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News: UK's oil and gas industry to create 85,000 jobs over next 3 years

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14th Jan 2013
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The UK’s oil and gas industry is forecast to create 50,000 new jobs this year, with another 35,000 likely to be added in the shale gas sector over the next 24 to 36 months.

The jobs “boom” will cover roles ranging from engineers and drillers to geologists and support services staff and will take the total number of workers employed by the UK’s chunk of the North Sea to nearly half a million.   Kevin Forbes, chief executive of recruitment agency, www.oilandgaspeople.com, which conducted the research, told the Independent: “There’s been a lot of talk about the North Sea being in decline, but employment is booming at the moment.”   On the one hand, decommissioning projects were taking off as they came to the end of their life. On the other, the consistently high oil price, tax changes and new technology have “made it economically viable to extend the life of existing projects and start new ones”, Forbes added.   As a result, demand for qualified staff was “set to reach an all-time high”, he said.   But the situation would, in turn, aggravate an “already serious skills shortage, a problem that is being further exacerbated as UK candidates head abroad to earn even higher wages, with a huge demand for qualified ex-pats globally”, Forbes told the BBC.   The average wage for worker in the North Sea is already £64,000 per annum, more than twice the national average.   But expansion in the area is being fuelled by record levels of investment, with about £40 billion being pumped into oil production over the next three years.   Norway’s Statoil will be the biggest creator of employment, after agreeing the largest development in the North Sea for a decade – a £4.3 billion investment in the Mariner field, which is 93 miles east of the Shetland Isles. It will create more than 700 jobs and produce oil for 30 years.   But Forbes also cited recent research from the Institute of Directors, which forecast that the UK’s nascent shale gas industry could create a further 35,000 jobs over the next two to three years.    

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