Drilling contractors' association calls for cooperation for UK's energy transition program

International association calls for cooperation for UK’s energy transition program

The North Sea Chapter of the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) is calling on the Scottish and UK Governments and the oil and gas industry to cooperate to better effect and ensure the sector takes a balanced, long-term approach to the energy transition.

Drilling contractors' association calls for cooperation for UK's energy transition program
Illustration; Source: North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA)

The move comes in response to North Sea Transition Authority’s (NSTA) report that a wave of new opportunities for the UK offshore supply chain will be created by projects, following a study conducted with the Global Underwater Hub (GUH).

With oil and gas supporting 75 per cent of the UK’s energy requirements, IADC believes a longer-term outlook is needed in order to secure jobs across the industry, stabilize the UK economy and ensure a safe transition to cleaner energy.

“The recently announced projects represent a fraction of what is truly needed to meet growing UK energy demands, as well as strengthen regional energy security, but frustratingly only amounts to minimal opportunities for drilling contractors,” said Darren Sutherland, Chair of the IADC North Sea Chapter.

“The oil and gas industry is aware of the environmental need to change the way the sector operates, however it is a process that is likely to take decades to achieve and will involve all areas of industry, including drilling contractors. The transition to cleaner energy has to be done safely, sensibly and securely in terms of the national economy, national energy supply and protection of jobs across the UK.”

According to IADC, the offshore sector is expected to employ 200,000 people in the UK over the next decade, and the long-term implications of changes in the industry make it vital to undertake this process at a pace that is cognisant of the job security and retraining required of this highly specialized workforce.

The non-profit trade association believes that the success of the transition can only be delivered by maintaining security that includes an active drilling and production programme on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

The call from the IADC also follows Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) saying more support is necessary for supply chain companies helping sustain oil and gas activity while the UK works towards producing low-carbon energy.

Related Article

“The experience, knowledge and ingenuity of workers from the far north of Scotland to the south of England is driving the energy transition in a similar way that generations before them built the oil and gas industry into the crucial economic driver it has become,” Stuart Clow, IADC Regional Director, said.

Clow added that the North Sea continues to be a significant source of the UK’s energy supply, and drilling contractors are ready to work with operators and the government to ensure that supply is not interrupted.

“We are already seeing a migration of drilling rigs and equipment to other areas of the world which in turn reduces drilling and decommissioning capability in the North Sea and other areas. Data shows more than 30 jack-up rigs have migrated from Asia, the Americas and Europe to the Middle East over the past year.”

All this is partly why encouraging business, responsibly developing all forms of energy and supporting the offshore supply chain in the North Sea are of the utmost importance, Clow concluded.