This place-based analysis, commissioned by Platform, examines the potential for clean job creation in Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire, Fife & Tayside, Tyneside and Teesside. These four regions all have significant current employment within the oil & gas sector and its supply chains. This includes people employed in workplaces within these regions, in addition to local residents traveling to work offshore.

The report identifies three key sectors for potential clean job creation in the decade to 2032 within these regions: domestic energy efficiency retrofits, offshore wind (both fixed and floating, including manufacturing, construction and operations & maintenance), and hydrogen electrolyser exports.

The amendments in this briefing (NC14, NC15 and amendment 11) would serve to create a new Offshore Training Scheme, which would align training and skills recognition where possible across roles and sectors, recognising that regular training is essential to health and safety, and that there may be sector specific top-ups required.

They would also provide a retraining guarantee for oil and gas workers wishing to transition to careers in the green energy sector.

This is an ask that has been backed by 94% of offshore workers who responded to a survey on barriers to their ability to transition into renewable energy work.

You can find our briefing to MPs and below:

 

Ahead of the Scottish Parliament debate on The Need for An Offshore Training Passport, Platform and Friends of the Earth Scotland shared case studies from offshore workers about their experiences with training in the energy sector, the enormous personal expense in time and money as well as the barriers this represents to efforts to transition to alternative industries.

Tackling the climate crisis requires a rapid transition away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy. However, the workers who are already facing the effects of industry decline are not seeing any firm plan for a managed transition that would create opportunities and remove barriers to entering renewable energy industries.

The skills and experiences of offshore workers are essential to deliver a rapid transition but the current training regime is a barrier to transferring across the energy sector and these case studies reveal the scale of the issue.

A Platform and Friends of the Earth briefing for MSPs ahead of a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the need for an Offshore Training Passport.

Friends of the Earth Scotland and Platform believe an Offshore Training Passport is essential to ensure a Just Transition for workers in the energy sector. The lack of cross-sector training recognition means many offshore oil and gas workers are expected to duplicate existing training to access roles in wind. This represents a significant barrier to workers moving between industries, particularly as they are often paying out of their own pocket for training.

This is supported by the findings of a recent survey of 610 offshore oil and gas workers conducted by Platform, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Greenpeace UK which showed:

  • Workers are paying an average of over £1,800 a year in training costs.
  • 97% are concerned about the UK’s offshore energy industry training costs.
  • 65% said their employer contributed 0% to their training costs, including safety and first aid training, in the past two years – which is up from 45% before 2015
  • 62% believed certificates they were asked to obtain duplicate skills they acquired at NVQ, City and Guilds or equivalent
  • 62% had been asked to obtain an overlapping qualification when changing employers despite their current qualifications being in-date
  • 94% of respondents said they would support an offshore passport, which licenses accredited workers to work offshore in any sector through a cross-industry minimum training requirement.

To remove this barrier for offshore workers, we urge the Scottish Government to support the creation of an Offshore Training Passport aligning training standards across the energy sector; explore whether the National Transition Training Fund or Green Jobs Workforce Academy can rectify training and skills barriers in the energy sector; and to use its role in the Energy Skills Alliance to push for the establishment of the Offshore Training Passport.

The London Leap project is releasing a short report called “Participatory policies for a fairer and greener London”.

London LEAP - Participatory policies for a fairer and greener London

This report has been collaboratively produced through our work with Leap participants over the past 18 months, and with Harpreet Kaur Paul who has been crucial in helping bring together the incredible visions and political analysis of our Leap participants.

The report offers policy recommendations that the Mayor of London and the London Assembly could adopt to achieve a just and equitable transition to a zero-carbon London by 2030. The report also captures the profound visions of a future London that many community organisers in London have been cultivating through their work with local residents.

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A report published by Platform, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland, analyses local government investments in coal, oil and gas. You can read more about our divest work by visiting: https://www.divest.org.uk/

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This report builds on a survey of 1,383 offshore oil and gas workers to reveal the impact of Covid-19 on their lives, their views on life in the industry and their hopes and solutions for the energy transition. In addition to an analysis of the survey results, there are eight case studies from the workers themselves. Case studies and written survey responses show an exhaustion with precarity in oil and gas and a huge appetite for alternative industries, including offshore wind and other renewables.

