Oil and gas ‘still support 330,000 jobs’

Deirdre Michie

About 330,000 jobs across the UK are currently supported by the offshore oil and gas industry, down from a peak of about 450,000 jobs in 2014, according to Oil & Gas UK’s Economic Report 2016.

But Oil & Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie said the Scottish and UK Governments need to lead campaigns for fresh investment in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

The report said £330 billion had been paid in corporate taxes since production began on the (UKCS).

More than 43 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) have been recovered since first production in 1967 and UK Oil & Gas believes there are still between 10 billion and 20 billion more to be recovered.

The report from the trade body said industry efficiencies are driving a 45% drop in the cost of extracting a barrel of oil or gas from the UKCS.

It said production was up by 10.4% in 2015, the first increase in 15 years, but that major challenges remain, with record low exploration and a lack of capital investment.

Nonetheless, Oil & Gas UK said the report demonstrated the tenacity of the UK offshore oil and gas industry despite difficult market conditions.

Deirdre Michie, Oil & Gas UK chief executive, said: “The UKCS is in urgent need of fresh investment to boost exploration and drive activity, particularly for the supply chain.

“Exploration has fallen to record lows and little new investment has been approved in 2016 and 2017 looks no better.

“Increased asset trading is one area that could free up new investment by facilitating the trading of late-life assets.

“In light of this I am calling on governments today to vigorously champion the UK’s oil and gas industry, by providing certainty in our fiscal regime, encouraging new entrants to the market and recognising our supply chain as vitally important to the economy.

“The evidence in the report demonstrates what our industry can achieve when the basin’s competitiveness is addressed and the tax regime reformed.

“Now it is time for the UK and Scottish Governments to reinforce their efforts to promote the UKCS, nationally and internationally, as an attractive investment with world leading capability from front end exploration to late life operations.”