Over 200 business leaders, government officials and members of the press gathered last week at the Aberdeen Council and Shire Economic Future conference to discuss ‘Securing Investment for Success'.
They heard Rod Christie, CEO Subsea Systems, GE Oil & Gas, speak about the significant opportunity for growth in the subsea sector in the UK over the coming years.
“The oil and gas Industry is now developing extremely complex and advanced technical solutions here in Aberdeen and across the UK that will meet the challenges of safely recovering deep-sea oil and gas reserves,” Christie explained. “Growth in the subsea industry is currently outstripping other energy sectors and we can expect it to continue into the medium to long term.”
According to the UK government, oil & gas is one of the largest investors among UK industrial sectors: it currently supports about 450,000 jobs across the UK economy and the scale of the supply chain is reflected by an estimated annual turnover of £16bn.
Exploration and recovery of oil and gas reserves in the North Sea have created demand in the UK for new subsea engineering solutions to help address the challenges of safe and reliable performance in deep-water production projects.
The experience gained from these projects in the UK will enable the industry to support a vital export market by meeting similar demand from around the world.
Christie continued: “The competence of skills and the quality of technology, particularly of those in the subsea sector here in Aberdeen, are very much in demand globally. With the UK oil and gas export business currently estimated at more than £5bn a year, we have the potential to sustain the domestic industry well beyond the life of the UK Continental Shelf.”
However, a report out last week said that Aberdeen must attract 120,000 recruits – the equivalent of the city’s current workforce – if it is to realise its potential as a global energy capital. Accountants firm PwC said the recruits are needed by 2022, as almost half the industry’s workforce is now over 45.
Christie concluded: “The opportunity is clear but for it to be realised Aberdeen will need to take action now and be brave about long term planning and investment decisions in education, infrastructure, and housing to cope with and sustain the levels of growth that the offshore oil & gas industry can provide”