Forty Thousand new Oil and Gas Jobs by 2035 in the North Sea Region

May 20, 2018

A new critical study by OPTI and RGU estimates forty thousand new oil and gas jobs by 2035 in the North Sea region …

OPITO and Robert Gordon University recently conducted a study that found an estimated 40,000 workers will need to be recruited for North Sea-based oil and gas projects over the next twenty years. Furthermore, in this region alone, there are at least 20 billion barrels of recoverable resources, and OPITO claims there will be around 10,000 new roles in the basin by 2035 as operating companies will want to take full advantage of this fruitful area. And if this good news isn’t enough to celebrate about, hundreds more jobs will be sustained or created over the next few years in Scotland thanks to backing from the OGIC (Oil and Gas Innovation Centre), who are expected to support 61 projects that could deliver up to almost £9m Gross Value Added to the industry in the next decade.

The chief executive of Wood Group, a major oil and gas company, has affirmed his faith in the North Sea’s prospects for growth. The Aberdeen engineering giant clearly believes in the promise of the North Sea to deliver substantially in the future, as they currently have 4,000 of their 55,000 employees based in the North Sea business – that’s over 7% of their workforce! Wood Group helps develop, operate and maintain facilities in the North Sea, and have done for years, remaining a major player in the oil services market. “We do see activity levels increasing,” said the chief executive, who noted that the company anticipates growth in the North Sea as early as later this year.

Over the next twenty years, North Sea oil and gas firms are expected to recruit 40,000 workers, thousands of which will be for high value jobs, amid huge changes in the sector as technological advances create demand for new positions and new types of jobs. For example, numerous fields will be maturing and reaching their life expectancy, which will result in increased decommissioning activity in the area. The best-case scenario will assume the plan to maximise recovery from the North Sea to lead to an outcome where the basin, after 70 years of production by 2035, can still produce 700,000 – 1 million bpd.

The OGA (Oil and Gas Authority) aim to improve oil recovery in the North Sea by 3-billion barrels by 2035. This foreseen upturn in industry activity has, no doubt, come around thanks to oil and gas operators dipping into their pockets for modifications and advanced, unique technology that was originally avoided during the oil-market crisis. Drones and other high-tech solutions are an example of suggestions which the industry experts have made to decrease the costs of operating in the North Sea.

“Combined with a drive for a lower carbon economy and an increased use of technology and automation, the potential impact on the number and types of jobs required to support the industry … could be material.” – Mr Robin Watson, Wood Group Chief Executive.

This turn of events within the industry is highly welcomed as it indicates better things lie ahead regarding the development of oil and gas projects, following the flatlining of activity triggered by the drop in the price of oil over the last four years. This brutal downturn forced energy firms internationally to scrap something similar to 70,000 jobs at the time. The increasing price of crude since the end of 2016 has also positively contributed to this upturn of events, as industry players took great measures to cut costs whilst increasing efficiency.

Most recently, Norwegian oil and gas operator, Statoil – soon to be possibly renamed Equinor – have recruited 2,400 people to work on the hook-up, finalization and eventual start-up of the Johan Sverdrup platforms to the existing oil field in the North Sea. This project is one of the five largest oil fields on the Norwegian continental shelf with expected resources of up to 3.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent. The floating accommodation vessel was due to deliver at least 150 people last weekend to the giant oil field, which is expected to be in production for upwards of half a century. As soon as “Safe Zephyrus”, Statoil’s flotel, arrived at its destination of Johan Sverdrup, the first work to be done was finalising the riser platform (the first topside installed), which will be closely followed by hook-up preparations for the drilling platform. The next topside is due to arrive at the beginning of June this year and Phase 2 is expected to start up in just 4 years’ time with peak production of 660,000 bpd!

With the Oil and gas market expanding significantly in the North Sea over the next few years, Mentor IMC Group expect a high demand for workers with North Sea and offshore experience. Send us your CV to be considered for all future oil and gas job opportunities!


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