The highly skilled North Sea’s oil and gas workforce is in danger of dying out, according to a quarterly industry survey from  The survey found that 44 per cent of those employed in the industry are over 45 years old and that the industry needs to recruit and train 125,000 new workers in the next 10 years to replace those who are retiring.

Tax breaks have attracted increased investment in the industry and the survey says that this has, in turn, created greater demand for skilled professionals who are already in short supply.  70 per cent of employers are said to be ‘struggling’ to find the candidates they require.

In April, Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, forecast that North Sea oil is set to boost the UK’s economic recovery, but this survey shows that 25 per cent of companies are failing to find enough engineers, to feed their growth.

Patrick Phelan, managing director of Aquaterra Energy, commented: “Investment in the North Sea is continuing at record levels and the industry urgently needs to attract new blood to replace skilled and experience workers as they retire.  But it’s not enough for companies to bemoan the situation, we believe there’s plenty that companies like ours can be doing to help boost the levels of qualified workers entering the industry.  This is why we are working in partnership with the best universities, while also creating and promoting attractive, rewarding careers within the industry.”