Experts at Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University say that by 2030, offshore wind and carbon capture could account for almost two thirds of jobs in the offshore energy sector, up from a fifth currently, with the workforce increasing from 160,000 now to at least 200,000.
The UK Offshore Energy Workforce Transferability Review examined roles in “decarbonised energies.”
An estimated £170 billion could be invested on capital and operating activities in the offshore energy sector between 2021 and 2030 in oil and gas, offshore wind, carbon capture utilisation and storage and hydrogen.
The Review warned that “reduced ambition, combined with lower activity level and accelerated decline in the oil and gas industry” could see the workforce in the sector drop to 140,000 by 2030.
However, more than 90% of those working in oil and gas have "medium to high skills transferability," making them well-positioned to work elsewhere in offshore energy.
Prof Paul de Leeuw, the review's lead author, said North East Scotland already had much of the skills base and infrastructure required for transition:
"With many of the skills and competencies required for the offshore energy sector highly interchangeable, transition offers a unique opportunity to create a net zero energy workforce."
Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, said:
“The SNP Government is wholly committed to ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change in a way that is fair for all, ensuring a green recovery and a just transition that supports green jobs, skills and expertise and leaves no-one behind”.
“Such a transition is critical for the energy sector and I welcome the findings of this review, which recognises that the knowledge and skills of the offshore oil and gas workforce are crucial to a successful and sustainable energy transition and to meeting the labour and skills needs of our growing renewables sector.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“This report shows that there is huge potential, but we must have a strategy in place to ensure the transition doesn’t lead to a decline in employment or salary levels.
“This is why the SNP Government’s Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan puts knowledge and skills at the heart of a systematic approach to retaining skills and expertise as we become a net-zero economy, led by our Minister for Just Transition.”