SCOTLAND’s oil and gas services firms have suffered their first drop in overseas sales in five years as the crude price plunge took a toll on activity in the sector.

A Scottish Enterprise study found exports by oil services firms based in the country fell to £4.1 billion in the year to 31 March 2016, from £4.5bn in the preceding period.

Scottish firms have been trying to grow exports to compensate for the sharp downturn in the North Sea, which has accompanied the fall in the oil price since 2014.

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When sales made by overseas subsidiaries of Scottish firms are included, exports fell to £11.4bn in the year to March 2016, from £12.2bn.