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Talkin’ about an evolution

Talkin’ about an evolution


Against a backdrop of shifting societal expectations and growing climate change concerns, it’s critical that we, as an industry, are able to articulate the long-term future of the sector and its critical role in helping the UK in achieving its net-zero ambitions.

This is particularly important when it comes to attracting the next generation of talent to our industry. 

Although we continue to emerge from one of the most challenging downturns in our history, 2019 marked a watershed year for our industry with the launch of Roadmap 2035, one of the first major industrial responses to government plans to reduce or offset carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 in the UK and 2045 in Scotland. It recognises the critical contribution that our indigenous oil and gas industry makes to the UK in terms of a secure energy supply, thousands of jobs, and millions of pounds in taxes, while also showing that the industry will be crucial as the UK moves to a low carbon economy.

The Roadmap identifies five key themes requiring industry, government and regulator action to ensure the sector can thrive. These five themes include:

  • Supporting net zero;
  • Helping meet UK energy demand;
  • Developing people and skills;
  • Driving technology and innovation;
  • and Growing the economy and exports

The theme encompassing people and skills will be key. We know that the oil and gas skills landscape will look very different in future, even by 2025, and the Roadmap sets out the importance of working together as an industry to support the existing workforce with training and development opportunities as well as a plan for competing with other industries for future talent.

Advances in the energy transition as well as new technology and internationalisation means we will see new ways of working in the oil and gas sector and the introduction of roles that don’t currently exist. According to OPITO and RGU’s Skills Landscape Report, expertise will be needed in areas such as data science, data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and cyber security, to name a few. These new skillsets will be key to driving industry forward and ensuring a successful future.

Overall, the Roadmap sets the strategic backdrop for a compelling and positive story about our robust and dynamic industry. Positive both for those already working in the industry and for future industry talent, who can have fulfilling long-term careers in this sector. Positive, too, for external stakeholders, who can now assess evidence that we’re very much part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, in the context of climate change.

The move to a lower carbon economy is an exciting opportunity for the industry, as opposed to a challenge. With oil and gas estimated to still be providing around 50 percent of the world’s primary energy needs by 2040, this industry has an important role to play alongside other energy sectors in enabling the transition to a lower carbon energy mix.

The industry is incredibly agile when responding to change and has demonstrated its ability to pioneer ingenious solutions to some of today’s greatest challenges like innovative subsea expertise used to extract oil and gas from remote locations.  

I would encourage those considering a career here to grasp the opportunity the industry provides with open arms. With energy systems evolving rapidly, this is an incredibly important time to play a key role both in the UK and also globally.  It’s a chance for our industry and workforce to shape how energy will look in the future.

It’s a fascinating time in our industry’s continuing story and I urge those thinking of an exciting career to consider joining our diverse and talented workforce as we focus on delivering a net-zero basin by 2050.

Sophie Guy-Pearson,
Lead Business Adviser,

Published: 04-02-2020

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