NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Oil sector's career reputation 'needs to be rebuilt'

Hummingbird rig
Image caption The Hummingbird rig is operated off Aberdeen for Centrica

Scotland's offshore sector needs to rebuild its reputation to halt the drift of graduates towards renewables, it has been claimed.

Offshore industry body Oil and Gas UK said attacks from groups such as Greenpeace needed to be combated.

The fear is that civil and chemical engineering graduates are starting to see oil as an industry with no future.

However, Greenpeace said the oil industry was attempting to "hold Britain back".

The environmental campaign group last year mounted a high-profile stance against drilling in the North Sea and North Atlantic.

It followed the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The industry has now said the Greenpeace campaign, and a political shift towards greener energy, have proved damaging.

Malcolm Webb, chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, said the industry had a lengthy lifespan ahead which would see out the careers of any engineers graduating now.

He told BBC Scotland: "If people don't know about us, if they don't understand what a great industry this is and what great prospects it's got, that it's not on its last legs, that it's got many decades yet to go, they might make the wrong decisions with regard to career options.

"They might not think about this industry. That would be a great shame."

Tracy Brogan, in charge is maximising production for energy firm Centrica, is confident about the future.

She said: "I think renewables is an important part of our overall energy needs but oil and gas I think still has a huge part to play.

"I'm very confident that I can see out the rest of my career within the oil and gas industry in the North Sea."

'Desperate efforts'

However, Ben Ayliffe, head of Greenpeace's oil campaign, said: "This is a pretty shocking attempt by the oil industry to hold Britain back.

"The successful technologies of the 21st century will be low-carbon, and they certainly shouldn't involve the likes of BP drilling for the last drops of oil in increasingly remote areas like the west of Shetland.

"Britain could be a world leader in developing cutting-edge, clean energy, but this isn't helped by the oil industry's desperate efforts to keep this country in the 20th century.

"It's time we went beyond oil."

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