Jun 6, 2017

Entering energy: How can ex oil and gas professionals boost their chances?

Renewable Energy
Oil & Gas
Luke Westendarp
3 min
Entering energy: How can ex oil and gas professionals boost their chances?
Making the transition from oil and gas into renewable energy is not easy. It’s a topic that has been hotly debated in recent years, espec...

Making the transition from oil and gas into renewable energy is not easy. It’s a topic that has been hotly debated in recent years, especially as the downturn of oil and gas continues to encourage an influx of ex industry professionals looking to enter sectors like renewable energy.

There is no denying that renewable energy employers are nervous. There is a widespread fear that discouragement due to lower salaries and a different working culture may set in, and with the possibility that the sector could resurrect itself, there is a genuine concern that those who once made a living on the North Sea could jump ship once the industry restores its health.

A degree of mistrust has manifested between ex oil and gas talent and hiring managers for renewable energy firms and this is leading to an increasing number of oil and gas professionals feeling discriminated against as they continue to be rejected for roles outside their original sector.

However, the Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) recently revealed that 77 per cent of renewables hiring managers are open to hiring from other energy sectors, indicating that a move from oil and gas into renewables is achievable.

So what can oil and gas professionals do to boost their chances of working in renewable energy?

The first thing renewable energy employers want to know is “why?” Many hiring managers feel that those applying for roles are doing so because they have no other choice. The ability to display a genuine passion for the industry or having a legitimate reason as to why you would like to enter the sector can go a long way in convincing employers that you are there because you want to be and not because you have to be.

CV and cover letter alterations are vital if ex oil and gas professionals are serious about working in renewable energy. These all-important changes can mean the difference between an interview and a point blank rejection. Candidates must think about the employer and what they will want to see from the applicant, tailoring key skills that match the job description.

For many, this will mean stripping out the oil and gas specifics from a CV and bringing forward the essential transferable skills that allow employers to see where skill and experience lies.

Oil and gas professionals possess a range of desirable transferable skills that can be brought to a role in renewable energy. For example, most engineering roles, such as electrical engineering, are transferable and can be moved straight over to a role in renewable energy. As a result, it is crucial that these skills are brought forward and are clearly visible on any application.

However, stripping oil and gas out of a CV can be easier said than done. Generous perks have often meant that a candidate’s entire career has been wrapped up in this one industry, meaning they cannot completely remove it altogether from an application. Others in the sector have more niche jobs, which use skills that are not always transferable. A significant number also find themselves landed with lots of training certificates and qualifications that do not necessarily apply to jobs in renewable energy.

While stripping out the oil and gas specifics of an application can be tricky, a candidate stands the best chance if they can dilute down these specifics, providing an employer with an overarching view of skills and experience that can potentially be transferred to a role in renewable energy.

For more senior roles, such as project management positions, employers tend to be more wary of an applicant’s industrial background and attitude to internal practices. Potential culture differences mean that those interviewing for senior positions should be sure to come across as friendly, collaborative and having realistic expectations of what’s achievable within a team.

There are over 58,000 jobs in the low carbon and renewable energy economy in Scotland but like so many other industries it is facing a continued shortage of skilled professionals. This major demand for talent has meant that more energy employers than ever are willing to recruit from different sectors, indicating that the transition from oil and gas to energy is far from impossible.

By Luke Westendarp, Principal Consultant, Cathcart Associates Energy

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Jul 29, 2021

Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030

Dominic Ellis
4 min
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades says the UK's National Infrastructure Commission

Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission

Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.

The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.

The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture. 

It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.  

The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020. 

Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.

The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.

While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.

Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.

Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse. 

"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.

“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.” 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets. 

Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.  

Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."

McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:

  • Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
  • Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
  • Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
  • Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
  • The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere

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