Renewables to fuel North Sea jobs boom

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THE North Sea is in line for another major jobs boom as almost a third more oil and gas companies prepare to expand into renewables within the next five years.

According to a report by Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, out tomorrow, 26 per cent of oil and gas firms are already taking advantage of opportunities offered by the burgeoning marine and offshore wind industries.

That figure is expected to rise to 55 per cent over the next three to five years while it is believed almost three quarters of oil and gas companies will be involved in renewables in some capacity within two decades.

Ed Wilson, head of renewable energy at the bank, said the skills learnt from fabricating and installing rigs off Aberdeen are highly relevant to offshore wind and marine energy businesses.

Healthy and safety know-how is also in strong demand, he said. “Scotland is in many respects the perfect place for the oil and gas community to develop a niche within the renewables sector, as those looking for solutions are increasingly turning to those with experience for help.”

While there are mixed views about the remaining life-span of the North Sea oil and gas industry, Wilson said companies are prudently looking at which alternative sources of energy governments are supporting and seeking to diversify.

However, he said the move to renewables would be about job creation rather than replacing jobs in traditional oil and gas activities.

Niall Stuart, chief executive of industry body Scottish Renewables, said: “We have known for some time that oil and gas companies were diversifying into offshore renewables and this report helps quantify the benefits that expansion is bringing to Scotland.”

According to the research, the trend is benefiting both small, innovative firms and oil and gas majors.