The Onshore Impact of Offshore Operations: The Case of Aberdeen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific


Since the first discovery of oil in the North Sea, oil exploration and development operations have transformed the economic, social and physical geography of Scotland in general and Aberdeen in particular. Intimacy of Aberdeen to the major oil fields of the North Sea (such as Forties oil fields) changed the city into an administrative and service city. Since then, Aberdeen has become a major base for the entire North Sea operations. This created new growth centres and revitalised stagnant economy of Aberdeen. Taking Aberdeen as the main case study, this paper aims to study spatial dimensions and socio-economic consequences of supporting the North Sea offshore operations. It investigates the extent to which development of offshore activities in the North Sea has been affecting urban development of Aberdeen; and how it has been reshaping economic, social and physical structure of the city from the early 1970s to this day. Investigating the reciprocal relation between sea and land through the perspective of oil, based on the archival study, the paper first review Scotland oil history from the shale oil extraction (1851-1962) to the first discovery of oil in the North Sea by the late-1960s. By implying mapping (GIS) as a tool, the second section briefly examines how different cities/regions along the coastline got involved in oil operations. Then, by focusing on Aberdeen, the paper thoroughly studies the socio-spatial impacts of the North Sea oil on the port city of Aberdeen. In turn, it re-examines the transformation of the city from a fishing port city into the “Capital of Oil”, and recently to the “Capital of Energy”. Through transforming Aberdeen, into an international city, oil is the most influential agents in development of Aberdeen. Therefore, a deeper understanding of oil’s impacts is necessary to imagine a sustainable future for the city.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventViscous Space: the offshore physicality of the North Sea between solid and liquid - TU Delft, Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 20 Jun 201822 Jun 2018


ConferenceViscous Space
Internet address

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    Jafari, E. (2018). The Onshore Impact of Offshore Operations: The Case of Aberdeen. Abstract from Viscous Space, Delft, Netherlands.