UK North Sea spending on well services has reached an all time high, according to a survey by industry body Oil & Gas UK.
Its well well services sector report, based on a survey carried out since 1996, showed companies delivering drilling, completion, testing and maintenance for oil and gas wells generated gross revenues of £1.9billion ($3.05billion) in 2012.
The total number of technicians and graduate engineers employed by well services contractors also rose, to 2200 and 1700, respectively, with new recruits into both groups also increasing.
The sector also invested in future capacity, with spending on equipment and technology rising by about 5% from $178million to $186million.
Technological innovation remained a priority for well services contractors, some of whom spent up to 90% of their annual capital investment on developing new technologies, accordingn to the survey.
Oil & Gas UK’s operations director, Oonagh Werngren, said: “Once again, well services contractors have achieved robust growth, contributing significantly to the economy and innovation while creating new jobs for highly skilled people.
"The higher than expected rise in gross revenue could be attributed to a number of factors ranging from increased exploration and production activities since 2011 to the growing number of technically complex wells that require the specialist knowledge of well services contractors.
“The sector is, however, competing with other booming oil and gas provinces around the world with respondents reporting a 19% rise in the number of UK employees working overseas to deliver well services outside the UK. Attracting, retaining and engaging skilled personnel here in the UK represents a challenge to the industry, one which is being addressed, together with Government, to ensure that this sector, alongside others, can continue to flourish.”
Well services providers forecastws that gross revenues would rise by about 5% in 2013, but said business growth may be hindered by continuing concerns regarding the limited supply of skilled personnel and the availability of equipment.