LONDON – Staff numbers on UK offshore oil and gas installations fell by around 4,000 as the UK entered lockdown this March, according to a report by industry association Oil and Gas UK (OGUK).
Average weekly personnel on board decreased from roughly 11,000 on March 8 to just over 7,000 one month later, with drilling and engineering construction specialists said to have been the most affected.
The Workforce Insight report 2020 also highlighted the uptake of the UK government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, particularly in the supply chain, as companies positioned themselves to withstand low oil and gas prices as well as the operational impact of the pandemic.
Signs for offshore and onshore employment are concerning, OGUK added, with joint action needed by governments, industry and regulators on protecting the sector’s jobs and skills to safeguard the UK’s energy needs.
Dr. Alix Thom, the report author and OGUK’s workforce engagement and skills manager, said:
“Our figures confirm the initial operational impact of the lockdown back in March this year, with the number of workers offshore decreasing considerably in the space of a month as companies reduced to minimum manning in a bid to control the spread.
“Numbers have risen steadily since then as industry has adopted a robust Swiss cheese barrier model, with a range of preventative measures in place both prior to mobilization and whilst offshore, which has helped secure more jobs and increase operations in the immediate term.
“Despite this, we continue to see some very worrying signs for employment in the sector, with the uptake of furlough and continued suppression of global energy demand impacting our industry like many others in the wider economy.”