The Big Question: How bullish are you going into 2024?

Despite strong markets in oil, gas and nuclear power, the energy industry is grappling with escalating costs, fluctuating interest rates and stumbling progress towards net-zero goals. Amid these dynamics, coupled with macro-economic uncertainty, what is the reality for the energy supply chain looking forward?

Simon Wynne

Simon Wynne

Head of ABB Energy Industries UK

I feel excited about our business as we approach 2024, but am also realistic. The energy transition is progressing, but there is still some way to go. It will be an evolution, not a revolution – it’s not going to happen overnight. The social and economic imperatives remain the same, meaning we need to make every improvement possible – integrating more renewables, adding new energy sources and minimising emissions.

This year has been a significant one for ABB. We renewed our partnership with Imperial College London to ensure that the engineers of the future have the right skills to help industries and countries meet their sustainability targets – specifically in carbon capture and storage (CCS) operations, which hold huge potential for the decarbonisation of industry.

The energy transition is progressing, but there is still some way to go. It will be an evolution, not a revolution

Furthermore, we confirmed partnerships with Pace CCS and Computer Modelling Group to tackle some of the challenges in CCS through a digital twin model that tracks carbon dioxide at every stage of its journey, to anticipate and reduce risks.

As head of ABB UK, I’m particularly proud that the company is involved in eight of the UK’s offshore wind projects, including Dogger Bank – the world’s largest offshore wind farm, which is set to power up to five million homes with clean, renewable energy.

While energy markets remain challenging, we need to remember how far we’ve come and stay focused on the end prize: building a clean energy future for generations to come.

ABB logo

ABB is a technology leader in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The company’s solutions connect engineering know-how and software to optimise how things are manufactured, moved, powered and operated. Leveraging more than 130 years of experience, ABB’s 105,000 employees drive innovations to accelerate industrial transformation. ABB’s Process Automation business, which has around 20,000 employees, automates, electrifies and digitalises industrial operations, catering to diverse needs in energy, water, materials, manufacturing and transportation. The goal is to enhance performance and safety in process, hybrid and maritime industries, contributing to a more sustainable future.

Scott McIlwraith

Scott McIlwraith

Regional Director for EMEAI at Kuiper

The traditional oil and gas sector is coming out of a period of significant under-investment. Rig counts have doubled since 2021, and utilisation of rigs and vessels is on an upward trajectory.

Kuiper has service agreements with all the Tier 1 offshore drilling contractors and offshore EPCIs. In recent years, we have added clients in the renewable energy space and are particularly pleased to be active in the energy transition.

Despite recent disappointments with some major players and projects being postponed or cancelled in renewables, we remain positive about the outlook for the energy sector in general.

Kuiper Logo

Oil and gas is back, and companies such as Kuiper, which has a diverse mix of clients across the energy spectrum, should expect a good 2024. We are certainly bullish!

Established in 1999, Kuiper Group is a global provider of diverse, fully integrated human resources and recruitment solutions to the energy industry, with a track record in serving some of the world’s biggest projects and organisations.

Oil and gas is back, and companies that have a diverse mix of clients across the energy spectrum should expect a good 2024

The group specialises in crew management and contract recruitment, with coverage across UK, the Gulf Cooperation Council, India, Southeast Asia and Australia, servicing clients primarily in the drilling, offshore engineering, procurement, construction and installation, and renewable energy space. Kuiper has over 2,000 on-hire personnel on more than 120 vessels and rigs managed by teams across 25 strategically placed offices.

Faye Sherriffs

Faye Sherriffs

Vice President of Energy Transition and Strategic Development at OPITO

As the energy landscape shifts towards balancing renewable sources alongside traditional oil and gas operations, our global team is leveraging its 50-plus years of experience to support a sustainable transition, ensuring social and economic growth opportunities.

Political uncertainties and geopolitical crises have created a focus on domestic energy security and sustainability. People must be front and centre of the transition if we are to successfully diversify and build energy security, so we cannot afford to be complacent over workforce development. 

The UK is a mature market for OPITO. It’s where we were established, and we remain proud of our heritage and the transferable skills of our workforce. Through our leadership of the Integrated People and Skills Strategy, part of the UK’s North Sea Transition Deal, we are championing cross-sector careers. We welcome the UK government’s recognition of the estimated 200,000 jobs that the oil and gas sector supported by committing to annual licensing rounds from 2024. This will bolster domestic energy supplies and support the supply chain while adhering to stringent climate compatibility and emissions tests.

People must be front and centre of the transition if we are to successfully diversify and build energy security, so we cannot afford to be complacent over workforce development

Globally, we predict continued strong demand for our core products. Working closely with industry partners, we are building a cohesive picture of the demands for our products and the pace of the energy transition. In South America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, we are buoyed by increased investment in major projects and the subsequent demand for proven workforce development solutions.

Simultaneously, we must also look towards the energy workforce of tomorrow – and promote the industry as an exciting career proposition for the future. OPITO remains committed to empowering the next generation by developing an inclusive employee value proposition through campaigns such as My Energy Future.

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OPITO is the global skills organisation for the energy industry. Over 480,000 people are trained to OPITO standards every year through more than 230 accredited training centres in 50 countries. Operating in the UK and Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas, OPITO focuses on enhancing workforce safety and skills. By driving global standards and qualifications, and engaging with industries and governments, OPITO strives to create a secure and proficient workforce while providing career pathways and training opportunities for current and future generations.