Last month, I blogged on worries within the oil and gas industry that it could be running out of workers.
Executives have been worried for a while that their workforces are getting older, with a lack of new talent coming in to replace retiring staff. Instead, young engineers and other bright graduates who are looking for a career in industry are heading for the much more sexy green energy sector.
A total of 144 new licences have been granted to explore oil and gas off the UK coast today. But the industry isn’t happy – 99 have been held back for further assessments on the likely ecological impact.
Oil & Gas UK said:
We note with concern that a further 99 blocks have been held back, awaiting the results of environmental assessments being carried out by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). We would urge the government to conclude this process as quickly as possible to allow prospective licensees to move ahead swiftly with investment in new exploration activity.
Is this the first evidence that the BP spill is going to make governments across the world more wary before awarding such licences in future, even for other reasons than safety concerns?
At least that was the message from a new report published today by Oil & Gas UK and written by Pöyry Energy Consulting.
The report’s authors reckon the government’s commitment to renewables is coming at the detriment to affordability, security and decarbonisation. They say the target of providing 15 per cent of energy from renewables by 2020 should be pushed back and gas should be used to help bring down carbon levels in the meantime.
This may not be an easy argument for the industry to win. The Russian-Ukrainian row of 2009 has left a lasting impression to those in western Europe that gas is simply not a secure way of providing our energy needs.