The leader of RMT’s offshore branch believes it will continue to operate for at least another 30 years but must accept “change is coming”.
Oilc – the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee – is marking its first three decades this year and it too expects to play a role in the energy transition going forward.
The oil and gas industry has been under the spotlight as protest events take place globally to prevent climate change, with pressure on the sector to show its work moving to cleaner forms of energy.
Jake Molloy, regional officer for RMT’s offshore branch, said the union will also endeavour to move with the times.
He said: “We’ve got to acknowledge that change is coming and we’ve got to change.
“That’s why we called ourselves 30 years ago the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee, we didn’t call ourselves the oil industry liaison committee.
“We always envisaged a finite product depleting. That is to say oil and gas would end but there was a clean-up job to be done in terms of decommissioning and now, of course, we’ve got the technology, the potential to move into renewables, carbon capture and other areas.”
The UK sector has a growing focus on decommissioning and renewables, while the Aberdeen region specifically could be key in deploying carbon capture and storage (CCS) at scale – a process of storing harmful emissions in depleted underground oil and gas fields.
However as spending remains focussed on oil and gas, protests continue with figures like Greta Thunberg leading the charge.
Last month saw the largest climate strikes in history, with demonstrations around the world.
Meanwhile investors face pressure to prove their green credentials as institutions break ties with oil giants, such as the Royal Shakespeare Company ending its partnership with BP and the National Theatre with Shell earlier this month.
RMT’s offshore branch expects to go on as the wider industries around the North Sea evolve.
Mr Molloy added: “The offshore energy section of RMT will continue, I would say, for 30 years and more because we want to exploit all of our natural resources, whether that be what remains in terms of oil and gas or the exploitation of renewables.”