THREE low-carbon technologies are set to generate 26,000 new UK energy jobs by 2030, according to new research by Robert Gordon University (RGU).

Many of them would be in coastal communities stretching around the UK from the North East, East Anglia, north-east Scotland and down to Merseyside and north Wales.

RGU’s Energy Transition Institute looked at the potential benefits of three new fast-expanding energy technologies.

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•Mass production of hydrogen - a green fuel that can replace natural gas and diesel

•Carbon transport and storage – where CO2 emissions are buried underground forever

•Electrification of offshore platforms – to reduce emissions from oil and gas production.

However, the findings come with a warning from Offshore Energies UK, which commissioned the research. Its members now face the government’s new Energy Profits Levy which hands 65% of the profits from offshore oil and gas extraction to the Treasury.

The Energy Profits Levy Bill was due to be approved by Parliament yesterday meaning oil and gas operators will have less money for investing in new technologies.

Transition Deal


The RGU research was commissioned by OEUK under the North Sea Transition Deal, a 2021 agreement between the offshore oil and gas industry and UK government. The deal recognises the role of the sector in providing secure supplies of oil and gas while also enabling offshore oil and gas companies to deliver low-carbon energy production, also including offshore wind.

RGU looked at three investment scenarios to work out how many jobs the deal might create by 2030. It found that if the UK government’s British Energy Security Strategy targets were met then, by 2030, the UK would be:

•Storing 30 million tonnes of CO2 underground each year

•Producing 10 gigawatts of hydrogen (roughly equivalent to 10 large power stations)

•Running 10 offshore oil or gas platforms on low-carbon electricity.

•Employing up to 26,000 additional people – 15% of the entire offshore industry’s workforce.

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These targets represent Robert Gordon University’s best-case scenario, in which the UK government’s British Energy Security Strategy is being delivered in full. This would mean people working on hydrogen production, CO2 transport and storage, and electrification projects accounting for close to 15% of the entire offshore energy workforce by 2030.

Depending on investment levels, this represents 8,000 - 26,000 new energy jobs created by 2030 because of activities related to the NSTD such as CO2 processing, transport, and storage. In the same best-case scenario, it would also represent an investment in UK-based activities of over £14 billion by 2030.

Money and confidence


Katy Heidenreich, OEUK’s Director of Supply Chain & Operations, said expenditure on electrification was the technology most affected by the new levy but all three relied on offshore operators having the money and confidence to invest in UK energy.

She said “This study shows that the offshore energy workforce in the UK is at the heart of the energy transition. The North Sea Transition Deal has the potential to harness the expertise of our oil and gas workforce to realise the cleaner energies that will help us reach our climate goals. However, the new Energy Profits Levy proposed by the UK government does threaten to undermine this.

“Prioritising energy produced here in the UK will help provide affordable energy to millions of households, secure tens of thousands of jobs in industrial heartlands across the country and support the UK economy.”