Drilling rigs and other equipment are “migrating” away from the North Sea and other European fields for opportunities elsewhere in the world, a trade group has said.
The North Sea chapter of the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) called on the UK and Scottish governments as well as the offshore industry to co-operate better with each other.
The IADC said a longer-term outlook is needed to secure a transition to clean energy.
It said recently announced drilling opportunities represent only a “fraction” of what is needed to meet energy demand in the UK.
We are already seeing a migration of drilling rigsStuart Clow, International Association of Drilling Contractors
IADC regional director Stuart Clow said: “The North Sea continues to be a significant source of the UK’s energy supply, and drilling contractors are ready to work with operators and government to ensure that supply is not interrupted.
“The experience, knowledge and ingenuity of workers from the far north of Scotland to the south of England is driving the energy transition in a similar way that generations before them built the oil and gas industry into the crucial economic driver it has become.
“We are already seeing a migration of drilling rigs and equipment to other areas of the world which in turn reduces drilling and decommissioning capability in the North Sea and other areas.
“Data shows more than 30 jack-up rigs have migrated from Asia, the Americas and Europe to the Middle East over the past year.
“That is partly why encouraging business, responsibly developing all forms of energy and supporting the offshore supply chain in the North Sea are of the utmost importance.”
The IADC’s North Sea chairman Darren Sutherland said: “The recently announced projects represent a fraction of what is truly needed to meet growing UK energy demands, as well as strengthen regional energy security, but frustratingly only amounts to minimal opportunities for drilling contractors.
“The oil and gas industry is aware of the environmental need to change the way the sector operates, however it is a process that is likely to take decades to achieve and will involve all areas of industry, including drilling contractors.
“The transition to cleaner energy has to be done safely, sensibly and securely in terms of the national economy, national energy supply and protection of jobs across the UK.”