St Fergus Gas Plant – which is near Peterhead in North East Scotland – processes gas from our North Sea operations. Oil and gas were for a long time seen as a traditionally male dominated domain. Shell in the UK has been helping to break down the gender gap and associated barriers through the 5050 Ops initiative; a range of activities designed to enhance employee and contractor experiences offshore and at onshore plants, for those who identify as female. This includes having a designated Diversity and Inclusion representative on every asset, acting as a focal point for any question or problem raised from a D&I perspective.

It is apparent there is still work to be done to ensure that any asset environment is optimal for men and women equally. To enable women to better show up and work safely and successfully, other work that has been put in place include better placement of sanitary bins, laundry bags that protect delicates and a video of all the things a woman specifically may need for a first trip offshore. 

Work is also being done to develop two-piece coveralls, this will not be limited to only women, but to whoever wants them, to ensure parity of access - it is hoped this will become industry standard. There is also a buddy system open to all our colleagues who work at an asset location – whether female, ethnic minority, LGBTQ+, religious, or simply wanting some support offshore. This is to pair up those who are new to the to the Energy sector or the offshore environment with those who are more experienced, to create a better sense of certainty and safety.

We are seeking to constantly learn best practice for all colleagues who identify as diverse in some way: religion, LGBTQ+, gender, ethnicity. The work that has gone into this initiative has been wide-spread and supported from senior leadership throughout the ranks, showing the influence and affects it is having to improve female and diverse welfare offshore. In winning, it proves that we are on the right track and serves as real encouragement to keep driving forwards, always hand-in-hand with our industry partners.

Other initiatives include “Girls in Energy”, which was launched in 2010 in partnership with the North East Scotland College. The one-year course is designed to show female students the energy industry’s wealth of career opportunities. More than 100 students from around North East Scotland and Fife participate every year.

Shell has also provided broader support to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives including engineering schemes, Techfest (Aberdeen and the North-East of Scotland’s annual festival of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Aberdeen Science Centre.

In the last ten years, there has been a 50% increase in the number of women working at St Fergus – currently, there are 8 women at the plant representing 12% of the workforce, the majority in technical roles.

Abbey Thomson, Operations Technician at St Fergus Gas Plant

I had no idea what I wanted to do for a job, but through the “Girls in Energy” programme I really had my eyes opened to a career in the energy industry. Following that, I did my highers and went to North East Scotland College to undertake the two-year Shell engineering scheme where you study measurement and control and electrical engineering. I would never have thought to come here, but now I’m here I wouldn’t leave!

Abbey Thomson, Operations Technician at St Fergus Gas Plant

Bringing balance to the Upstream Leadership team

In the UK sector of the North Sea, Shell produces approximately 10% of UK oil and gas. Shell produces oil and gas from more than 50 interests in North Sea Fields, 30 North Sea platforms and 2 FPSO’s – one operated and one operated on our behalf.

Inclusive Leadership – Developing our Female Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Talent

For a number of years, each of our businesses and functions have focused on talent plans to support the identification and development of women at different stages of their careers.

Case studies

These describe the specific and differing challenges in some of our business areas, and the actions being taken to improve representation and build a more balanced and inclusive workplace at Shell in the UK.