Scotland’s oil and gas industry has a vibrant future.
Yes, there’s a sharp reduction in investment, in jobs and in projects but the strength of skills and experience built up over the decades will sustain the industry and ensure it remains a significant contributor to the Scottish economy for decades to come.
It’s now six months since the First Minister announced the creation of an Energy Jobs Taskforce to help support Scotland’s oil and gas sector through the current challenging period.
In that time the industry has undoubtedly continued to feel the impact of the volatile oil price and inevitably had to take significant action.
It is difficult to put an exact figure on the impact to date but our estimates would suggest something in the region of 5500 jobs are currently at risk or have already been lost.
Through the work of the Taskforce there’s been a concerted effort to make sure everything possible is being done to safeguard jobs and retain talent.
We can anticipate further challenging news in the months ahead and yesterday’s announcement from Bristow Helicopters provided the latest example of the possible impact on the supply chain.
It is therefore essential that we continue to extend maximum support to those directly impacted and planning is underway for a further jobs event in the North East late summer to ensure everyone has access to all of the options and outplacement support available to help them move forward into employment, new ventures, training or education.
Work across all six action areas of the Energy Jobs Taskforce plan continues at pace and members have pledged their ongoing commitment to laying solid foundations for a truly modernized industry that has clear leadership and common principles and values which underpin a new effective cost culture.
In the midst of all the gloomy headlines it would be easy to loose sight of the fact that Scotland remains a global oil and gas hub with a strong international reputation and it is absolutely critical that we focus on building on that for the long-term future of the sector in Scotland.
That future lies in an enhanced and sought-after global supply chain and over the last six months I’ve been struck by the resilience and determination throughout the company base.
There’s a strong appetite to implement significant changes that will drive forward a new and long-lasting approach to the cost of supply and increase efficiency and collectively we must make it happen.
Dr Lena Wilson is chair of Scotland’s Energy Jobs Taskforce and chief executive of Scottish Enterprise.
Dr Lena Wilson