In years to come thousands of former oil and gas workers will look back to 2015 and say; that was the year…… and most likely finish the line with; I left the industry!
There will be variations on the theme; I was made redundant; or I started a new career; I got sacked or hounded out, or perhaps, I retired from the industry.
Whatever variation used, 2015 will live long in the memories of the thousands who are now trying to build a new life for themselves.
For those fortunate enough to remain working in the sector it has been a long year watching many friends and colleagues go while constantly looking over their shoulders and thinking – who’s next?
A nervousness and atmosphere of apprehension has haunted the sector since 2015 kicked off and it will see the year out.
During 35 years in this industry I have never felt this kind of unease. I was one of thousands of workers dumped in the slump of 1986; I watched many go in the mid 90’s; I worked through the $9 barrel period at the end of the 90’s and I’ve seen fluctuations since.
Yet no matter how bad things got, there was always a degree of optimism that; ‘something would turn up’ and for the most part it always did, but not this time.
This means 2015 will for ever have a place in the annals of oil and gas history and be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
On a purely personal basis the only positive was the birth of my second grandson in June. But the year will end on a low as two very close friends and mentors have been diagnosed with cancer, while a third has been told she has a brain tumour. In summary 2015 has been a bloody awful year!
So what about the year ahead, what will 2016 bring? Believe me, I would dearly love to say something positive and deliver that “balanced message” which industry leaders talk about.
Sorry, I can’t; as I see it if we continue letting the money men of investment houses and hedge funds run this business based on the quarterly balance sheet, we are in serious trouble!
That’s serious trouble short term and longer term, as if the cull of skills and experience continues we will be in a very difficult place if and when an up turn comes.
We need an intervention soon, to protect the industry and deliver that goal of “maximising economic recovery”. We need an intervention which must set out a clear strategy, an energy policy, which will sustain production and jobs.
We need leadership focused on what is best for the country as opposed to the pockets of share holders. Without it, 2016 could be worse than the year gone.
For me in 2016, I want to see more of my grandsons and support my friends fight their respective illnesses. I wish you all the very best.
Jake Molloy is regional organiser for the RMT Union