As the global oil, gas and energy industry continues to slowly rebound and stabilise, and as borders begin to open, we’re seeing more jobs coming on to the market. And while the industry may be more project- and commercially-driven – than in the past, there remains plenty of lucrative opportunities for skilled energy professionals in all sectors, with businesses still open to upskilling their expertise.
As Deloitte notes, industry challenges in the form of political turbulence, weakening economic growth and trade tensions are continuing to upset the market. Businesses will be paying close attention to these disruptive forces and ensuring they are equipped with the right level of talent to navigate these trying times – and this may mean restructuring and change, which in turn opens the door to opportunity. So how can energy professionals make themselves heard in this noisy marketplace, and what can they do to secure the best role possible, whether it be a technical engineering role within an energy sector or a corporate role?
Here’s how to structure your CV to get noticed.
Qualifications, hands-on experience and certifications are all still highly desired within oil, gas and energy. Use a technical CV format to highlight these, placing your key skills at the very top of the document. These might include offshore substation experience, field operations experience, project management certifications, recognised engineering qualifications, wind turbine experience, language skills and safety training, but will vary according to your expertise. Recruiters search for keywords that match the industry, so this is a great opportunity to showcase your work experience and ongoing training and development. Meanwhile, for roles in the IT, digital and corporate areas of the energy industry, it’s key to highlight major achievements – ideally with supportive data that demonstrates their impact – and digital and technology skills that employers are increasingly looking for. Professionals should highlight this information in an executive summary before detailing job history.
If you’re applying for a specific role, make sure your skills meet the specific requirements mentioned in the job ad. Then, mention these in your CV and describe how they meet the needs of the role, whether that’s by describing your success in a similar position, referencing your qualification or demonstrating your understanding of how a key piece of technology works. Finally, include the names of projects you’ve worked on where possible. Employers will want to see the types of environments and machinery you’re used to working with (for example, an old rig versus a new rig) and this can help them to determine your level of experience.
While mobilisation has been impacted by Covid-19, companies are still looking for candidates who are willing to travel – and can mobilise quickly. As the supply chain repairs and more projects open back up, we can expect to see more contractors and employees resuming travel arrangements in the coming months. Because energy industry jobs can be located in some of the world’s most remote regions, candidates must be willing to travel for the right opportunity, and ideally have prior experience doing so. If you have location-specific qualifications, have the advantage of being a dual passport holder, have visas or other documentation, be sure to specify this on your CV.
Whether it’s subsea and marine, subsurface, drilling and well engineering, HSEQ, project management or construction, home in on your specific industry vertical within your CV. While the energy industry has roles for almost every type of candidate, there are always key areas of technical expertise in demand. The energy industry attracts highly skilled, highly technical professionals, whether they are engineers or corporate professionals choosing to work in that industry; either way employers want to see candidates who have experience in and commitment to their specialisms. Meanwhile, corporate professionals should highlight their knowledge of industry-standard systems and trends, whether that’s the latest data security standards for IT and cybersecurity professionals or the most effective lead management software in sales. Be sure to mention specific programmes and software you are familiar with, as consultants will look for these when searching for new talent.
Therefore use your personal summary or introduction section to outline your key experience and what you want to do next, and ideally ensure that this information either aligns, or explains what you’re looking to do and the value you can add to a business. Because many roles require extensive training and qualifications, candidates who can showcase dedication to their niche may seem like a better investment to businesses.
Recent reports suggest remote work in the oil and gas industry isn’t as much of a challenge as previously thought. With major companies moving much of their drilling activity into remote work-supported environments, there’s now talk that more work could move from the field to remote operations centres – or even the home – long-term. While the industry hasn’t always been quick to adopt and adapt to technology, there is no shying away from the role automation and robotics will play in the future. And although the rise of the machines may make some jobs obsolete, it will also certainly open up others for those professionals who are prepared to learn new skills and embrace technology. If this is you, highlight your technology skills in your CV and demonstrate your ability to work successfully in different environments.
