Photo: Illustration; Source: Eni

UK oil industry welcomes gov’t measures to save jobs

The UK’s offshore oil and gas industry’s representative body Oil and Gas UK has welcomed the introduction of the Job Retention Bonus and other moves by the country’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to support trainees and jobs for young people.

Rishi Sunak; Source: UK Parliament
Rishi Sunak; Source: UK Parliament

On Wednesday, the Chancellor revealed a new Job Retention Bonus to encourage companies to keep on workers furloughed due to the COVID-19 impact on the economy.

According to a statement by the UK government, it will introduce a one-off payment of £1,000 (around $1,260) to UK employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021. In total, 9.4 billion pounds will be used for the scheme.

The scheme aims to provide a financial incentive to employers to bring furloughed staff back to work and keep them on over the coming months as an alternative to redundancy.

The unprecedented Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has so far supported over one million employers to protect over 9 million jobs. The scheme has been open since March and will wind down flexibly and gradually, supporting businesses until October.

It is important that people who have been furloughed are supported back to work. It is beneficial for everyone, including the individual, to prevent skills from fading and to maintain strong employment relationships.

Therefore, the government is introducing a new Job Retention Bonus to reward and incentivize employers who keep on their furloughed employees“, the UK government stated.

Creating jobs

During his Summer Economic Update in Parliament, the Chancellor announced a package of measures to support jobs in every part of the country.

The plan for jobs is the second part of a three-phase plan to secure the UK’s economic recovery from coronavirus.

One of the important parts of the plan focuses on creating tens of thousands of jobs through bringing forward work on £8.8 billion of new infrastructure, decarbonisation, and maintenance projects.

Illustration; Source: BP
Illustration; Source: BP

This includes a £3 billion green investment package that could help support around 140,000 green jobs and upgrade buildings and reduce emissions.

Another such programme is a £1 billion scheme which will make public buildings, including schools and hospitals, greener – helping the country meet its ambitions of achieving Net Zero by 2050.

The government also decided to provide funds for a technology that is becoming ever more present in the world. Namely, it will provide £100 million of new funding for researching and developing Direct Air Capture, a new clean technology which captures CO2 from the air.

UK’s oil and gas sector cheers

The UK’s offshore oil and gas industry, through its representative body – the OGUK – welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of support for employers.

OGUK said in a separate announcement that the UK faces a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver moves to a lower carbon and more diverse energy mix. The organisation stated that this would reinforce the importance of the sector deal currently being discussed with the UK Government.

OGUK chief executive Deirdre Michie said: “The Chancellor’s announcement provides welcome support for companies in the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry affected by the immediate impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Deirdre Michie; Source: Oil and Gas UK
Deirdre Michie; Source: Oil and Gas UK

The continued volatility facing our sector, however, underlines the need for long-term and targeted support. In devastating circumstances, the UK now faces a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to realize an energy transition that delivers affordable energy, supports jobs and enables our industry to put our skills to work to help cut emissions.

Industry’s Roadmap 2035 offers a sensible blueprint which keeps net-zero firmly on the agenda while also supporting energy communities to embrace new opportunities including carbon capture and hydrogen.

Regarding Direct Air Capture Michie added: “Today’s funding for Direct Air Capture of CO2 is a welcome step in the right direction as part of the wider development and roll-out of carbon capture and storage, and we look forward to continuing our work with the government to realize the full potential of our sector in delivering the UK’s energy future”.

One such major carbon capture and storage project under development is the Acorn CCS project offshore UK.

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