NORTH Sea energy sector jobs will fall by at least 20% in the coming years without urgent investment in the clean technologies needed to create a net-zero offshore energy system.
The warning comes after research carried out by the Aberdeen-based OGTC and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE Catapult).
It found early investment is essential – up to £416bn over the next 30 years – to unlock potential value of £125bn per year for the UK economy and support up to 232,000 jobs.
Investing in clean energy technologies to accelerate the growth of floating offshore wind, green and blue hydrogen and carbon capture can deliver £125bn annually to the UK – up 200% from today.
They have set out three possible net zero situations for the North Sea sector which have been modelled on the Committee on Climate Change’s Further Ambition scenario.
Each sees the UK achieve its net-zero goal by 2050, using a combination of energy solutions to meet demand, but delivering greatly differing levels of economic benefits and green jobs.
In the Emerging scenario, renewable energy plays an increasing role, with gas still a significant contributor to the offshore energy mix and a significant requirement for carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Colette Cohen OBE, OGTC chief executive officer, said: “These detailed scenarios paint a picture of what the UK’s offshore energy system could look like by 2050.
“None are definitive, but they highlight the need to drive investment and innovation today. There are tremendous opportunities for the UK, but we need strong alignment and urgent action from industry, governments, and regulators to realise these benefits.”
Andrew Jamieson, ORE Catapult chief executive officer, said: “The UK leads the world in offshore renewable energy and we now have a very real opportunity to capitalise on this and reshape an economy around green energy.
“Leveraging the innovation, skills, experience and investment of our oil and gas industry is imperative to seizing this moment, to protect and create thousands of jobs and deliver net-zero”.