The UK oil and gas industry will need to recruit 40,000 people over the next 20 years in a best case scenario, according to a new report.
Skills body OPITO, in partnership with the Robert Gordon University, has produced a workforce dynamics review, setting out the skills requirements for the industry.
The research will inform a new skills strategy for the sector, being led by OPITO.
It states that the industry could support 130,000 jobs in 2035, if the UK Government’s vision for the sector is achieved.
That would involve recruiting 40,000 people, including 10,000 in new areas such as data science and robotics.
Over 80,000 people are likely to retire or leave the sector for other reasons by 2035, according to the document.
In 2017, the sector directly and indirectly supported 170,000 roles, with the drop to 130,000 representing a decline rate of less than 1.5% per year.
The Oil and Gas Authority is aiming to maximise economic recovery, producing an additional three billion barrels of oil per day.
The scenario also includes greatly increasing international exports.
However, if this is not achieved, the review states jobs supported in the industry could be around 65,000.
John McDonald, CEO of OPITO said: “As the industry emerges from the downturn, it is crucial that we take a longer term look at the future UK oil and gas skills requirements. A new skills strategy will help us to take action now to prepare for emerging roles and ensure the existing workforce is being given opportunities to up-skill.
“Whilst total employment will fall over the next two decades, this will be a more gradual process than the sharp hit experienced over the last three years. If the industry can work together to achieve ambitions around production and energy diversification, tens of thousands more roles can be safeguarded and our industry will continue to be one of the key industrial sectors in the UK for years to come.”
Professor Paul de Leeuw, Director of the RGU Oil and Gas Institute, said: “Technology, innovation and the transition to a lower carbon future will re-shape the sector. With over 40,000 people potentially entering the industry over the next 20 years and with a substantial proportion of the workforce to be up-skilled, there is a critical role for training providers, vocational institutes and universities to help future-proof the sector and to ensure the UK retains its reputation as a leading energy basin.”