Energy Insights · 30th of May, 2024 · 1 minute ·

Better communication is critical to the North Sea’s future

The latest annual Energy Transition report on the North Sea couldn’t be clearer about the challenges facing the region.

According to Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, following the UK general election in July, the new government will have just 100 days to save 100,000 jobs nationally as high taxes and a potential ban on exploration impact confidence in the region.

On the other hand, the 250 delegates who attended an AGCC business breakfast to launch the organisation’s 39th Energy Transition report heard the North Sea provided excellent opportunities for companies to own the space in the renewable energy industry. Leveraging on their oil and gas heritage, expertise and supply chain, there is a cause for optimism that Aberdeen can lead the way in pioneering clean energy technologies.

Another key point was the urgent need for companies to progress decarbonisation strategies to support the global drive towards net zero emissions and attract wider stakeholder support.

Rhetoric versus reality

With the election only a month away, there’s a worrying chasm-like disconnect between the reality experienced by people that work in the industry and the rhetoric of many politicians across the spectrum over the future of the UK’s oil and gas. This is largely due to an apparent lack of appreciation in Westminster and Holyrood of the impact measures to reduce exploration and production will have on individuals, families and societies locally and nationally, not forgetting the effect on our economy, our energy supply and energy security.

An unfavourable perception of oil, along with anti-oil rhetoric from point scoring politicians, is a long-standing issue. But it’s been given greater focus by the impending general election as politicians focus on optics over reality to deliver winning votes.

There’s a notion in other parts of the country that all oil people are wealthy fat cat management types, so losing their jobs won’t affect them too much if taxation and legislation shut their business down.

This is at best naïve and at worst an insult. There are thousands of ordinary people who work long hours away from their families in highly dangerous manual jobs to ensure those critics of the industry and the rest of us always have power at our fingertips. That’s the reality. It’s the same for oil communities around the world. Parallels have been drawn between oil workers and mine workers. But when it comes to oil people who work offshore, for those not in the know out of site is out of mind.

How can these challenges be resolved?

Better communication

Time and again, the AGCC event heard the way to solve this serious situation was through better communication between the industry, virtue-signalling politicians and a distrusting general public.

A clear industry-unifying narrative, delivered authentically to a wider audience through the right communication channels, is required. Right now, there is a clear gap between perception and fact, with many companies feeling their way through their communication efforts, without focusing on the ‘how’ of it all. Companies need to go beyond the rhetoric, to the hard facts of how a transition might be achieved. A key component of this would be to pragmatically map out in detail what an end to oil and gas would really mean for our daily lives. This would promote a clearer understanding of oil’s importance outside the AB postcode where the anti-oil and gas rhetoric is much more pervasive.

Improving communications can also help companies share their ESG strategies and decarbonisation activities more effectively, with a focus on pragmatic delivery and industry cooperation.

Ultimately, when it comes to action on the energy transition; dogma will destroy, collaboration will create, communication will deliver.

If you think you need to better communicate what you’re doing, give us a call.

Energy Insights · 30th of May, 2024 · 1 minute ·