Developed in partnership with industry, the strategy offers investment confidence and security by setting out a clear path to exploit the UK’s remaining resources and overcome an increasingly challenging production environment.
The action points and programmes already underway include the following:
- Maintaining a fiscal regime that encourages investment and innovation in the UK Continental Shelf. This includes guarantees on tax relief for decommissioning as announced by the Treasury in last week’s budget.
- Developing the UK supply chain further so that UK supply chain firms can build on the £27 billion of revenues which they already generate in the UK. Fabrication has been identified as one area to target to ensure the UK remains competitive in domestic and international markets.
- Provision of specialist support from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to look at how the UK supply chain can increase exports in the sector, building on the increased funding of £140 million announced in the Autumn Statement to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) export abroad. This is to capitalise on high value opportunities in markets such as Brazil, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
- Filling the skills gap, which is seen as one of the biggest challenges facing the oil and gas industry, especially for SMEs. Work is underway to develop and match the skills needed within the industry and see how future or existing programmes can help.
Addressing the skills shortage of mid-level career engineers. The industry expects it will require an additional 15,000 staff over the next 4-5 years across a range of disciplines. Government and industry will look at establishing a national programme to retrain ex-military personnel to enable them to be redeployed in the oil and gas industry. Ex-military personnel often have the skills the industry looks for and have successfully transitioned into the sector.
As part of this, £7 million has been given to Newcastle University through the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to establish the Neptune National Centre for Subsea and Offshore Engineering. The Neptune research and development centre will act as a place for industry and academia to interact, providing crucial infrastructure for emerging research opportunities. The Neptune Centre will also have a strong element of developing highly skilled graduates to help address key skill shortages.
- Encouraging more technological advancement through research and development, which will enable industry to better understand complex reservoirs, reduce drilling costs, improve efficiency and enhance production.
- Raising the profile of Britain’s growing oil and gas sector, to foster innovation and attract the best talent, including the imminent launch of an Oil & Gas UK campaign to raise awareness among the general public.
- Developing work between the financial services’ sector and industry to address challenges of access to finance. The government’s ‘business bank’ will help small and mid-sized businesses access finance including by communicating existing schemes.
To read the strategy go to the GOV.UK website