Oil & Gas UK, the trade body for the UK offshore oil and gas industry, said in its newly released report that companies delivering drilling, completion, testing and maintenance for oil and gas wells in the country generated a gross revenue of £1.9bn ($3.05bn) in 2012.

In the report, ‘Well Services Contractors Report 2013’, the trade body said the rise in revenue, which is in line with increasing oil and gas activity on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), is the highest since records began in 1996.

The study found that the total number of technicians and graduate engineers employed by well services contractors for North Sea operations increased to 2,200 and 1,700, respectively.

According to the report, the sector has increased its investment on equipment and technology by around five percent from $178m to $186m.

Technological innovation was found to be high priority for well services contractors, with several of them spending nearly 90% of their annual capital investment on developing new technologies.

UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable has welcomed the report and said the figures demonstrate the value of the UK’s expertise in the oil and gas sector across the world.

"They also emphasise the value and potential growth of the industry to make a stronger UK economy. We want to continue to attract investment into the supply chain so that we can compete internationally," Cable added.

"That is why we chose to develop an industrial strategy for the oil and gas sector. Launched in March, it’s about working with industry to focus on skills, technology, exports and access to finance."

Oil & Gas UK operations director Oonagh Werngren said: "The higher than expected rise in gross revenue could be attributed to a number of factors, ranging from increased exploration and production activities since 2011 to the growing number of technically complex wells that require the specialist knowledge of well services contractors."

"The sector is, however, competing with other booming oil and gas provinces around the world, with respondents reporting a 19% rise in the number of UK employees working overseas to deliver well services outside the UK," Werngren added.

Image: Map of the North Sea. Photo courtesy of the US Department of Energy.