Scotland’s energy exports have grown for the 14th consecutive year, the latest statistics have revealed. The industry is now valued at £17.2 billion, with international exports accounting for half of sales. This represents an 8.4 per cent increase in exports from last year.

“These latest figures are outstanding, particularly at a time when many regional economies have been stagnating”, David Rennie of Scottish Enterprise said. “They show that our expertise in oil and gas is increasing demand across the globe, and clearly demonstrate the growing importance international markets have to play in the long-term future of the industry in Scotland.” Energy exports are projected to increase even more next year, as companies plan to ramp up oil field production. The Scottish government claims 24 billion barrels of oil still lie below the North Sea, waiting to be tapped.

This billion-pound industry plays a significant role in the Scottish economy, accounting for nearly 200,000 jobs. The nation’s supply chain exports are widely embraced by North America, which accounts for £2.6 billion, or 32 per cent, of international sales. Angola, Norway, United States, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates are included in the list of top five markets for direct exports.

International exports are propping up Scotland’s supply chain export industry, hence why energy minister Fergus Ewing has been dispatched to the Offshore Technology Conference currently underway in Houston, Texas. There, he is heading a trade delegation of over 50 Scottish companies to try and generate more business for the industry.

Additionally, exports to Africa are expected to rise significantly in the future. Last year, Africa accounted for 5.9 per cent of the increase in international exports. Mr Rennie said: “I would say that Africa is potentially a big market for us. We’ve just taken a trade mission to Ghana and we’ve got an office opening there later this year.”

Expansion and potential market dominance is projected for Scotland, as it supplies many of the world’s oil and gas experts, most of which come out of Aberdeen. Mr Rennie said: “If you go anywhere in the world to look for oil, you will find a Scots person.”