As hiring activity resumes, we’re seeing companies place more focus on leadership skills, personality and cultural fit than they have in the past. Technical skills are still highly important, but now clients are looking for professionals who can not only do the day job well but are aligned with their organisational goals and culture. If you’re a brilliant communicator, skilled at leading teams, excellent at influencing senior stakeholders or work well in a cross-functional environment, demonstrate these on your CV so consultants can see the full picture of you as a candidate. In addition, we’re seeing foreign languages become increasingly valuable to clients, so list any language skills you have. Finally, consider what skills from previous non-energy roles may be transferrable to the current climate. For example, military experience – particularly in the USA – has a very high standard amongst many clients, and showcases a variety of soft skills that are in high demand.
With more than 40 years’ experience in the oil, gas and energy sector, Petroplan is an award-winning global, specialist, talent solutions business that seeks out the best contract and permanent opportunities around the world. We put a strong emphasis on candidate care, which includes offering advice on CV length and structure.
Our deep industry knowledge and long-lasting relationships with clients and candidates within the market mean we’re best placed to help you take your next career step.
Any recruitment professional will tell you that no two days are quite the same, and this is particularly true for those working within the energy industry, which has experienced high levels of turbulence in recent times. This ever-changing landscape and broad scope of the consultant role are just some of the reasons why people love working in recruitment – but as Roxy Hohls tells us, there are plenty of highlights to keep consultants motivated within recruitment.
Roxy is a Senior Consultant at Petroplan. She joined the business in September 2019 after moving from a smaller recruitment firm, and she hasn’t looked back. She spoke to us about what life is like as a Senior Consultant at Petroplan.
“I started as an Office Assistant nearly ten years ago, before gaining my CIPD qualification and moving into the world of HR. Working as an HR Manager at a publishing house, I was put in charge of recruitment and that’s where I totally fell in love with the work. After realising that my favourite part of the HR job could be my full-time role, I decided to get into recruitment full-time, working as a consultant in a specialist energy search firm. Three years later I was approached by Petroplan’s Regional Director Jon France, and curiosity got the better of me! After hours of conversation, I accepted the job.”
“While I never thought I’d work for such a large organisation, the scale of Petroplan was actually one of the most appealing things about it. There are so many existing relationships with big clients and there are always active roles, something which is not always the case in smaller firms. The work is interesting and varied and I have access to more clients and contacts, with clients using us for multiple roles and functions. I love being busy and having work on, and Petroplan really ticks those boxes.”
“First and foremost, the energy industry is extremely friendly, from intern level to CEOs. There’s a lot of integrity and respect in this line of work. I feel like I am more of a ‘Career Consultant’ than a Recruitment Consultant, which is something I love. Clients no longer want to just see a CV – they want to know about the whole person, and I really value getting to bring candidates to life. Technical ability is important, but I’m increasingly matching people to positions according to their personality attributes and desires. There’s a lot of psychology in this type of work and I love finding candidates who are the perfect fit for a company, both in terms of their skill set and their cultural fit.”
“The market is at an interesting stage right now. We’re seeing a lot of exceptional candidates who maybe haven’t been actively seeing new positions in the past few years, which is giving us a really strong talent pool to take to clients. Clients are now starting to hire again after a few months of watching the market, so it’s great to see some green shoots.”
“It starts with coffee! I split my day into three parts and adjust according to what’s urgent and important:
“We care! You are not a number with us – we put the work in and spend time matching candidates to clients based on technical ability and personality fit. We’re a well-known, well-respected agency in the market and we know our industry inside out. Personally, I’ve been in the energy industry through downturns, so I’ve seen the trends and know what to expect. I’ll pay close attention to movements within the industry, looking at companies that receive funding and assets and getting to the bottom of what’s happening and why. It’s such a fascinating industry and I love learning more about it.”
“Go for it! Working at a company like Petroplan gives you so many opportunities. As Petroplan is so established, with more than 40 years’ experience, every call you make will be, on some level, ‘warm’. The industry knows us and even if someone hasn’t worked directly with us, the chances are that they’ll know someone who has. We’re highly trusted and generate great results, which makes it such an appealing company to join. And although we’re big, we’ve got a positive culture with many opportunities to progress. You aren’t a small fish in a big pond – we’re all swimming together! For example, I know exactly what I need to do to get a promotion and I feel supported to achieve this. Whether that’s in account management, team management or another move within Petroplan, I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next”.
