Wanted: Geoscientists for jobs in old and new energy

A global trade alliance for the energy geoscience and seismic industry is desperate for talent as the next generation of workers shuns the oil and gas industry.

Combining geology, computer modelling, physics and mathematics, the sector prides itself in knowing about all energy sources that go in, out or through Earth.

But Australia's performance is "not great" in the global competition for talent, Houston-based EnerGeo Alliance chief executive Nikki Martin told AAP in Perth.

EnerGeo CEO Nikki Martin.
EnerGeo CEO Nikki Martin says there is a talent crisis for geoscientists around the world. (HANDOUT/ENERGEO)

"People, that's the huge vulnerability. There is a talent crisis for geoscientists around the world, especially in the west," she said.

"Any source of energy, any low-carbon solution that may be required or preferred by society or government requires the geoscience industry to be able to develop it, source it, produce it and connect it to people," she said.

However, there is widespread scepticism about carbon capture and storage as a tool to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 while continuing to produce and use gas.

Further, critics say seismic blasting for Woodside's Scarborough project off the coast of Western Australia and by TGS in the Otway Basin off the coast of Victoria puts whales and dolphins at risk.

Australia has had close to 40 per cent declines in undergraduate students entering geoscience degrees, while the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have also seen interest drop off for the past decade.

By the end of the decade, the US alone will be facing a labour gap of 130,000 geoscientists, according to the American Geosciences Institute.

"This is a top two concern of industry executives, not just in geoscience but even more so in the exploration industry," Ms Martin said.

"It's a perception issue ... there is a negative perception about the role of exploration in our world."

In reality, they could be in space programs, developing an offshore wind farm, preventing coastal erosion or extracting critical minerals.

But anything related to oil and gas had a "negative tinge" to it so students were not interested in pursuing it, she said.

Government policies on approvals and permitting for exploration and production top the list of concerns in fossil fuel boardrooms.

Ms Martin said Australia's recently released future gas strategy discouraged precisely the technology needed to find the most resource-rich gas and produce it with the least emissions possible and a smaller environmental footprint.

"In fact, there's a negative mention of seismic - an intent to actually limit seismic survey activities," she said.