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SAFETY STANDARDS 'IN JEOPARDY'

Oil industry hit by skills shortage, says survey

Dubai, March 11, 2013

Warnings that oil industry safety standards are being jeopardised by a shortage of experienced staff are supported by a report released today (March 11).

"The Global Oil & Gas Workforce Survey: Expectations for hires and pay rates in the oil and gas industry (H1) 2013" was jointly conducted by OilCareers.com, the international jobs board for the oil and gas industry, and partner Air Energi, a global provider of manpower solutions to energy sector.  

The study pointed out that ensuring the right personnel are on the ground in the right place will present a continuing challenge for the worldwide oil and gas industry.

The continued investment across the Middle East has been overshadowed by an amplified need for skilled expertise in the workforce, said the survey report which was published today (March 11). Oil industry safety standards are being jeopardised by a shortage of experienced staff, it added.

The survey requested information and opinions from more than 170,000 oil and gas professionals worldwide. The Middle East is one of seven major oil and gas producing regions represented in the survey with respondents being drawn from over 50 countries.

More than 15,500 were either direct recruiters or senior decision makers.

About 32 per cent of respondents said the on-going skills shortage was the biggest threat to the industry, while over 20 per cent of them identified the lack of skilled trainers as a major training issue, it added.

With all regions around the globe facing resourcing challenges as well as tentative economic outlooks, the Middle East continues to lure skilled expatriates away from desirable design hubs such as London and Houston.

"The offer of an unrivalled quality of life, competitive rates, attractive tax breaks and long-tenured placements is proving too tempting to resist," revealed the survey.

The region however has experienced an uncertain overcast with experts predicting that talented personnel are set to flock to Australia and Asia Pacific as they overtake Qatar as the leading exporter of LNG within the next four to five years, it added.

However, these concerns have been allayed with foreign investment dollars and salary rates remaining consistent.

As a whole hiring rates have increased by 45 per cent across the Middle East with the UAE well recognised as a regional hotspot for project activity.

Offshore and refining projects are expected to pick up across the year as the emirates plan to significantly increase production to fulfill domestic requirements.

Saudi Arabia is in close pursuit with activity set to continue at a steady pace across the year as multiple downstream and refinery projects come online.

Most notably, Saudi Aramco has created projects worth SR308 billion ($82 billion) opening up huge employment opportunities in the area, said the survey.
 
Furthermore, Iraq continues to open its doors to increased investment, sparked by a desire from operators to access significant reserves estimated to be the third largest in the world, despite instability caused by unpredictable political tensions.

With an increase in activity however, comes a common problem, a need for senior expertise, the survey added.

About 60.4 per cent expect to see an increase in salaries, a trend mimicked worldwide with employee packages seeing a general upward trend with specific emphasis in areas that are considered to be high risk.  

Mark Guest, the managing director of OilCareers.com, said, "The recent tragic events in Algeria have served to further underline existing safety concerns throughout the oil and gas industry. It has long been the case that positions in certain geographic areas attract a higher level of remuneration to reflect the safety issues associated with the work location."

"Companies working in these locations take the security of their personnel very seriously and work to protect them and ensure their working environment is as safe as possible," explained Guest.

Mark pointed out the survey and predictions for the second half confirm these safety inflation pressures are being reflected throughout the industry.  

"In addition it should be noted that without the right personnel in place to train the next generation the skills shortage is likely to continue and to become a bigger problem. This issue is most noticeable in areas such as the Middle East where investment continues, accelerating the need for skilled personnel with site construction workers and senior-level engineers being the most in demand," he noted.

Ian Langley, group executive chairman of Air Energi, said, "Just over 34 per cent of those responding to the survey perceived economic instability as being the biggest threat to today’s oil and gas industry. The skills shortage was a very close second; 32 per cent view this as being a major challenge to overcome."

"In particular the shortage of subsea and LNG personnel is being felt throughout the industry and has a knock on effect in terms of project costs and delays," said the expert.

Headquartered in Manchester (UK), Air Energi has been a trusted provider of expertise to the energy sector for over three decades, employing over 2,000 consultants and is now operational in over 50 countries.

“Elements of the oil and gas workforce will continue to be transient in nature and respond to the demand for their skills around the globe, but the industry as a whole needs to concentrate on developing the workforce in order to ensure knowledge is passed on and the required experience is in place to manage the world’s oil and gas reserves,” Guest added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Oil | Skills | Shortage | threat | Air Energi |

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