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Oil and Gas Training - Guide for Professionals

Like virtually every industrial sector around the world, the oil and gas industry is experiencing rapid changes due to technological advancements. Coupled with the transition to a lower carbon future, increased internationalisation, and changing business models, this means big changes for the skills landscape of the oil and gas industry.

The oil and gas industry in the UK is well-established: while the UK produces just 1.1 percent of the global oil supply, the offshore oil and gas industry provided or supported employment for 283,000 people in 2018. Of these, it is estimated that more than 80% will still be working in the sector in 2025. In order to keep up with the ever-evolving oil and gas industry, these existing employees will need upskilling or reskilling.

According to a 2019 report by OPITO, there will be 4,500 new people employed in roles that do not currently exist in the oil and gas industry by 2025. These roles will demand expertise in areas such as low carbon energy, data science, data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, material science, change management, remote operations and cyber security.

Whether you’re currently working in the oil and gas sector and seeking to upskill, considering entering the workforce in a new and exciting role, or just want to stay abreast of the latest oil and gas safety training, this guide will help you find the right training course for you!

What types of training exist for the oil and gas industry?




The first step in deciding which training program is right for you is identifying which sector of the oil and gas industry you currently work in or would like to pursue. Known as Upstream, Midstream, and Downstream, these three sectors describe the different points in the production of oil and gas. Oil and gas training courses allow professionals to stay updated on the latest trends in this constantly changing and evolving industry. The procurement, processing, and distribution of oil and gas is a complex industry requiring training on an extensive list of skills. 

Upstream: Exploration and production

Also known as the exploration and production (E&P) stage, the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry relates to:

  • searching for potential underground or underwater sources of crude oil and natural gas
  • drilling exploratory wells
  • drilling and operating the wells that extract and bring oil and gas to the surface

Training courses for the upstream stage of oil and gas production cover various topics, including geology geophysics reservoir engineering and well construction and drilling. 

Midstream: Transmission

The midstream sector of the oil and gas industry involves the transportation, storage, and wholesale marketing of crude or refined petroleum products. 

Professional training in this sector cover a multitude of highly specific technologies related to pipelines, pumps, and artificial lift systems. Because of the importance of transportation, training in logistics management may also be useful.

Downstream: Refining and processing

The downstream sector of the oil and gas industry is responsible for the refining, distribution, and retail of petroleum products. Transforming the oil and gas into usable products like jet fuel, gasoline, synthetic rubber, plastics, propane, and pharmaceuticals is the last step of the process. 

Helpful training courses at this stage cover topics include oil and gas production and processing facilities training.

Of course, there are no strict dividing lines between each sector, and some professions will require employees to work across all three sectors. It’s also important to note that oil and gas professionals can benefit from training courses beyond the immediate realm of oil and gas.

These areas of development will be discussed in the next section.

The future of oil and gas professional training

Oil and gas training

As presented in the 2019 Skills Landscape report by OPITO, many changes are underway in the UK oil and gas industry. Changes to the industry’s workforce, learning approach, and business model are all projected to take place by 2025. These changes will require significant upskilling in a number of areas outside the traditional energy industry. 

The following skill sets will be focus areas for upskilling in the future of the oil and gas industry:

Technology and data skills

Necessity, competitive pressures and changing market dynamics have led many other industries to increase their focus on digitalisation and technological innovation. In the oil and gas industry, some of these new technologies include:

Skills in the area of technology and data science will be critical for the future oil and gas workforce. These skills include working virtually/remotely, new media literacy, analysing/interpreting data, digital skills, managing cyber security and protecting data confidentiality. Almost every area of the oil and gas industry will need to focus on upskilling in the area of technology and data.

Business and innovation skills

Business and innovation is another training area that is expected to surge in the next few years. Business and innovation is an umbrella terms for skills like: 

In the oil and gas industry, working across borders and internationalisation are key focus areas. 

This is especially true in the UK, which plans to double its share of the global technology and services market by 2035. To address this need, new technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) are being used. For example, maintenance activities at oil and gas facilities are simplified by connecting workers with experts abroad via ‘smart’ helmets and ‘smart’ goggles. This technology can reduce operational downtime and reduce expenses. 

Leadership and interpersonal skills

This ‘soft’ skill area includes topics like

In the oil and gas industry, moving towards new ways of working and increasing innovation will need the strongest focus across all fields.

Leadership and management are areas in need up upskilling since 75% of all managers and team leaders are over 40 years of age and 40% are over the age of 50. Training that helps this demographic manage change, implement new technology and establish new ways of working is necessary to keep industries in the oil and gas sector agile and adaptable.

How to choose a professional training provider

Now that you’re familiar with the kinds of training within the oil and gas industry, it’s time to choose the training course and provider.

Making sure you’re taking a course from an accredited or approved training provider is an important first step. Providers can be accredited by region or by sector, so these can vary significantly. For example, if you’re interested in a safety training course, you should make sure to take the course from an accredited centre. 

Other factors you want to consider before choosing your oil and gas training course are:

Training delivery method

Training delivery methods include:

  • open / scheduled
  • company-specific / in-house
  • e-learning / online/distance
  • blended learning
  • apprenticeships

Do you know if one method has been more effective for you in the past?

Do you need the instructor to travel to your workplace, or can you attend classroom sessions?

Would you prefer to study from the comfort of your own home?

These are important questions to consider when selecting a training delivery method.


Training needs to be accessible. If your training course is based in a classroom, is it close enough to easily attend? If there isn’t a course near you, consider an online/distance course that you can take from anywhere in the world. 

In the UK, most training in the oil and gas industry is located in London, Aberdeen, and Manchester. Aberdeen is a particularly important hub for the oil and gas industry because of the significant oil deposits in the North Sea. After the discovery of oil off the coast of Aberdeen, it was dubbed “the oil capital of Europe.”

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