The last few years have seen the role of digital networking in the war for the right talent come under increased scrutiny, and this has only intensified during the Covid-19 lockdown. With much of the world’s population confined to their homes during April and May – more than 3.9 billion people, – the internet has played a bigger, and even more crucial, role in our lives than ever. And with the unfortunate economic impact of the pandemic, it’s no wonder that professionals are turning even more to the internet to fuel their job search requirements.
While there are many different digital platforms and networks that can assist people in their search for their next ideal role, there is perhaps none mightier than LinkedIn. Boasting 690 million members across 200 countries and regions, the website is the go-to professional networking platform for hiring managers and recruiters in various industries all over the world.
For companies and search consultants looking to identify the market’s top talent, the internet is a vital tool. These professionals use the internet to do everything from searching talent pools, head hunting and identifying potential candidates to conducting screening assessments and interviews.
LinkedIn is the most-used social media channel by talent acquisition, executive search and hiring professionals. As 84% of recruiters are adapting their hiring processes to facilitate remote exchanges, we’re seeing a rise in the use of the already-popular professional platform to not only seek out jobs and candidates, but also network and create meaningful communities. LinkedIn can be used to build up a personal brand and become known as an industry thought leader, making candidates (both passive and active) much more likely to be sought out by specialist consultants.
According to LinkedIn’s own David Fitzgerald, Talent Solutions EMEA Account Director, digital presence for professionals is now more important than ever:
“Your LinkedIn profile is where you want to promote yourself in a way that makes you an attractive candidate to recruiters and employers. Be your authentic self and, along with your career progression, include elements that make you uniquely you, as these are the things that will really make you stand out,” he says.
In addition to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can both be surprising sources of online professional networks, especially when using industry-specific hashtags or joining community networks. There are also specific online networking groups that provide resources and support, such as the Oil and Gas Council and the Energy Reinvented Community.
While LinkedIn is constantly updating its algorithm and recruitment professionals use a variety of different techniques to identify talent, there are several things you can do right now to boost the visibility of your profile within LinkedIn, and how appealing it is. The first is simply to keep your profile updated with your employment history – you can minimise the detail of irrelevant jobs or those from many years ago, but they’re still important to list to show potential employers and recruiters the full picture of your career. Then, follow the below tips:
LinkedIn’s search algorithms rank your profile’s headline and recent job title heavily, and search consultants are likely to include specific job titles in their search. This means it’s crucial to focus on these parts of your profile. With 120 characters to use in your headline, use this real estate wisely to communicate what you do, your specialisms and what you want to get from your career.
LinkedIn members with a profile photo have 21 times more views than members who don’t have one. Choose a photo that is professional and reflects who you are. A head and shoulders shot of just you in work-appropriate attire and a neutral background tends to be best. A background photo (which sits at the header of your profile) will also help to gain attention and represent yourself.
Keywords are not to be confused with buzzwords. The latter are overused to the point where they add no meaning to profiles – for example, ‘specialised’, ‘experienced’, ‘creative’, ‘ambitious’ – while keywords are industry-specific and add SEO value to your profile. Often consultants will enter a search phrase into LinkedIn, looking for specific qualifications, knowledge of systems and procedures or tenure in related companies, so think about the keywords specific to your industry and add these into your profile. These are particularly useful to add to your headline or job title.
Candidates with verified skills are around 30% more likely to be hired. On LinkedIn, an easy way to corroborate your skills is by seeking endorsements from your connections. Use LinkedIn’s tool to add specific skills to your profile (for example, project management, systems architecture or collaboration) and reach out to connections to ask for endorsements and recommendations. If you list more than five skills on our profile, you’re 27 times more likely to be discovered by consultants in searches.
In the current employment landscape, simply having a LinkedIn profile is not enough. To really generate interest, you need to use your digital presence to generate discussion and position yourself as an industry participant, if not leader. Proactively look for relevant industry connections, including old colleagues, recruitment consultants and professionals you look up to within your specialism, and ask to add them to your network. Join active groups, such as Oil and Gas Industry People or Engineering People of Oil and Gas, to be connected to likeminded professionals and start sharing relevant updates and discussion. Create status updates to showcase your own thoughts or ask questions of your network, and share news and updates from the industry to provide a snapshot into your professional life.
A well optimised LinkedIn profile can help you stand out to recruitment professionals and hiring managers, but that’s just the first step to securing your next role. For expert assistance within the oil, gas and energy sector, look to Petroplan to help you find your next role. View our latest oil and gas jobs or contact us to see how we can help.
