Capturing the Energy

Recording The UK Offshore Oil & Gas Industry
In 2006, the Capturing the Energy (CtE) project was launched as an innovative initiative which sought to document the UK oil and gas industry. Based in the UK’s oil capital, Aberdeen, the initiative aimed to:

  • encourage wider recognition of the importance of the sector to the UK
  • create an on-going record of key achievements, past, present and future
  • galvanize interest and attract new blood into the industry
  • select the most historically significant records to enhance future research and education programmes within the industry and the wider community

The Business Archives Council of Scotland was an early partner in the project along with the oil and gas operators, University of Aberdeen, government agencies and those with an interest in the history of north sea oil and gas. The first key success in the Capturing the Energy project was the recording of the UK part of the Frigg system. This project documented 30 years’ of innovation and activity, creating an important, comprehensive and unique resource accessible to the public through the University of Aberdeen.

Recently the CtE project has seen an extensive collection of records about the Murchison field collected by the University of Aberdeen’s Oil & Gas Archive in 2018 and a long running oral history programme Oil Lives.

BACS’ Scoping Survey
Early on in the CtE project, BACS provided its expertise through the then Surveying Officer David Powell to review business records to undertake a scoping study of the supply chain industry. The purpose of the study was to provide the CTE steering group with a clearer idea as to the scale of the industry and what records it produced that were of potential historical value. The study involved the surveying of numerous organisations and businesses including:

  • operators who extract oil and gas from the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS)
  • overarching bodies who regulate the industry or lobby decision makers on behalf of the industry
  • professional bodies who provide professional support to particularly industry skill sets
  • supply chain companies who provide ancillary services

The Scoping Study report was published in March 2010. Further information on the project is available on the main Capturing the Energy website and also the University of Aberdeen Special Collections, including this resource guide to their collections.

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