LONDON – Cuts being made across the offshore oil industry as a result of the falling oil price will compromise safety and lose key skills to the UK, says Unite, the UK’s biggest union, amid mounting fears that the seeds of another disaster on the scale of Piper Alpha could well be being sown with this downturn.
With oil companies set to reduce spending on investment and exploration by $170 billion (37%) by 2017, Unite is calling upon the UK government to step in with much-needed support for the sector to help ensure that safety standards are upheld while the industry endures a period of considerable uncertainty.
“Unless something is done soon to stem the flow of job losses, key skills will be lost. Our worst fear is that these cuts could create the potential for another health and safety disaster on the scale of Piper Alpha,” John Taylor, Unite’s regional officer, said.
Unite is critical of the industry’s failure to set aside money from their considerable profits for times such as these but says that government intervention is justified.
“We are losing vital, world-class skills so we are urging the national government to do as they have done for previous important sectors and provide financial assistance,” Taylor said.