Diversity and inclusion have been on the business agenda for a number of years, yet the energy industry, to date, does not have a strong track record in the area of encouraging and nurturing diverse talent. This is true of cultural, racial and disability diversity, and in particularly gender diversity. There are fewer women in oil and gas jobs than almost any other major industry, accounting for less than one quarter of employees in the sector worldwide – and these figures grow smaller the higher up the business ladder you go.
With the oil, gas and energy sector currently undergoing a period of change and disruption, now seems an opportune moment to examine the industry’s bias and take steps to encourage a more gender diverse workforce.
While women make up 22% of employees in the oil and gas industry worldwide, according to Catalyst, this gender diversity increases with seniority. Entry-level positions are comprised of 27% women, 17% are at senior and executive-level positions and just 1% of oil and gas CEOs are women.
The lack of women in technical and field roles is partly to blame for the lack of female representation at the top levels of oil and gas, as these roles are often stepping stones to advancement. Women are more likely to hold positions in support functions such as human resources, information technology and legal, with less representation across manufacturing, engineering and research.
While the lack of women is an industry-wide problem, there are companies taking active steps to improve. Canada’s PrairieSky Royalty Ltd has a management team that is 75% female, including 50% of senior management, while Pink Petro is a community and resource aimed at disrupting the energy industry’ gender gap.
In recent years we’ve seen Vicki Hollup appointed as the first female CEO of a ‘big oil’ firm and Oil and Gas UK launching an oil and gas diversity network. Other forms of diversity are being addressed in Energy UK’s Pride in Energy network, which is a diversity forum for LGBT+ members of the energy industry. However, the latest statistics within the industry – and particularly at the highest level – suggest more clearly needs to be done to encourage diversity within oil and gas.
Diversity has many business benefits, beyond simply contributing to a fair and equal workplace and society. It’s long been reported that organisations with diverse workforces perform better financially, and a report from the Peterson Institute for International Economics echoes this sentiment, showing that women leaders can add 6% to a business’s bottom line.
McKinsey research shows that companies in the top quartile for executive team gender diversity are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability than those in the fourth quartile, with a 33% likelihood when executive teams are in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity.
Within oil and gas, 94% of EY’s survey respondents believe that diversity of thought and experience are key to navigating the industry’s high levels of disruption, with the vast majority saying that diversity contributes to both financial and nonfinancial business performance. Yet the oil and gas industry has long struggled to attract, retain and promote women.
Industry job cuts and retirements that have plagued the industry over the past years – not to mention the unprecedented industry shutdown through coronavirus – means the market will likely see a shortage of petrotechnical professionals when oil production is reprioritised and exploration and production investments rebound. This talent gap presents a clear opportunity to attract more diverse teams, ushering in new skillsets to accommodate digital change and provide more innovative, creative thinking.
It’s clear the oil, gas and energy sector still has some way to go before truly being diverse, particularly when it comes to attracting and promoting women. However, there are clear steps companies can take to play their part in creating a more inclusive future.
Oil and gas companies can work to demonstrate the career opportunities and development potential available to women. If such progression is difficult to identify and express, this presents another challenge: examining why women are not advancing within organisations and putting procedures in place to help improve these outcomes.
Many oil and gas organisations have implemented diversity goals on their recruitment teams, as well as creating internal communities of support. The likes of BP, Shell, Spirit Energy, Expro and Worley have signed the AXIS Pledge, which asks companies working in Aberdeen’s energy sector to understand the underlying reasons behind their gender gap and take positive actions to close it.
Companies can also take a proactive approach to future-proof their talent pipeline by investing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics programmes for young people, and particularly for girls. Apprenticeships, mentoring and training programmes can be created to encourage more women to enter and progress oil and gas careers, while managers must provide high-performing women with the experiences required to develop their careers.
Above all, a complete culture shift is required to address the lack of diversity within oil, gas and energy and encourage more women to build their careers in this sector.
The oil and gas sector faces considerable challenges in the near future, including an ageing workforce, demand for technological skills and uncertainty about the post-Covid-19 landscape. By not encouraging more women into the sector, companies risk missing out on the innovation, insight and profit that diverse teams can generate, and may fail to capitalise on opportunities for growth in the future.
