The North Sea is a mature oil and gas basin, which has seen its fair share of hard times over the last few years.
But recent reports show cause for optimism. This month, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) predicted that 11.9 billion barrels of oil will be extracted by 2050 – up almost 50% from the eight billion barrels forecast four years ago – as a result of reduced production costs and new discoveries. That’s not all, these new fields are technically complex and some of the most exciting the industry has ever seen.
So, with what looks like a bright future ahead, there are bountiful opportunities for the industry to grasp. The challenge now for the sector is to ensure that the talent supply can keep up. Amongst other things, the difficult decision to cut graduate schemes, apprenticeships and training during the downturn has left some firms in a tough position. Worryingly, as reported in this year’s Global Energy Talent Index (GETI), 48% of professionals are concerned about an impending talent emergency.
GETI shows that the engineering discipline has been the most impacted by cuts during the downturn, with mechanical engineers now the most sought after in the North Sea. This could have a huge influence on the region’s future, with half of working professionals citing that skills shortages are already being felt on the frontline. Respondents note that this will reduce productivity, decrease efficiency and increase costs. This could have unintended effects for companies looking to reduce spending.
So how can the North Sea industry tackle this? Respondents cite four main areas.
What’s more, while professionals still value salary, they are now placing similar importance on added career benefits, such as clear career progression and better training when making a career move, adding more pressure for companies. Other energy sectors, such as renewables and petrochemicals, have increased remuneration, reducing the gap with oil and gas.
But GETI also reveals that North Sea respondents still hold a torch for the oil and gas sector, with half stating they would still pursue a career in the sector now. And that says something.
The North Sea industry has a huge opportunity to be an exciting oil and gas hub for years to come, but it needs the right talent to make it a reality. If the industry can open the door to talent and offer exciting career progression and tempting training programmes, candidates can have the option to work on some of the most exciting projects, which will fuel the region for years to come.