MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee in the Commons have taken evidence in Aberdeen about the impact of the crude oil price slump on the N. Sea oil and gas industry – and efforts being made by industry and government to help revive the sector.
SNP MP Peter Wishart, Convenor, said; “Our visit to Aberdeen comes at a difficult time the oil industry. For 50 years, it has been one of Scotland’s major providers of highly skilled, high quality work but it is now going through a difficult period.
“The number of jobs supported by the industry may have fallen by up to 100,000 since 2013 and tax revenue for 2015–16 is expected to have been negative for the first time ever.
“We are asking Oil and Gas UK, the industry association for the sector, and Opito, which promotes skills and training, what the future looks like for their sector and what government can do to help them recover. What has support has been given, either by the industry or by government, to those who have been affected by recent job losses?
“Is oil and gas still a profession worth looking at for someone looking for somewhere to build a career?”
The committee also spoke to the Institute of Directors Scotland and Federation of Small Businesses about the current environment for their members.
Wishart added: “Throughout this inquiry we have been told that employees need to be given a voice in the workplace, and that businesses can gain a competitive edge if they give their staff an opportunity to contribute to the running of the business.”
Meanwhile, Josh Valman, the 22 year-old Chief Executive of RPD International – who built his first robot aged 10, and was earning £10,000 a week from his bedroom enterprise at 15 – will be speaking on rapid technology development and deployment at the ITF Showcase in Aberdeen next week.
He believes current 8-15 year time-scales for oil and gas technology development need to be tackled with new approaches to speed up innovation and research and development.
RPD International was valued at £1 million within its first six months and now has offices in London, Holland, China and Singapore, working with more than 100 corporate R&D departments around the world. The company helps businesses quickly develop new products, test and scale them for the first 12 – 24 months, reducing the cost and risk of validating new markets and technologies.
Other ITF speakers include Colette Cohen (Chief Executive of the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, OGTC), Dr Geoff Nesbitt (Group Head of Technology Strategy at Petrofac), Willie Reid (Director of the Strathclyde Oil and Gas Institute), Gunther Newcombe (Director of Operations, OGA) and Greta Lydecker (Managing Director, Chevron Europe).