Deloitte’s John England hit the nail on the head in his latest report, 2017 outlook on oil and gas, when he described his views on the global economy in 2016, 2017 and beyond. “While I called 2016 the ‘year of tough decisions,’ I’d characterise 2017 as ’the slow road back.’”
2017 is however already seeing some positive economical improvements. The oil and gas industry is showing some progress with OPEC’s decision to cut production, for example, accelerating the drawdown of global oil inventories. This will help over time create a sustainable, efficient and profitable industry once more.
On a wider global scale, there are individual countries that are pressing ahead with positive growth plans. Research by US News, in collaboration with global advertising company Y&R (Young & Rubicam), have compiled the top countries that are ‘open for business’.
The ‘Best Countries’ research is an analysis project created to capture how countries are perceived on a global scale. The analysis evaluated 80 countries drawn from a survey of more than 21,000 global citizens, measuring 75 factors that have the potential to drive trade, travel and investment and directly affect national economies.
In this blog we look at ten varied countries that are actively looking to boost business growth in 2017. The results are wide-ranging with some interesting links and also variations across continents.
- Global overall economic ranking: 2nd
As one of the most legally transparent countries to do business in and having the best educational system in the world, according to the rankings, Canada is a country that continues to facilitate business growth.
Together with a well-developed infrastructure, a strong legal system and connection with the rest of the world, it’s not a surprise to see Canada also ranked second globally for ‘best countries to headquarter a company’ in 2017.
Canada also scored highly for key entrepreneurial factors, such as a “well-developed infrastructure” (9.5/10), “educated population” (9.4/10) and “connected to the rest of the world” (9.2/10).
- Global overall economic ranking: 3rd
As a mature economy, it’s not a surprise to see the UK ranked as the third-best country in the world in the research by US News. Its combination of a finely-tuned legal system and business infrastructure, together with a sustainable and highly-skilled workforce means the UK is still one of the best places to do business.
Despite ranking 3rd overall, the UK only achieved 19th place for business growth and being a country ‘open for business’. The research suggests that the high level of bureaucracy and unfavourable tax environment is hindering the UK finishing higher, as well as the uncertainty around Brexit.
For the oil and gas industry, however, these barriers to further growth are already being dealt with by the UK Government. The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) was created by the government to give a voice to the offshore industry in British waters. With that responsibility, OGA have helped to reduce oil and gas industry taxation first of all, to improve investment in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) especially.
- Global overall economic ranking: 4th
The powerhouse that is Germany, is providing significant business growth with their global influence and entrepreneurial spirit. Research statistics found that Germany ranked number one for entrepreneurship after achieving a score of 9-out-of-ten for its infrastructure, business transparency, educated population, skilled workforce, technological expertise, legal framework and connection with the rest of the world.
While bureaucracy, just like the UK, is hindering Germany from featuring higher than 22nd on a list of the countries ‘open for business’, its global standing, mature economy and influence within the European Union especially, makes it a haven for expanding businesses.
- Global overall economic ranking: 8th
Australia is certainly ‘open for business’ after being ranked 12th globally for business growth and opportunities. A combination of a transparent government and clear tax environment has helped them reach the summit of the research.
While their educated population (9/10) and well-developed infrastructure (9/10) scored highly, it is their ranking as one of the best countries for quality of life (4th globally) which provides businesses with growth potential. As highly-skilled individuals, particularly in the western-world, are seeking a better work/life balance, a country that offers the highest quality of life provides business with access to the best talent.
- Global overall economic ranking: 10th
Norway is a country we know a lot about after working on offshore projects for over twenty years in the North Sea. We can verify that its transparent business practices, highly educated population and skilled workforce, make it one of the most desirable locations to do business.
The oil and gas industry in Norway in particular, plays a vital role in the economy and the financing of the welfare state. The oil and gas industry is Norway's largest measured industry in terms of value added, government revenues, investments and export value, according to Norsk Petroleum.
Considerable investment in the oil and gas industry has created a stronger financial and legal framework in Norway, as well as a highly skilled workforce. Due to this investment, other Norwegian industries have clearly taken advantage of where the oil and gas industry has led.
- Global overall economic ranking: 11th
Similar to nearby Norway, Netherlands has been found to have a strong and well-developed business infrastructure and a highly educated population (9.3/10). For businesses seeking to grow into Netherlands in 2017, its worth knowing that the country didn’t score highly when it came to innovation (4/10) and entrepreneurialism (3.8/10) despite being highly educated.
For new research and development centres, Netherlands may not be the best country to invest in. However, their highly transparent legal system and top five ranking for gender equality still makes the country a viable proposition.
- Global overall economic ranking: 15th
Singapore’s cheap manufacturing costs and favourable tax environment has meant it has climbed into the top 15 countries in the world, 11th best for business growth and prosperity.
This innovative and technologically-advanced country has been growing at a rapid rate, and businesses have been taking advantage of this movement. A firm’s ease of access to capital (9/10) and entrepreneurial nature (9.1/10) has stimulated the corporate world and has helped position the country as the second-best location to invest in, and the sixth-best country to start a business.
- Global overall economic ranking: 19th
Spain has recovered from being one of the hardest hit countries following the global economic crash, to provide new and existing businesses with a chance to grow in the country. Access to the rest of the world and strong infrastructure is facilitating this, alongside a strong quality of life positioning.
Spain’s family friendly nature, which scored ten-out-of-ten in the research, is doing a lot to sell the country to individuals globally looking for a higher quality of life for them and their family – similar to Australia. This access to aspiring individuals seems to be Spain’s key driver to attract new business and existing business growth, especially when it has also been ranked 6th best in the world for a ‘comfortable retirement’.
- Global overall economic ranking: 35th
Similar to Singapore, Malaysia’s incredibly cheap manufacturing costs (9.4/10) have pushed the country into 15th place globally as a place to do business – that is despite corruption levels in the country being considerably higher than any other countries featured in this article already.
Just like the rest of the oil and gas industry, Malaysia has had to face a tough few years as it recovers from a prolonged drop in oil prices. Now, the country is in a position to offer growth opportunities for oil and gas companies backed up by a report by PwC, The Malaysian Oil & Gas Industry. This points towards its “well-established industry ecosystem” and “yet-to-be fully tapped deep-water potential” as two reasons why the oil and gas industry could flourish in the country, starting this year.
- Global overall economic ranking: 39th
Indonesia’s cheap manufacturing costs (9.7/10) and favourable tax environment, combined with the country being labelled a top five country to start a business, continues to show the prosperity within Asian countries.
Just like Singapore and Malaysia before it, Indonesia’s infrastructure and education aren’t as good as other countries, however, the low costs to operate in the country and chance to upskill the workforce to the desired ability, still makes it a great location for businesses seeking growth. A country that is in its infancy, but one that is climbing the economic rankings rapidly as it competes amongst other South-East Asia countries.
The oil and gas industry
The global economic outlook for 2017 and beyond is prosperous, especially in the countries highlighted in this article. All continents were affected by the global economic crash in 2008, but steadily, the business industry has continued to draw strength from consumer confidence and grow as a result.
The oil and gas industry, too, has learned to re-engineer its future by streamlining costs and processes in order to safeguard the industry’s short term future, but also allow it to flourish for years to come.
Whether businesses are looking to expand their headquarters beyond their country of residence, or they’re seeking opportunities in new markets, it’s fascinating to see just some of the countries that are making strides towards creating an environment that is open to all businesses.
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