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Transferring from Oil and Gas to Renewables

Oil And Gas

Article posted by Rhys Elliott

As the push for greater use of renewable energy sources emerges across the US, fuelled by ambitious targets set by the current administration, I am regularly contacted by professionals in the Oil and Gas industry on how they can break into renewables projects.

​The operation of large utility-scale solar and wind plants demands similar skills to oil and gas plants. Offshore experience will also translate almost directly to offshore wind and solar. I have listed below several skills that will transfer to renewables.

​​Project Management skills

Effective Communication, Scheduling and Time Management, Leadership, Technical Expertise, Risk Management, Critical Thinking, and Problem Solving are all core skills of a successful project manager and should not be discounted when looking into a new role.

Health and Safety skills

There is always room for heightened health and safety practices with differing standards across sectors. Knowledge and qualifications in this area are highly transferrable between industries. For example the Onshore, offshore and renewables training provided by HOTA covers safety training across all projects, regardless of if you work in oil and gas or renewables. Many of the health and safety principles will apply.

Instrumentation skills

Some of the most technical and advanced instruments, for example, gas analysis equipment in biomass power projects, are used in the oil and gas industry. Power generation and renewable energy research are growing sectors, which means instrumentation engineers can find good opportunities.

High Voltage skills

Working with high voltage electrical equipment is found across both oil & gas and renewables. Knowledge and experience in this area make you a suitable candidate to transition between the industries. The civil aspect of large renewables projects in particular, both in engineering and in pre-construction/estimating also follow similar processes to the oil and gas industry.

Floating skills

Before offshore wind farms, offshore gravity-based structures were unique to the oil and gas industry. Windfarm projects will need engineering, construction, and project management expertise to build and maintain. Renewables companies will find most candidates with civil engineering degrees or experience in offshore structures desirable.

Education

If you have obtained a relevant STEM degree, then you can transfer this knowledge from oil and gas to renewables. Basic engineering principles and physics don’t change, just the requirements of the industry. The fundamentals between renewables and oil and gas are different but the physics are the same. You will be well prepared for the transition if you have studied STEM subjects.

Gone are the days of Green Energy Specialists and start-ups working solely to move the renewable energy markets forward. Now the likes of the large oil and gas companies themselves are diversifying. Now could not be a better time to search for a new role within renewables. Opportunities are countless for experienced and inexperienced professionals looking to make their way into solar or wind.

If you would like a consultation in moving your career into renewables, don't hesitate to get in touch with me here: rhys.elliott@wearero.com​