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By Michael Jenkin
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Extra info for British Industry and the North Sea: State Intervention in a Developing Industrial Sector
First, there were difficulties associated with drilling exploratory oil wells to determine if promising geological areas had oil deposits. On land, exploratory drilling was a relatively simple task; portable derricks were set up on several locations and bore holes were drilled. In the ocean, however, every time a company wished to drill an exploratory bore hole a platform had to be constructed to support the derrick and drilling equipment. Needless to say, this operation made the drilling of exploratory wells in the sea bed very expensive and, hence, inhibited the level of activity offshore.
It is arguable whether British firms entirely deserved their initial reputation. Some of the poor performances with respect to delivery times can be attributed to the 'learning curve' associated with companies new to any form of production. Also, many of the firms who initially had difficulties arising from late deliveries improved their performance quite dramatically after a year or so in the business. 52 Furthermore, oil company executives themselves are divided as to the competence of British firms.
THE POLITICAL CONTEXT, I964-72 Before I describe the first steps in the emergence of government policy in the offshore supplies field, I believe it is essential to review the political context within which those first few steps were taken. In particular, the next pages examine those features of the political situation in the latter half of the I 96os which contributed to delaying substantive government initiative in the offshore supply field until the end of I97I. Despite the gas field developments from I964 to I969 government took little interest during this period in firms supplying off shore.
British Industry and the North Sea: State Intervention in a Developing Industrial Sector by Michael Jenkin