Published by Platform, Friends of the Earth Scotland, and Greenpeace.

Read the report (pdf)

 

Key survey results include:

  • 81% of offshore workers would consider leaving the industry 
  • 43% had been made redundant or furloughed since March 2020 
  • 91% of respondents had not heard of the term ‘just transition’
  • Given the option of retraining to work elsewhere in the energy sector, more than half would be interested in renewables and offshore wind.
  • Over 50% of workers deemed government support at all levels “nowhere near enough”
  • Current job security satisfaction was rated 1.9 out of 5, with 58% of respondents also identifying job security as their top priority in considering changing industries

 

Workers have endured decades of chaos and upheaval as the oil markets boom and bust, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. As the UK must transition to renewable energy, there is a danger things could get even worse for these workers, and the government must make sure they are not left behind. 

One worker, Frank*, who has been in the industry for 40 years, said: Morale is low, certainly in Aberdeen where 75% of the people are contractors… I know guys who have had two or three pay cuts over six months, no negotiations, nothing.”

Another states that, “It seems the oil companies have got away with everything but the workforce gets hammered… The way the industry is treating their workers, especially those in a situation similar to mine is an absolute disgrace and should not be allowed to happen.”

Workers in the oil and gas sector are well-informed and keen to express their views on conditions within the industry and how to build a future run on renewable energy, but their knowledge and expertise is untapped. Workers are willing to retrain and move to new sectors. They are open to change and job security is their biggest concern. They want secure and well paid work that makes use of their skills and experience.

A common theme from survey respondents was offering opportunities and financial support for retraining. 

One person said: “Offer training to allow skills to be transferred from oil & gas to renewables sectors. Invest heavily in renewables. Encourage children, students, graduates away from an unsustainable oil and gas sector and into renewables. As Scotland has huge wind/wave/hydro resources she must become a front runner in the global renewables sector.”

And another stated: “Retrain while keeping a liveable wage. Last time there was a slump in oil prices there was opportunity to retrain but it was near impossible to navigate the red tape to get access to the training.”

As a consequence of the survey findings, Platform, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Greenpeace make three recommendations for government. You can find the recommendations in full in the report

  1. The skills and experiences of oil and gas workers are essential in delivering an equitable and rapid transition to renewable energy. This requires engaging a representative section of the workforce in participatory policy-making, where workers are able to help determine policy, in addition to engagement with trade unions. The rhetoric of a just transition means nothing if impacted workers are not at the heart of shaping policies that affect their livelihoods and communities. It is the only means to ensure no harm to communities currently dependent on high-carbon industries.
  2. Improve job security and working conditions for workers in the oil and gas sector, to boost morale, improve quality of life, and mitigate the risk of workers leaving the energy sector altogether.
  3. Address barriers to entry and conditions within the renewables industry, including creating sufficient job opportunities, to harness the skills of oil and gas workers and enable an equitable and rapid energy transition.

However, we believe that top-down support will not be sufficient. Organising together is vital to assert workers’ voices at the core of the energy transition and control over their working conditions. It is the very power-relation between workers and employers that needs to change.

To support this shift in power balance towards increased workers’ control, a just transition requires the resurgence of rank and file trade union organising. The environmental movement also has a responsibility to take into account the effect its demands have on workers and to build solidarity with the labour movement.

Our call to action: There is no just transition if it is not worker-led. Following the completion of this survey, Platform, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Greenpeace will be running a participatory consultation of oil and gas workers across the UK. Workshops will enable energy workers to draft policy demands for a transition that works for them, and a renewables industry they want to work in. We welcome any energy workers, union branches, local communities, environmental groups or other stakeholders to get involved.

 

Read the report (pdf)

Report authors: Gabrielle Jeliazkov, Platform, Ryan Morrison, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Mel Evans, Greenpeace

Report contributors: Laurie Mompelat, Ben Lennon

Acknowledgements: Conducting and writing the survey and report would have been impossible without the input and guidance from the eight workers who acted as case studies, Jake Molloy, Robert Noyes, Neil Rothnie, Sakina Sheikh, and James Marriott. Most importantly, we thank all the offshore workers who gave their thoughts and time to this project.

