According to the Bank of Scotland’s third annual report on the UK oil and gas sector, the next two years could see the creation of 39,000 new jobs.
Surveying 100 UK oil and gas companies for their views on the prospects for 2014/15, the report highlights an industry-wide growth in expectation for job creation compared with last year.
Hot on the heels of the Chancellor’s announcement of significant tax breaks for more difficult offshore operations, improved confidence from industry executives has pushed this figure up by 5,000 from the 34,000 cited in 2013.
Approximately 69% of oil and gas executives who were questioned expressed confidence in the sector’s growth prospects for the coming two years, though this falls slightly short of the 77% recorded last year.
The report is sure to reaffirm expectations of a sustained boom in Scotland and the North East of England, though some concerns remain over the declining investment potential of ageing North Sea fields.
Similarly, more than a third (38%) of those questioned reflect upon a shortage of skilled workers as the main hindrance to further growth, up by 5 percentage points from 2013.
Stuart White, commercial area director at Bank of Scotland was keen to highlight that “positive action” was being taken to address the shortfall in skilled workers. Indeed, new specialist apprentice programmes alongside industry-and-higher-education-partnerships look set to capitalise on this opportunity.
Overseas expansion ‘a priority’
With a projected decline in output from domestic fields over the coming decades, many UK firms are looking abroad for more profitable investment potential.
Almost two-thirds of company executives suggested that international expansion was a significant priority for future growth, with Africa, North America, and the Middle East being highlighted as prime locations for investment.
Up from 59% last year, White pointed out that expertise gained from the challenging North Sea environment enables British firms to make use of their expertise in “markets with the largest levels of recoverable reserves”.
Benefit to Scotland
With the significant majority of UK oil and gas firms based around Aberdeen, Scotland looks set to benefit proportionally more than the rest of the UK from the newly created jobs.
Potentially a massive boost to the ‘yes vote’ for Scottish independence, the report highlights the significant value of the country’s natural resources.