More than one in four senior oil and gas industry executives are not convinced that the sector’s supply chain will be able to deliver energy transition.

According to a new survey conducted by Lloyds Register, the specialist energy consultancy, 26% of respondents expressed doubt that the industry’s supply chain – which accounts for more than 90% of jobs in the sector – has the right skills and expertise.

Earlier this year, the UK and Scottish Governments set binding net zero carbon targets, for 2050 and 2045 respectively. Delivering on this ambitious energy transition would make the UK Continental Shelf the world’s first net zero hydrocarbon basin.

However, the survey’s findings appear to undermine the emerging industry consensus that a sustainable, secure and inclusive energy transition is achievable.

Commenting on the findings, David Clark, Lloyd’s Register’s Energy Director said: “The energy transition will require the offshore oil and gas industry to substantially reduce its emissions while also developing new technologies for carbon capture, hydrogen production and integrated assets.

“That will require new competencies and skillsets across the supply chain and the creation of roles that currently do not exist. The fact that a quarter of leading players in the industry do not believe that the supply chain is ready should be a call to action.

“It underlines the fact that the industry urgently needs to upskill and enhance its technology capabilities. It will face tough competition from other sectors to recruit the next generation of digital talent, but it’s a great opportunity and Lloyd’s Register is already making strides.

“We’re combining the expertise of our renewables and oil and gas teams to provide consultancy and deliver support for a range of clean new clean energy projects. We’re also conducting technical feasibility studies for the reuse of oil and gas assets, including an energy integration project for the Oil & Gas Authority, which focused on platform electrification, gas to wire, carbon capture and storage and integrated energy hubs.”

Sector-wide momentum has been building towards delivering the industry’s Vision 2035 strategy. However, the landmark Wood Review identified collaboration across the UK’s offshore oil and gas sector as an essential driver towards securing the future success of the UK Continental Shelf.

OPITO, the global skills body for the energy industry estimates that North Sea oil and gas sector will need to recruit 40,000 people by 2035, including 10,000 in new roles that don’t exist yet, such as data science and analytics, artificial intelligence and new materials.
John McDonald, CEO of OPITO said: “This timely survey highlights that determining the shape of the oil and gas workforce of tomorrow is a bigger challenge than in previous production eras.

“There is a growing need to develop an increasingly flexible, multi-skilled and technology-enabled workforce; valuable across many different sectors. This means we’re going to be competing for candidates to fill new roles out-with the traditional engineering disciplines.

“Not only do we need to demonstrate that the oil and gas industry is a relevant and exciting place to work, but also get across that there is a long future in the basin and attractive career progression opportunities.

“Equipping the workforce for this dynamic environment is important and needs to begin right away. OPITO is already working with industry and a wide range of energy stakeholders to drive the required skills agenda.”