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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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9 The surveys indicate a tendency for senior civil servants, ministers in the I964-70 Labour Governments, and Conservative MPs to look with favour upon foreign multinationals operating in Britain, and upon foreign FOUNDATIONS OF AN OFFSHORE SUPPLIES POLICY 41 investment in the country generally. 10 Hodges notes that senior civil servants tended to believe that multinationals were more co-operative as corporate citizens than British firms because they were more anxious to avoid confrontation with government than nationally-based firms: this attitude seems also to have been prevalent in the other two groups.

This legislation was passed in the late spring of I964. The first thirty-five licences for exploration work were awarded in the autumn of that year. 25 The legal and regulatory regime in the North Sea was thereby confirmed, and exploration activity started in earnest with oil companies chartering drilling rigs to conduct drilling programmes in their respective licensed areas. 26 This first round oflicensing was followed by a second round in I965 in which an additional thirty-seven licences were granted, and by a third round in I 969 when a further thirty-seven licences were issued.

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.

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