More than 7,500 oil and gas workers have lost their jobs since the onset of the coronavirus crisis and tens of thousands more could go, industry leaders have warned.
The shocking toll of the virus on the sector was disclosed to MPs by oil and gas bosses at a Commons hearing this afternoon.
Deirdre Michie, chief executive of trade body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK), said as many as 30,000 workers could find themselves without a job if “current conditions continue”.
She said: “We have been hit by what we’re calling the triple whammy of Covid, the dramatic drop in the oil price and the low, low gas prices.
“As a result of Covid, we saw industry having to respond in reducing activity levels by about 40%, we saw projects being pushed back and jobs being lost as a result.”
Ms Michie said the industry’s supply chain was also “under pressure” and cited figures which showed revenue was down by 33% for firms in the energy sector.
“The current estimates are about 7,500 jobs have been made redundant to date, we think more are on the way once the furlough scheme comes to an end and if activity doesn’t pick up”, she told the Scottish affairs committee.
She added: “If current conditions continue to prevail we estimate that about 30,000 jobs could be lost across the industry.”
Asked what support should be given to the industry, Ms Michie welcomed the announcements in Rishi Sunak’s “mini-budget” but said a long term sector deal would be “key”.
She said: “We are looking for the short term support in terms of jobs and the furlough scheme, but also longer term support in terms of where industry goes in a net-zero context.
“So, the budget in in the autumn will be a key point for us at which we would like to see very positive statements from the Chancellor and from the government about the sector deal and what industry can contribute in that context.”
Scottish finance minister Kate Forbes had suggested the sector had been disappointed by the Chancellor’s statement, something disputed by Moray MP Douglas Ross who sits on the committee.
“The SNP put out a press release saying there was nothing for the industry in the statement, but you have welcomed it,” he said.
He added: “In direct response to Scotland’s finance minister Kate Forbes, we should not be waiting for you to change your opinion?”
“I think you’ve probably said it for me,” Ms Michie responded.