The oil and gas industry is to set up a new academy to help secure a workforce to sustain the long-term future of the UK continental shelf (UKCS).
The academy will officially be known as the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation (OPITO), The Oil and Gas Academy. It will be funded by industry to provide support for UK oil and gas employers making investments in workforce development.
The UK’s energy minister, Malcolm Wicks, said: ‘It is essential that a workforce with the right skills and experience is maintained so that this vital industry can continue to make a significant contribution to energy production in the UK and to the export of oilfield goods and services around the world.’
The academy combines the financial resources of the Offshore Training Foundation (OTF) and the expertise of the Aberdeen-based OPITO team. It will work with schools, colleges and universities on a shared agenda of encouraging greater uptake of mathematics, science and engineering subjects.
‘This is a fantastic time to be working in the oil and gas sector,’ said Alex Salmond, first minister of Scotland. ‘Not just because the price of oil is almost $100 a barrel, although that helps. It’s because Scotland is at the heart of a truly global sector with new markets emerging, such as China and India, and rapid technological change bringing us exciting opportunities such as carbon capture.
‘Altogether the North Sea has produced the equivalent of just over 36 billion barrels of oil and it could still have at least 25 billion to come. With good management we expect the North Sea to continue to produce oil and gas for another 30 to 40 years.
‘The skills and dedication of our young professionals are crucial to our competitiveness and our ability to attract new investment. That's why I am delighted to welcome the launch of the oil and gas industry academy. Its work will help us to build the world-class skills required for the industry to thrive in Scotland and beyond.’