Where in the world have we been?

EARLIER this year, I wrote a blog reflecting on my "tour of the world in 80 minutes".

Nine months have passed since then, and my colleagues and I have visited, welcomed delegations or have met with representatives from 21 locations from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Turkmenistan developing our network of contacts and supporting business connections.

Our international connections - partnerships, membership of the British Chambers of Commerce and being part of an international network of Chambers of Commerce - give us the capacity to support our members who wish to respond to emerging and developing opportunities overseas.

There is demand for the expertise, goods and services that companies in the North-east of Scotland has to offer and we receive many requests from overseas Chambers and organisations who want to engage with us and our members.

The President of Ghana, Ministers of Energy, Education, Agriculture, MPs, trade envoys and business people have given presentations and met with members and delegates at our international events.

Interest was high with a 50% increase in the numbers attending these events.

The markets covered this year were China, Colombia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique, Norway, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, Tanzania, UAE, and Uganda.

Norway continues to be a market of interest.

This was shown by the 33 companies expressing an interest in receiving oil and gas exploration licences in this year’s licensing round (APA 2016) which comprised predefined areas with blocks in the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea.

Deadline for applications was September with awards being made in Q1 2017.

Our membership network manager, Seona Shand and I attended Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) in August, co-hosting an evening reception with members Centrifuges Un-limited.

We had the opportunity to meet with members who attend ONS regularly and to support companies who were there for the first time.

With a growth in interest in "frontier" markets such as Iran, Mexico and Colombia, we undertook visits to these countries.

Following on from the successful trade mission to Mexico in 2015, we once again collaborated with SDI, Subsea UK, the EIC and DIT and accompanied delegates on a trade mission to Mexico City in September, taking part in Energy Day and then visiting the operational centres of Ciudad del Carmen and Villahermosa.

Since we visited last year, three bidding rounds have taken place.

Operators and supply chain companies who have been in market for some time, together with new players on board were keen to engage with the group.

Also in September and continuing with the Latin American theme, our membership director Liam Smyth visited the port city of Barranquilla to address an audience of business people.

He spoke about the reasons that lie behind Aberdeen’s decades of successful oil & gas exploration and production and the innovation and expertise that underpin the industry today.

While there, he signed a memorandum of understanding between the city of Barranquilla and Aberdeen, as Barranquilla aims to become the centre of operations for the Caribbean regions developing offshore oil & gas industry.

Moving on to the Middle East, Liam led a joint mission with British Iranian Chamber of Commerce (BICC) to Tehran in October.

Support received from the Iranian Embassy in London and the British Embassy in Tehran was very good, the level of engagement was high and we received positive feedback from delegates regarding business prospects arising from the mission.

Seona attended ADIPEC as a guest of the Abu Dhabi Chamber in November.

This was an opportunity to strengthen ties with this Chamber in this key market of interest for our members.

It was agreed that there is scope for a trade mission from Scotland to Abu Dhabi in spring next year, particularly focusing on downstream.

They are also keen for our members to have a presence at next year’s ADIPEC and for the Chamber to consider hosting a Scottish Day as part of the conference.

Keep in touch, let us know your markets of interest.

Alternatively, log on to the Chamber website and update your profile showing the countries you operate in or are interested in.

It is unlikely we will "visit" them all.

We can however help you investigate new markets, make the right connections and get your goods to market.

So, where will we get to in 2017? Over to you…