Colombia hopes to learn lessons from Aberdeen

Liam Smyth
Liam Smyth

Aberdeen’s ascent to become the oil capital of Europe is being drawn on as inspiration by a South American port city.

Representatives from the North-east of Scotland are travelling to Barranquilla in northern Colombia to discuss the reasons that lie behind Aberdeen’s decades of successful oil & gas exploration and production.

The city invited Liam Smyth, membership director at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, to visit the city to address an audience of business people next month at the two-day Caribe BIZ Forum on September 14 and 15.

He is looking at how Aberdeen transformed itself from a fishing port to the oil capital of Europe, and how its global focus has translated into its ambition to become the energy capital of Europe.

Mr Smyth said: “Barranquilla is Colombia’s principal port and its fourth largest city with a population of over two million.

“Our Chamber of Commerce has a unique perspective on Aberdeen’s history which lets it reflect on the long view, and our overseas links are very important to us.

“From how companies reacted to the discovery of oil in the North Sea, to how they have coped with the inevitable maturing of the basin, through to the current internationalisation of our expertise – these are all important milestones from which Barranquilla feels it can learn.

“For my part, I want to use the opportunity to broaden our range of contacts in the region and to spread the message that we have the expertise and capability in the North-east of Scotland to help Columbia to deliver more quickly the economic impact that they hope their oil reserves can bring.”

Colombia is the third largest oil producer in South America after Venezuela and Brazil and has experienced a dramatic rise in energy production since government reforms in 2003.

Its crude oil production doubled in the last 10 years to a millions barrels a day, although the country has been impacted by the global drop in crude oil prices.