Majority of offshore workforce ‘in low carbon energy roles by 2030’

Industries such as offshore wind power are included in the report.

The majority of the UK offshore workforce could be involved in delivering low carbon energy by 2030, according to a new report.

Experts at Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University say areas such as offshore wind and carbon capture could account for almost two thirds of jobs in the sector, up from a fifth currently, and the workforce could increase to at least 200,000, up from 160,000.

The figures are in a UK Offshore Energy Workforce Transferability Review.

According to the report, more than 90% of those working in the oil and gas sector have “medium to high skills transferability”, making them well-positioned to work in other parts of the offshore energy sector.

Prof Paul de Leeuw, the review’s lead author, said the north east of Scotland already had much of the skills base and infrastructure required for the transition and many of the skills were interchangeable.

He said: “This review highlights the material prize for the UK. Successful delivery of energy transition ambitions has the opportunity to secure around 200,000 jobs in 2030 for the offshore energy workforce.

“With the overall number of jobs in the UK oil and gas industry projected to decline over time, the degree of transferability of jobs to adjacent energy sectors such as offshore wind, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen or other industrial sectors will be key to ensuring the UK retains its world class skills and capabilities.”

‘Successful energy transition’

Prof de Leeuw added: “With many of the skills and competencies required for the offshore energy sector to be highly interchangeable, the energy transition offers a unique opportunity to create a net zero energy workforce.”

Alix Thom, workforce and skills manager with industry body Oil and Gas UK, said the report showed “the overwhelming majority of roles within our industry are well positioned to transfer into adjacent lower carbon roles if necessary action is taken”.

Richard Lochhead, the new minister for just transition, employment and fair work, said the Scottish government was “wholly committed” to ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change.

“I welcome the findings of this review, which recognizes that the knowledge and skills of the offshore oil and gas workforce are required for a successful and sustainable energy transition,” he said.

Jack Miller
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