OGA Reiterates Need to Protect Jobs and Skills in UK Industry

The UK's Oil & Gas Authority said Monday that it was continuing to encourage the country's industry to carry on with the development of staff and skills in spite of the challenges caused by the lower oil price.

As part of its Call to Action: Six Months On update, the OGA stated that "it is vital that companies continue to invest in training and developing people, securing the skills and expertise the industry needs to create a positive future". It said that it was encouraging companies to retain apprenticeship, trainee and graduate programs.

The OGA noted that the UK oil and gas industry has seen the loss of around 5,500 jobs since late 2014. But it said that it was working with groups such as the Scottish Energy Jobs Task Force to help firms consider all possible alternatives to redundancy in order to retain capability in the UK.

"Work continues with individual companies, industry organizations and trade unions to make sure the OGA remains informed of the reality facing employers and their staff, and is able to provide and encourage a progressive approach," the update stated.

OGA Chief Executive Andy Samuel noted in a statement accompanying the update that "rapid progress" has been made with the new government-funded seismic program and that a GBP 1.3 billion ($2 billion) package of new fiscal measures announced by HM Treasury in March is securing investment in new development projects.

"Our oil and gas industry supports around 375,000 jobs, provides secure energy for our homes and businesses, and generates billions of pounds for our economy every year, at home and through exports overseas. Government, industry and the OGA must continue to work together to increase the competitiveness of this vital sector and maintain the significant benefits it brings to the UK," Samuels added.

Oil & Gas UK, the association that represents the interests of the industry in the UK, said Monday that it welcomed the progress by the OGA.

"The industry is facing challenging times and the OGA's drive towards cooperation between companies, improved stewardship of Britain's oil and gas reserves and faster licensing process will help deliver the transformational change that is required to create a sustainable business in a world of lower oil prices," Oil & Gas UK Chief Executive Deidre Michie commented in a statement.

"The sector has made a great economic contribution – having delivered 43 billion barrels of oil equivalent [boe] of production, paid over GBP 330 billion in tax and supported hundreds of thousands of skilled jobs – and huge potential remains with over 20 billion boe remaining to be extracted.

"Alongside Treasury's work to restructure the tax regime and the industry's focus on increasing efficiency and reducing costs, the OGA's work is crucial to the success of tri-partite approach to maximising recovery of the UK's oil and gas and we welcome the opportunity to work with OGA to help shape the industry's future."

A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at jmainwaring@rigzone.com


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