At Petroplan, we understand how important gender diversity is to achieve not only a more balanced workforce, but also better business results. We’re led by a predominantly female Board of Directors, with a female CEO, providing strong leadership and a client-led management structure. This allows us to ensure clients receive unrivalled service levels and quality candidates to meet their specific needs.
We have a strong focus on industry news and developments. With deep experience in our sectors and strong relationships with candidates and clients alike, we make it our business to know what’s going on in oil and gas. Whether it’s diversity, future planning or crisis coordination, we are always happy to talk about the industry issues affecting you. Contact us to start a conversation.
LONDON, 10 July 2020 – Petroplan will be recognised by KellyOCG®, the outsourcing and consulting group of Kelly, with a Supplier Excellence Award during an upcoming virtual event in July. The award is presented to top-performing national and global suppliers that provide superior workforce solutions, and whose service, results and strategic partnerships have made a significant impact on KellyOCG’s business. Award winners represent less than 1% of KellyOCG’s total active supply chain.
“We are honoured to present Petroplan with this award for their outstanding efforts to provide exceptional talent solutions. The partnership we enjoy with our suppliers is pivotal to supporting our global customers as we work together in designing what’s next for their talent needs,” said Pam Sands, Global Lead – Supplier Strategy and Engagement, Professional Services Organisation for KellyOCG.
This year, Kelly will recognise 25 of its top suppliers from the EMEA, AMER, and APAC regions. Six of the award recipients are diverse suppliers.
Suppliers were evaluated on the following criteria
Jeff Weihrauch, VP Client Development for Petroplan added: “Petroplan is proud to have worked with KellyOCG for over a decade now. Our partnership spans across multiple continents and client accounts. The operations we support together for our shared clients cover all sectors of the oil and gas industry, being upstream, midstream, and downstream. Aside from the value Petroplan offers with providing market intelligence, industry/staffing trends, compensation surveys, etc., it is the relationship developed with KellyOCG at the senior leadership and program levels which is most important and shows true reciprocity between our respected companies.”
Philippa Barnes, CEO added; “It is with immense pride that we accept this award. This recognition means a great deal to all of us at Petroplan; we always strive to provide exceptional service to our clients and build partnerships with companies aspiring to the same high standards. It is a credit to Petroplan’s expert team that we continue to contribute so positively to global energy talent acquisition and workforce solutions. On behalf of all of us at Petroplan, I am delighted to accept this award with the promise to continue to provide our absolute best to our clients, contractors and candidates.”
Petroplan is the trusted global recruitment solutions partner for clients and professionals in the oil, gas and energy sector. Our mission is to explore with you, seeking optimum talent solutions for our clients and the very best opportunities for our candidates.
Bringing over 40 years’ experience, providing experts and professionals into roles across the energy sector from Engineering, Exploration and Production, O&M projects to Corporate & Commercial. Specialist industry & technical knowledge makes our team true experts.
1000s of placements in more than 40 countries for over 180 clients across 65 disciplines
Led today by a predominantly female Board of Directors who provide strong leadership and demand consistency of service to ensure clients receive unrivalled service levels and quality candidates to meet their specific needs. This leadership ethos is underpinned by a positive and client led management structure. Visit petroplan.com or connect with us on LinkedIn to learn more.
KellyOCG® is a leading global advisor of talent supply chain strategies and workforce solutions, and we’re dedicated to helping clients ditch the script on old ways of thinking about their workforce strategy. We anticipate what’s next in the future of work and apply market insights, data analytics, and supply chain management principles to design customised solutions where businesses and talent thrive. Our commitment to challenging the status quo positions us as a trusted strategic partner for our global client portfolio, which spans leading industries across North America, APAC and EMEA. Visit kellyocg.com or connect with us on LinkedIn to learn more.
Canada’s midstream oil and gas market has outperformed its peers in recent years, with Canadian C-corps beating the US market by 14% to April 7 to represent the largest portion of the North American energy infrastructure by market cap. Canada has the third-largest oil reserves in the world, with enormous long-term potential – yet ongoing challenges continue to disrupt activity in this space.
