The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed said recently that cheap petrol prices at the pump might be nice, British oil is in danger.
The oil and gas sector in the UK absolutely loves using freelancers and umbrella company contractors, especially since so much of its work on North Sea oil rigs is usually short term and project-based. Contractors love it because it’s good money and it’s a great excuse to spend a few weeks or months pretending they’re big burly oil workers, and oil companies are grateful just to get the rubbish out of the ground and into barrels. Of course, the problem is that these oil fields are dropping in productivity as the price of oil and gas takes a nosedive; while it’s bad for the sector it’s especially bad for the entire British economy, according to the IPSE.
Sure, it’s brilliant to pull up to the corner garage and not have to take out an additional mortgage on your flat to pay for a tank full of petrol right now – and it’s even better to feel like you can pay your energy bill without having to sell off a few pints of blood down at the local NHS clinic – but the truth is that weak oil prices could actually threaten the energy security of the UK according to the IPSE. What’s worse, prices could bounce back more or less at any time – and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Why are we so thoroughly up the creek? Well it’s because the UK is a net energy importer. That means we buy more energy-producing substances – like fossil fuels – than we actually produce. We’ve got no control over the price of things like oil and natural gas as a result, as we’re at the mercy of exporters to fulfill our energy needs – and IPSE says that we’ll be well buggered if prices spike high again. Of course the best bet for the country is to continue pouring resources into investing in all sorts of energy sources – not just oil and and gas but nuclear shale and renewable sources – in order to break free of our dependence on foreign oil interests.
How do we do that? Well damned if I know. I can tell you that if more energy investment takes place in the UK, contractors will be ready and willing to work any jobs that are created.