UK Offshore Energy Workforce Could Double by 2030, but Investment Needed
Posted 12/09/2023 12:29
A report from Robert Gordon University suggests that the UK offshore energy workforce could increase by 50% by the end of the decade, growing from approximately 150,000 to 225,000 jobs. This projection is based on the assumption that the renewable energy sector successfully transitions to a larger share of the energy mix.
However, the report also warns that if investment and activity in renewables do not significantly increase, up to 95,000 potential offshore energy jobs could be at risk. This situation is particularly concerning as the oil and gas sector is experiencing rapid decline.
The report emphasizes the importance of retaining the offshore oil and gas supply chain, workforce, and skillset over the next five years. This is necessary because the UK offshore renewables sector may not have the capacity to absorb the skilled workforce impacted by the projected decline in the oil and gas sector until later in the decade.
Professor Paul de Leeuw, director of the Robert Gordon University Energy Transition Institute, noted that there is a significant opportunity to expand the offshore energy job market, but inaction or slow progress could result in a 15% reduction in job numbers by 2030, making the path to net-zero emissions more challenging.
The report also suggests that a managed and just transition to renewables could see the oil and gas workforce decline from 120,000 to 87,000 by 2030, while a more rapid decline due to limited investment and reduced operational activities could reduce the workforce to around 60,000 by 2030.
The research identifies a "goldilocks zone" between 2024 and 2028 when the UK supply chain's capacity and capability can be sustained, developed, and invested in. This period is seen as crucial for the industry's growth.
Trade association Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) praised the report, emphasizing the importance of cooperation between various energy sectors to maintain skilled jobs in the UK.
The UK government, in response, stated its commitment to an orderly transition to net-zero emissions, emphasizing the attraction of significant investments in renewables and the growth of related industries. Private sector investment in renewables is expected to reach £100 billion by 2030, supporting up to 480,000 jobs, according to government projections.