The UK’s energy market is approaching a critical point, and decisions made in the months following July’s general election could have a decisive impact on the nation’s future economic growth, claims a report from OEUK.

The industry body argues that people currently employed in offshore oil and gas, wind and hydrogen energy production or carbon capture projects have highly transferable skills – crucial to securing the UK’s target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The body said that “effective energy policy will create more high-quality jobs and economic benefit to communities across the country”, leading to job opportunities increasing by almost 50% across the sector by 2030, to 225,000.

“Our report shows that the offshore industry could invest £450bn [$571.75bn] in UK energy by 2040,” said David Whitehouse, OEUK chief executive officer, in a press statement.

“The path to success is a homegrown energy transition that puts people at the heart of it, builds on our industrial strengths and drives collaboration across sectors,” he added.

In 2022, research from Power Technology’s parent company, GlobalData, said the proportion of offshore oil and gas industry operations and technologies companies hiring for big data-related positions rose in July compared with the equivalent month the previous year, with 76.5% of the companies included recruiting for at least one such position.

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This figure was higher than the 66.7% of companies that were hiring for big data-related jobs a year ago, and the same as the figure of 76.5% in June 2022.

A previously released OEUK manifesto outlined the key steps government can take in partnership with industry to protect jobs and energy security and deliver cleaner and more affordable energy for the UK.

It argued that creating new opportunities for people and the economy “starts with unlocking investment into projects across the offshore energy sector”.

With a “supportive policy, the industry can deliver enduring economic value, scale up our supply chain capacity, sustain skilled jobs, deliver energy security, all while delivering on our climate goal”, said Whitehouse.

He added that his organisation, the trade association for the UK’s offshore energies industry, is “committed to ensuring the incoming government recognises the importance of our industry’s role in the economic future of the UK”, and the contribution of more than “200,000 people whose livelihoods depend on the sector”.

The group said the UK’s oil and gas sector supports around 1% of the value of the nation’s economy, and 1 in every 160 of its jobs.

Last week, the group said the UK’s oil sector could beat its output forecast by 30% – if the required investment is secured for exploration and development.

“Improved recovery rates and slower decline are both achievable but only if investment can be secured,” it said in its Economy and People report.