One of the primary issues with oil and gas extraction in the Canadian sedimentary basin is tidewater access. This is essential to be able to ship oil to refineries and overseas markets, yet Canada has struggled to achieve tidewater access due to its geographic makeup and political and environmental resistance. Despite being one of the world’s major producers of crude oil, Canada has just one main export market: The United States. A lack of pipeline access and increased production in both the US and Canada has led to Western Canadian crude oil being sold at a discount, which has emphasised the need for Canada to access new overseas markets with more demand for their oil. Much of Canada’s oil production is landlocked in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and a pipeline to tidewater would open up potential new markets for Canadian oil to command a better price than what it’s currently receiving in the US. Currently, pipelines out of Saskatchewan are full which means there is no access to tidewater, and the price differential between US oil and Canada oil can be significant, which combined create a significant challenge for local midstream companies to realise full market value for their product.
Canada currently has several major pipeline projects in process: Keystone XL, which is set to carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries in the US, Trans Mountain, which will see a capacity increase from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels, and Line 3 Replacement, which will double capacity to 760,000 barrels per day. These projects represent around 1.8 million barrels of new capacity coming online over the next two to three years, resulting in significant financial benefits for local areas and Canada as a whole. In addition, there’s Shell’s LNG Canada project, which has the potential to produce 14 million tonnes of LNG each year. The joint venture has support from First Nations, all levels of government, business and the community, will allow Canada to ship to Asian markets and put Canada on the global map of LNG exporting countries.
New pipelines have not been received positively by everyone in Canada and further afield.
The Trans Mountain pipeline has recently been in the news thanks to Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage. Ms Savage says the current ban on large public protests means that now is a good time to build new pipelines, after indigenous groups and environmentalists have heavily opposed the oil pipeline expansion, due to begin construction in December.
Despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declaring the project to be in the national economic interest, there have been many regulatory and economic hurdles that have halted progress. The British Columbia government, environmental campaigners and some First Nations have voiced opposition to the pipeline upgrade, while supporters maintain that it’s an essential boost to Canada’s energy sector and economy for years to come. The Canadian government has proven its support for new pipeline capacity by buying the Trans Mountain project from Kinder Morgan to ensure the project could survive.
Already the third-largest proven oil reserve in the world, Canada has the potential to have even larger oil reserves as technology evolves. In the oil sands, ultimate potential reserves are estimated to be more than 300 billion barrels. Meanwhile, the nation’s natural gas potential is estimated to be around 1,220 trillion cubic feet, with extraction seeming to be only a matter of time in terms of when technologies will be able to access untapped supply.
Despite this huge potential, there continue to be problems getting product to market, with strong political will creating regulatory issues for the industry. Take Quebec’s opposition to pipelines that resulted in the collapse of the Energy East project – despite the province being a major consumer of oil, thanks largely to its penchant for SUVs.
While renewable sources of energy continue to gain momentum, a clear successor to oil and gas has not yet emerged. Western society is built on energy, people continue to consume oil and gas and the economic benefits of such pipeline projects are enormous. On top of this, Canada ranks highly for corporate governance, corruption, transparency and environmental stringency compared to its oil-producing peers, with many in the local industry committed to cleaner, more environmentally friendly processes. The political will to push projects through to completion has been lacking recently, but if the three current major projects are seen through, we can expect to see a buoyant midstream market in the country in the coming years. More capacity would see oil and gas companies restart retired projects that were stymied due to tidewater access, with considerable creation of oil and gas jobs.
In addition to politics and protects, the Canadian midstream market is also being impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some project work has halted, mobilisation has been extremely challenging and now there are challenges surrounding returning to project sites. Despite this, Canada’s proactive energy industry continues to fight. Organisations are planning their return to work, with precautions such as visitation restrictions, quarantine and site screening introduced at sites across the country, as well as robust work from home policies. There has also been suggestion that project approvals will accelerate in Alberta on the back of legislation announced this month to encourage a post-Covid-19 industry revival.
Despite these positive steps, there remains a strong sentiment of frustration among Western Canada’s oil and gas industry. The federal government’s April announcement of a $1.7 coronavirus relief package to oil and gas has been met with anger by many in the industry which has a long history of significant contribution to the national economy. Canada’s oil patch representatives say pandemic loan programmes do not go far enough to help, and have specific requirements such as restricting executive compensation, prohibiting dividends, agreeing to have a government representative on their board and demonstrating contributions towards Canada’s net-zero emissions goal. Loans are offered with extremely high interest rates making them prohibitive for many in an industry which provides billions of dollars in tax revenues. Within our networks, the message we’re hearing time and again is that more should be done to support oil and gas, one of Canada’s major economic forces and providers of jobs. The industry provided $108 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2018 alone, supporting almost 530,000 jobs, and has the potential to grow even bigger and stronger – if the political will is there.
