Oil and gas firms have underlined the potential of the North Sea as experts highlighted the challenges that stand in the way of the development of the offshore renewable energy industry and related supply chain.

A survey found industry leaders have serious doubts about the ability of UK firms to compete in global markets for the production of turbines and the like in a judgement that will dampen hopes of a green jobs boom in Scotland.

The findings of a study for the Newton Europe consultancy also highlighted concerns that the development of offshore renewables will be delayed by problems accessing the grid and suitable ports infrastructure.

They come weeks after first minister Humza Yousaf launched a £500m offshore wind supply chain initiative, with little detail about what it will involve.

Oil and gas firms appear to be making progress on the exploration front and with work to develop existing finds.

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Deltic Energy said it is firming up plans to drill an appraisal well with Shell on the giant Pensacola find the companies made last year. The firms are expected to formalise a positive well investment decision in relation to the Pensacola appraisal well this month.

Deltic said the find made with Shell and work completed subsequently had confirmed Pensacola as one of the most exciting discoveries in the Southern North Sea in recent years.

Deltic expects to drill an exploration well on the Selene prospect in the North Sea with Shell next year.

Meanwhile, Reabold Resources said it had received a £5.2m payment in respect of Shell’s purchase of the Victory gas find West of Shetland for £32m.

The final payment will be made when the North Sea Transition Authority grants approval for the development of Victory. Reabold said this is anticipated to occur “within the coming months”.

Reabold said it was pleased to see Shell committing to continue development of the Victory project, which will boost the UK’s energy security during the transition to net zero.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf's £500m plan to boost green jobs looks half-baked

In a survey of 200 senior decision-makers in the UK offshore wind industry for Newton Europe, only 4% of respondents expected the UK to reach its national production target of 50 gigawatts by 2030. Newton said the UK produces 15GW from offshore wind developments currently.

Some 67% of respondents don’t believe that UK offshore wind manufacturers can compete with Europe and China.

The same percentage of leaders reckon the UK’s current pool of ports, vessels, and labour is too limited to support both the offshore wind and oil and gas sectors.  

Newton found 12% of industry leaders felt rapid expansion of the electricity grid would make the UK a more investable destination for offshore wind.

Newton partner Dan Parker said the UK’s oil and gas industry was perfectly positioned to play more of a role in the offshore wind drive.