UK oil industry jobs predicted to fall by 120,000 by year end

Jobs supported by the UK's offshore industry will have fallen by an estimated 120,000 by the end of the year when compared with the peak employment recorded in 2014.

Oil & Gas UK said it was "impossible" to underestimate the impact of falling oil prices. Picture: PA

The bleak jobs forecast has been released by the industry trade body Oil & Gas UK, who suggested it was impossible to underestimate the impact the falling oil price has had on workers and their families.

The analysis, carried out by marketing services company Experian, looked at a period that has seen the price of oil fall more than half to around $50 a barrel since 2014.

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It was in 2014 when jobs linked to the sector peaked at over 450,000. Jobs supported fell by an estimated 84,000 to around 370,000 in 2015, and are forecast to have fallen a further 40,000 by the end of this year.

In total just over 330,000 jobs in the UK will be delivered through or supported by oil and gas production. The jobs are across the UK country and cover direct employment by companies extracting crude oil and natural gas as well as supply chain companies who directly support this activity.

Also included in the job losses is indirect employment provided by those who export services overseas and jobs created by the sector’s spending in the wider economy, such as in hotels, catering and taxis.

Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, said: “We cannot underestimate the impact the global downturn in the industry is having on the UK economy, nor the personal toll for those who have lost their jobs, and the effect on their families and colleagues. “

Next week industry representatives will meet at the Oil and Gas UK’s annual conference in Aberdeen to consider how it copes with the downturn and emerge in a competitive form that will safeguard the 330,000 plus jobs it still supports.

The Labour Economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “These are stark figures which underline the scale of the oil jobs crisis. “In the short term we need to support workers. The SNP’s flagship training fund has not delivered anywhere near enough support..“
Last night a Scottish Government spokesman said: “While oil prices have been recovering from their previous low levels and there is some improvement in investor sentiment, this remains a challenging time for the industry and the workforce, as these latest figures show. We are engaging closely with the industry, trade unions and regulator to overcome the current challenges to ensure a long term future for the sector.

“These figures highlight the significant footprint of the oil and gas sector across the economy of the UK and a significant impact on Scotland. We are focused on creating a competitive and supportive business environment and promoting innovation.”