Confidence is returning to the UK oil and gas industry, according to an annual survey by the Bank of Scotland.
Of more than 100 oil and gas business surveyed in Scotland, England, and Wales, 69% expressed confidence they have done enough to survive the latest slump in oil prices.
And 75% said they expect the price of Brent crude to reach $75-80/bbl in 2019 or beyond.
The survey noted a jump this year in the “net balance of optimistic businesses”—the number of companies positive in their outlooks less the number negative.
In last year’s survey, the net optimistic balance was 2%; this year it is 39%.
Among companies with annual revenue exceeding £750 million, the net balance of optimistic businesses jumped to 33% in 2017 from -33% in 2016.
The share of businesses planning for growth over the next 12 months rose to 58% in this year’s survey from 49% last year.
And the share of businesses expecting to reduce headcount during the next 12 months declined to 19% this year from 32% in 2016. This year, 55% of companies expect to increase overall headcount during the next 12 months, while 26% expect headcount to remain the same.
Leading areas for expected employment growth this year are engineering and fabrication, with a net gain of 17%, and equipment and supply rental, 10%.
The only negative areas are drilling, with a net loss of 12%, and subsea work, down 5%.