Oil & Gas Division to become the Energy Transition Group

7 Jan 2020

Five years ago the Petroleum and Drilling Engineering Division of IOM3 decided to rebrand as the Oil and Gas Division to better reflect the breadth of skills of members working in the Oil and Gas industries. At the time none of us could have known how rapidly the debate on climate change, fossil fuels, renewable energy and a net-zero carbon future would rise up the political agenda. Fast forward to 2020 and over 100 years of conventional oil and gas production in the UK, it is clear that society is demanding action to reduce global temperature warming and move to a low carbon, less polluting energy economy. Energy generation in all forms, be it power, heating, or transport, has a pre-eminent role to play in that.

Which is not to say that oil, and gas in particular, will not continue to be an important part of the energy mix during the transition. But even those of us who have made our careers in the industry realise that the time has come to work more closely with Governments, research, academia, and those in the wider energy industries to bring about change in a sustainable way that safeguards the future of the planet whilst meeting societal energy needs.

That is why the Oil & Gas Division Board have taken the decision to become the Energy Transition Group. Firstly, Energy Transition is now the widely used term to describe the challenge ahead. Both the UK Oil and Gas Authority regulator, and the Oil and Gas UK industry body now have an Energy Transition policy, and we feel that IOM3 needs to reflect that more explicitly. In addition, many of the major companies traditionally associated with the Oil and Gas sector are now playing a major role in technology development and providing capability for installation of the required process and transportation facilities associated with the drive to lower carbon emissions and cleaner energy. A good example of this is carbon capture use and storage. Secondly, a search of Whatuni.com shows that whilst 20 UK universities offer a total of 49 courses (undergraduate and post graduate) in Oil and Gas, for renewables the numbers stand at 39 and 62 respectively. For courses in energy, the numbers are higher still, with 67 universities offering 192 courses. Clearly these students are more likely to come across an IOM3 Energy Transition Group than the Oil and Gas Division as they look to a professional body to represent them. Finally, the recent IOM3 restructuring of the Industry and Technology Board to a Technology Communities Board under the guidance of eight Strategic Advisors has been designed to encourage greater cross-community collaboration and calling ourselves a “Group” rather than a “Division” seems an obvious way to break down perceived barriers to that.

While some long-standing Oil and Gas members may have reservations about the change, there is still very much a place for these members in the new Group. To that end, it is proposed to hold a one-day seminar in 2020 to explore what Energy Transition means and what role IOM3 can play in it.

Andrew Sturgeon, Oil and Gas Division chair,  2015-19

Energy Transition Group microsite