Proserv’s CEO warns that abandoning North Sea oil and gas production could jeopardise innovation, threaten jobs and lead to even greater importation of critical energy supplies.

I have previously voiced my concerns about the future of the UK’s oil and gas industry becoming a binary choice between two contrasting outlooks.

We owe it to the decades of expertise accrued in the North Sea, the 200,000 jobs it supports, and the undoubtedly crucial role it is playing, and will continue to play, in empowering the rollout of new technologies to propel the clean energy sector, to make sure the transition is exactly that: a clear, unequivocal yet balanced pivot into a sustainable energy future where skills, livelihoods and the UK’s energy security are prioritised.

Within the senior executive teams of Proserv’s industry partners and customers that I speak to, there has long been a strong recognition we must, as a sector, realign our strategies and engage our capabilities into new areas, not only to play our key part in alleviating climate change and meeting vital targets ahead, but to keep our businesses, and the communities they serve, relevant and viable in the decades to come.

Proserv is working on new technologies alongside other supply chain collaborators to support the growth and, future life, of fixed bottom and floating offshore wind farms. Digital technology and renewables must be our company’s long-term future. We hope to contribute to the UK becoming a world leader in engineering cutting-edge technologies, exporting those skills, and creating multiple new jobs as our industry transitions from hydrocarbons to a balanced and affordable energy mix.

But right now, as these new energies develop and evolve, our revenues from oil and gas help accelerate Proserv’s R&D to support that evolution and remunerate the many talented and experienced team members who lead this innovation for us. We are but one example of many businesses for whom this will be the current reality, as we build opportunities by harnessing our established skill sets.

At a time when the UK is challenged by a severe cost of living crisis, when war on the margins of Europe has spiked energy prices, led to rapid inflation and threatened its security of supply, and when the price of the UK’s energy imports have doubled in one year alone, now is not the time to unilaterally set aside future North Sea oil and gas production.

The transition is essential – we clearly must make it work. But at present more than 75% of the UK’s total energy still comes from oil and gas. Around 50% of that total is imported, a figure set to increase significantly over the next five to ten years, and this often arrives at a higher financial cost and generates a greater carbon footprint than the oil and gas we can deliver within the UK.

We need a unified, joined-up policy that puts a clean energy future as our unquestioned primary aim, but not at the expense of thousands of jobs, the loss of so much know-how and talent, the stifling of innovation alongside crippling costs to the UK economy.