Offshore Europe in Aberdeen for the first time in four years coincides with growing momentum for the northeast to assert itself as the heart of the UK energy industry transition from traditional oil and gas to clean tech.

As the fittingly titled Harnessing The Potential roadmap by OEUK reports there’s the potential to unlock £90 billion of work for the offshore energy supply chain, supporting jobs, economic growth and innovation.

Recent government announcements have provided a clearer mandate that hydrocarbon exploration and production are central to energy security and supply and it’s not a case of making a choice between oil and gas or renewables. Now, and for the foreseeable future, we need both.

The programme for the show reflects the evolving nature of the industry and is packed with opportunities for learning, networking, purposeful collaboration, debate, questioning, and idea sharing. It strikes me as accessible and relevant for anyone who has an interest in the future of the UK energy industry and wants to be part of the transition in their professional lives. It feels more inclusive and a world away from the oilfield male dominated hospitality yee-ha of yester-year. There’s a session dedicated to Women in Energy – imagine how that would have been received in 1973!

For me, this Offshore Europe is all about the future, innovation, and people, and I’m particularly interested in the sessions during the conference led by X-Academy at the Future Talent Hub.

While there’s urgency for knowledge sharing around what’s happening in the energy industry and what the future of the industry looks like let’s not underestimate the significance of people meeting face-to-face and spontaneous relationship building that will lead to productive developments long after the show. People new to the city will be arriving and returning international guests will reconnect with the city, probably visiting the P&J Live for the first time since it opened.

I hope the city’s hospitality and retail sectors have a bumper week and that our energy guests return home talking up the warm reception they received and remarking on the quality of our local food and drink scene. Haste ye back!

Amanda McCulloch

Amanda McCulloch

Those of us living, working, and studying in the northeast can easily see the evidence of the renewables sector, whether it is solar panels appearing on rooftops, an abundance of electric cars on roads, not to mention the ground source heat pumps being installed in new build houses and the wind farms we can see off the coast of Aberdeen.

Does this make us take the energy industry for granted, overlooked as a career choice by future generations?

Published in April 2022, the Positive Futures report, which was put together by DYW North East and DYW Moray, highlights that there is work to be done to target the workers of the future.

I was not overly surprised to learn that 71% of the young people surveyed are not interested in oil and gas, I was shocked to read that 61% are also not interested in renewables.

These are statistics that need to be reversed and we should be shipping every young person in the region to Offshore Europe to ignite their interest in every area of the energy industry, whether that is a traditional oil and gas role or one of the newer roles emerging in the renewables industry.

Many of the roles which support the energy supply chain can easily transfer from one sector to another. The industry’s needs in areas including HR, accountancy and finance, office support and QHSE are broadly universal and as renewables and sustainability focused technical job types evolve, we understand more about how these personnel are also able to move within the industry, from maintenance technicians to hydrogen specialists.

The professional experience and knowledge cultivated over the past 50 years is invaluable and unrivalled. It can’t be allowed to dissipate. The first Offshore Europe was staged against a background of massive promise for the oil and gas industry in Scotland. Although decades apart in time, and focused on different technologies, we all hope that we’re on the cusp of transformative change which is as compelling as it is enduring.

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