Oil and gas sector 'could lose 35,000 jobs in next five years'
As many as 35,000 oil and gas industry jobs could go in the next five years, according to a new report.
The study - commissioned by industry body Oil and Gas UK, industry skills and safety body Opito and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, says jobs could fall from 375,000 to 340,000 by 2019.
It also estimates 12,000 new workers will be needed for the UK sector.
The study is called 'Fuelling the next generation'.
Oil and Gas UK said the sector has a £35bn supply chain and provides one in every 80 jobs in the UK.
The report concludes there will be a contraction of the workforce because of a decline in capital expenditure.
However, the amount spent on decommissioning will increase, and the potential development of onshore shale could open up new opportunities.
Stephen Marcos Jones, business development director at Oil and Gas UK, said: "Almost 43bn barrels of oil and gas have been extracted from the North Sea, and with potentially some 24bn still to come, this industry will continue to provide careers here in the UK for many decades to come.
"As one of the most expensive offshore basins globally, with development costs per barrel having increased five times over in the last 10 years, this report couldn't have come at a more crucial time for the sector and we believe its guidance will prove invaluable in setting the skills agenda for the sector."
John McDonald, managing director of Opito, said: "We welcome the release of this report which offers significant insight into the skills requirements of our industry and will provide critical intelligence to individual companies, government and education providers alike.
"It is vital that we build on this momentum and, using today's report as a blueprint, Opito will now lead on the creation of a skills strategy to ensure a workforce fully equipped to sustain the oil and gas industry for years to come."