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British Industry and the North Sea: State Intervention in a by Michael Jenkin

By Michael Jenkin

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Extra resources for British Industry and the North Sea: State Intervention in a Developing Industrial Sector

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The contracting relationships for exploration work are less complicated than those for the development phase of a project. 2 Supply chain in the North Sea (detail given for platform contracting) Note: Only part of the network has been shown. There could be several more main contractors in such a network with attendant subcontractors and suppliers. Each contractor could also easily have more than three sub-contractors, and each sub-contractor more than three suppliers and so on. For more complex aspects of a project, supply chains could continue several stages further down the page.

Instead, it has its roots in the exploitation of American offshore oil, and became established in Britain only recently. The history of offshore oil production, and hence the history of the offshore supply industry, began in the late I8gos in the US. The first offshore oil came from wells drilled from the end oflong piers off the beaches of a town called Summerland on the southern California coast. 16 The first independent oil well- independent in the sense that it was not connected to shore by piers-was drilled in Lake Chaddo, Louisiana, in I9I I.

These early attempts in the field of offshore production were successful, but they did not involve any departures from the drilling techniques and derrick design used in land-based operations at that time. Serious offshore operations did not begin until the mid I g2os when American engineering companies assisted US oil companies working offshore in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela, with the design of concrete platforms and the improvement of drilling techniques. 17 The first independent oil platforms in coastal areas did not appear until the early I930s.

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