and markets.

In recent weeks, it’s been clear good news stories are making a comeback - both in terms of individual companies and the wider industry.

I’ve read local, national and industry specific copy with titles like “Signs of revival…”, “Glimmers of Hope”, etc. - something that was unheard of just a few months ago.

Not only is it good to see these pieces making the press, but this tentative positivity is also being supported by robust research, not least by the Chamber’s own Oil & Gas Survey.

Indications by others "in the know", including Wood Mackenzie, PWC, KPMG and Burness Paull, highlight that this “leaner, fitter” industry might just have a future after all and that things have perhaps “stopped getting worse”.

Activity in drilling and mergers and acquisitions, the push for innovation and drive to break pre-downturn bad habits, may well prove to be an industry lifesaver - with application well beyond the UKCS.

General network conversations too are more positive.

Discussions within the wider oil and gas supply chain from recruiters seeing an increase in demand, to project team leads with 18th months visibility illustrate this.

Old industry hands pointing out that drill rigs are in preparation for operation in the northern firths which is an early indicator of an upturn.

As an industry, we are still raw and hesitant to commit to the positive (note my frequent use of caveating adverbs), but perhaps we should be more decisive.

In my own workplace, we are seeing positivity too in terms of our order book, enquiries and opportunities to pitch for work with both existing clients in new areas of operation, and new potential clients.

Going back to Frank and how we reflect on the years that pass, it is clear that one of the most significant changes to affect Return To Scene in 2016 was our acquisition by James Fisher and Sons plc in June.

Having a strong and supportive parent company that has continued its investment in the wider oil and gas industry can only be considered a massive positive.

At the end of what was (hopefully) the most challenging year my colleagues and I will face, there is an incredibly positive team atmosphere and we are most certainly stronger.

We are delivering projects - globally, we’ve brought a new generation of our flagship technology R2S to market, and it’s being piloted on two separate projects by a supermajor.

We are in a good place to take on 2017.

How will we reflect on the year to come? We are daring to dare, are you?

Wishing you all a very positive 2017!