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Challenges Facing the UK Continental Shelf

24 Mar 2014

We recently had the pleasure of attending an insightful discussion on the challenges facing the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) at the Scottish Oil Club. The talk was presented by Oonagh Werngren, Operations Director at Oil and Gas UK and PESGB. Oonagh's presentation commented on the Oil and Gas UK's PILOT scheme and the findings from the Wood Report.

Oil and Gas UK Skills Gap

The PILOT scheme is a joint programme, involving the Government and the UK Oil and Gas industry, which focuses on securing the long-term future of the UKCS and trying to ensure full economic recovery of our hydrocarbon resources.

The Wood Report is a review of the UK offshore oil and gas recovery and its regulations, led by Sir Ian Wood, which has been referenced in the recent budget. Overall after the budget release it was felt that the Wood Report should be taken into account. As we have seen from recent announcements, BG Group and Maersk will be the first organisations to announce that the High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHP) allowance will help enable the development of two new projects - leading to an investment of £6bn across the two fields.

Furthermore, the UK OIl and Gas industry needs to strategise on the following key areas in order to ensure the longevity of the UKCS.


A main challenge for the industry, as it stands at moment, is that there aren't any open lines of communication regarding assets and fields within the UKCS. Oil and Gas UK is focusing on collaboration between operators, sharing resources and becoming more economically efficient to support a more integrated communications process.

Technology Investment

As the UKCS is now having to drill deeper and become more complex with its strategy, a large surge of investment is required to help with Drilling Equipment, ROV’s and even software technology like Seismic packages to help really out line key interest areas.

Skills Gap

The oil and gas skills gap is a topical issue and one in which many operators are looking to address. One proposed solution is focused on entry level positions and supporting future talent into the industry. The industry as a whole needs to welcome new talent and remove the high barriers to entry. Another recommendation is to sponsor students studying their Masters, shaping, nurturing and developing emerging talent into the Oil and Gas industry.

Health and Safety

Issues relating to health and safety will be dealt with over the upcoming weeks, particularly due to the recent tragic North Sea helicopter crash. Oil & Gas UK will be looking at the volume of offshore trips and how they can make them safer for offshore workers.

Fiscal Stability

Regardless of the outcome of the Scottish Referendum the main concern is maintaining fiscal stability for the industry throughout the UKCS. Again a collaboration of companies who have a vested interest in the UKCS must ensure lines of communication are open.

Concluding Thoughts

At Eden Scott we are fully immersed in the challenges the industry faces in bridging the oil and gas skills gap. We agree that entry level positions should be supported for the future of the industry, however it is equally important to retain staff in the UK with 7 to 10 years' experience.

This along with the expected salary and day rate inflation is something that as a professional services consultancy we need to work with our Clients to ensure the right message is going out to the industry professionals about the potential of the UKCS.

Click here to find out more about Eden Scott's oil and gas team.

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