Decom Mission’s chief executive Sam Long said “Shame on us” at an Aberdeen event as a student pointed out the difficulties of getting into the industry.
Student Maria pushed for more opportunities for those leaving university who want to work in North Sea decommissioning at Decom Week in Aberdeen’s Ardoe House Hotel.
Maria stood up and told the delegates: “I’ve looked at the attendees list and I might be the only student here.”
It is worth noting that the North Sea Transition Authority’s David Wilson is also a student, and he would be chairing a session later that morning.
However, the point Maria was making still stands, as Sam Long agreed saying: “Shame on us because that’s really really bad.”
People like Maria are going ‘extinct’
The student from Moldova who is undertaking a master’s in petroleum engineering continued that people like her are going “extinct”.
She said: “You have students who have completed a decommissioning degree and there are no jobs.”
Making a strong point, Maria asked the people attending Decom Week to raise their hands if they signed up for a “decommissioning possession when you applied,” one delegate raised their hand.
She laughed: “So there’s no internships, no actual jobs after I graduate.”
She concluded by asking the industry to work with more students and make a career in decommissioning “more accessible.”
Older workers ‘decommissioned’
ExxonMobil’s global decommissioning advisor explained that there are not just issues with young people getting into the space, the sector also struggles to retain experienced employees as well.
The US Supermajor’s John Gillies told delegates that “very few” members of management have ever carried out a decommissioning project when they take on work.
Mr Gillies explained: “Many project teams that do a decommissioning project tend to get decommissioned after the project.
“They tend to be people in late career, they tend to retire, they tend to not have a continuous track of decommissioning projects in the company.
“Importantly, if you look around at the management of many of our companies, very few of any of them have actually ever done a decommissioning project.”
The talks at the north-east event proved to highlight a short sight on the part of firms working in the decommissioning sector as workers are lost and jobs are not available to the next generation.
This comes as the energy industry looks to scale up work in decommissioning as it transitions into renewables.