I looked back at my words from last year and amazingly the year went ahead much as expected, which is a good thing in today’s market conditions!
Of course not exactly to plan but our optimism for 2017 was realised with an improved year as we saw stability in the oil price and some good successes in our global markets, notably in China. The oil price remains lower than its high levels from previous years, and we expect it to continue this way, but it seems to have stabilised meaning our customers have confidence to plan and invest. We see this continuing for 2018.
We have continued to invest in our factories and offices in Lincoln with the expansion of our gas turbine training school at the university, which can now offer a wider training programme for our employees and customers, and also covering technology from other parts of our group, which is an exciting addition. We have also nearly completed the build of our new Global Service Operations Centre at Teal Park, which will bring greater efficiency to our operations and support of our customers.
This investment in our facilities, and also our investments in technology, will allow us to remain competitive as we move forward. It is imperative for any business to have a high focus on productivity when competing in a global market. We will continue to invest in 2018 and a priority is to further digitalise our business especially for the benefit of our customers, such as our Remote Diagnostics Centre, which remotely monitors the health of our gas turbines from our base in Lincoln. We are continuously improving the capability of this service with support from the team at the university. Our collaboration with the university is very important to us, and we hope to be working with them on a number of exciting technology programs next year.
2018 will also be an exciting year for our gas turbine product range as we further develop our portfolio and, therefore, expect to increase our sales in to a wider market. The market is changing as the global energy mix changes with renewables, but we feel that our smaller range of gas turbines is still well placed for the demand for de-centralised power across a number of applications in power generation and oil and gas. We are hopeful for a good year ahead for order bookings.
Looking forward to 2018, my New Year’s resolution for Siemens is to continue to help develop our employees and attract talent in to our business, as it is through our employees that we will to succeed and grow. And personally, I hope to spend more time with my family, as last year saw me clock up many air miles! Digitalisation can help here as we increase our use of video conferencing as the technology develops and reduces in cost!