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Offshore irony

It seems like only yesterday that we were reading horror stories about the lack of skilled people in the offshore sector. Indeed, the oil and gas industry and the Government in Scotland have been making great efforts to plan for the future given talk of needing to renew the entire ageing O&G workforce in Scotland as well as to grow it over the next 20 years.

How ironic therefore to read in January’s Nautilus Telegraph that a new study into the UK offshore sector during the next 5 years is warning of the loss of 35,000 jobs.

The report, titled “Fuelling the next generation: a study of the UK upstream oil and gas workforce,” says employment in the sector could fall from 375,000 to 340,000 by 2019 if exploration and production continues to decline at current rates. It does also say that the potential job losses could be offset by the need to recruit 12,000 new workers for decommissioning projects.

This is a worrying piece of news for the UK, where oil and gas firms employ 1 in every 80 workers, with average salaries of £64,000 compared with the national average of £26,500.

All this goes to show yet again that volatility isn’t good for most of us. Whilst volatility might suit speculators and traders, price falls and rises – particularly oil – always have winners and losers. As they say, ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’. Bring back the boredom I say!

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