 

This report is a collaboration between People & Planet, 350.org and Platform. Click here for the report.

Executive summary:

The financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis, on top of a crash in oil prices, has shown us ever more clearly that economies based on fossil fuels are vulnerable in an emergency. We have to respond to the immediate health and economic crisis we face, but we must also take this moment to make sure that we build the resilience we need to handle other crises in the future. Despite this urgent need to move away from fragile, fossil fuel-based economies, drilling for oil in the arctic and in deep water, extracting oil from tar sands, and fracking shale rock for gas continues to cause damage to lives, livelihoods and habitats. These expensive extraction projects can’t go ahead without outside investment and thirty-five global banks have proven to be willing partners, having together invested £2 trillion*[$2.7 trillion] in the fossil fuel industry’s continued growth since 2016. Without these funds, the climate destroying activities of corporations like BP and Shell are not possible. UK banks Barclays and HSBC are the worst offenders in Europe.

 

Read the briefing (pdf)Leer en castellano (pdf)

As US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in June 2018, the aim of US foreign energy policy in Argentina was to help the country become “more like Texas” by bringing US business to work on unlocking Patagonia’s shale oil and gas reserves. 

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry meets with Argentina Minister of Energy & Mines, Juan Jose Aranguren on April 27, 2017 at the Department of Energy. Credit: DOE photographer Ken Shipp

The US State Energy Information Agency ranked Argentina’s shale gas and shale oil resources in second and fourth place globally respectively. These reserves, concentrated in and around the Vaca Muerta shale formation in Northern Patagonia, represent an estimated 50 billion tons of carbon trapped in the ground (almost 1.5 times the annual global CO2 emissions from the energy sector), as well as a direct threat to Patagonia’s freshwater supplies and agricultural industry. Since the discovery of shale oil and shale gas in Vaca Muerta, the region has seen a rapid influx of interest from international actors, from Big Oil companies to multilateral development banks.

This briefing outlines the role played by the US government and various US public agencies in promoting fracking in Argentina, focusing primarily on the 2017-2019 period: from public finance loans worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and to offering Argentinian business and local officials recommendations on how to work with and regulate the industry.

Read the briefing (pdf)Leer en castellano (pdf)

Leer el informe (pdf) – o – Read the briefing in English (pdf)

En junio de 2018, el Secretario de Energía, Rick Perry, dijo que el objetivo de la política exterior de Estados Unidos en Argentina era ayudar al país a “parecer más a Texas”, llevando empresas estadounidenses a trabajar en la extracción de las reservas de petróleo y gas de esquisto de la Patagonia.

El Secretario de Energía de los EEUU, Rick Perry se reune con el Ministro de Energía de Argentina, Juan José Aranguren en 2017. Por Ken Shipp, DOE

Ser como Texas. Portada del informeLa Agencia de Información Energética de Estados Unidos clasificó los recursos de gas y petróleo de esquisto de Argentina en el segundo y cuarto puesto a nivel mundial, respectivamente. El mayor potencial se concentra en la formación de esquisto de Vaca Muerta y otras también ubicadas en el norte de la Patagonia. La extracción de tales recursos supone la combustión de unos 50.000 millones de toneladas de carbono (casi 1,5 veces las emisiones globales anuales de CO2 del sector energético), así como una amenaza directa para las reservas de agua dulce y la industria agrícola de esa región. Desde la puesta en valor de petróleo y gas de esquisto en Vaca Muerta, la región ha experimentado un rápido aumento del interés por parte de diferentes actores internacionales, desde grandes compañías petroleras a bancos multilaterales de desarrollo.

Este informe describe el papel jugado por el gobierno estadounidense y algunas de sus agencias públicas en la promoción del fracking en Argentina, centrándose principalmente en el periodo 2017-19: desde préstamos otorgados por agencias de financiación públicas por valor de cientos de millones de dólares hasta ofertas de asesoramiento a empresas y autoridades argentinas sobre cómo trabajar y regular la explotación.

Leer el informe (pdf) – o – Read the briefing in English (pdf)

 

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