With more than 40 years’ experience providing resourcing solutions to the global energy market, we make it our business to remain up to date on the latest industry news across the energy industry. Our ongoing conversations with candidates, clients, suppliers and providers in Canada and further afield mean we are ideally positioned to provide industry insights and advice to help guide your next move. Contact us to start a conversation or reach out directly to Andrew Beveridge, Petroplan’s Canada, Regional Manager, for more information.
The Covid-19 pandemic has touched industries all over the world, and the oil and gas sector is not exempt. With supply chains disrupted, contractor movement on hold and delays at every stage of the project pipeline, we’ve seen a considerable change to the way the market is operating worldwide. Within EMEA, the challenges feel particularly pronounced.
Our consultants and contractors are reporting a variety of obstacles, with an uncertain future ahead for much of the industry. Despite this, there are glimmers of hope and long-term opportunities for a market which has always experienced enormous fluctuations. Here’s what oil and gas contractors and other professionals working in the energy sector need to know:
The movement of contractors to and from projects is one of the biggest challenges the industry is facing. Without people working on site, projects have ground to a halt. David Fisher, Materials and Logistics Supervisor at Sasol, says travel is “virtually non-existent” within EMEA’s energy sector, with Covid-19 having an enormous impact on projects.
“When you’re looking to mobilise people into a country, you need visas, work permits, passports and medicals, including a whole host of country-specific prerequisites. A lot of these services simply aren’t available currently, which makes it near-impossible to prepare contractors to begin the mobilisation process. Then with the lockdown on international travel – and strict quarantine requirements when entering and exiting certain parts of the world – it becomes extremely difficult to mobilise contractors in any capacity,” David says.
The Middle East continues to face considerable mobility challenges in most countries, even after the easing of lockdown following the end of Ramadan. Airports, local ministries and immigration departments are all closed, resulting in new visa applications being put on hold.
Long-term, we are likely to see changes to the availability of flights and routes, even when borders are opened. Some airlines may not weather the Covid-19 storm, and those that do will likely implement new policies that may impact contractor mobilisation.
The start of 2020 was already presenting challenges to the energy market, with weaker economic growth triggering less demand for coal and gas. For a sector that was only just recovering from the 2014-2015 oil price crash, there’s not been a lot to celebrate this year. With April’s dramatic drop in oil prices triggering traders to dump contracts and operators to suspend projects, the supply chain within the energy sector has completely broken down. Equipment is being held in ports or at sea, resulting in incurred storage costs and creating challenges around when and how equipment will be transported to site.
From manufacturing and packaging through to drilling, exploring and selling, there’s disruption at every level until remobilisation can occur. Meanwhile, the reduced oil price has led to small- and mid-sized operators facing challenges to secure investment.
Despite the challenges the oil and gas market is facing, there are glimmers of hope. For starters, the built-in force majeure clause in contracts means some organisations have been able to maintain low-level exposure in terms of the financial implications of Covid-19. And we’re now seeing positive movements in oil prices, with a barrel of North American crude oil reaching $35.44 on June 1 as lockdown measures relax and people begin to drive again. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has announced a reduction in oil production which should lead to an increase in oil prices.
Sasol’s David Fisher is cautiously optimistic, saying more control over Covid-19 may result in oil prices creeping up towards the $50 mark by the end of the year.
“If and when the prices come back up, we will see more jobs. Exploration will continue – there are still oil and gas fields out there that need to be explored, and Africa has huge potential for a strong future in oil and gas. With wells that need drilling and existing fields that can increase their existing production capacity, operators have a real role to play” says David.
If oil prices rebound and projects restart, the oil and gas industry will then face the next hurdle: remobilising the workforce. This will look different in every environment, whether that’s in an office, offshore, onshore, at a refinery or at an LNG terminal, and will be subject to regional variations. We can expect to see new contract rotations, as are being considered on the Canadian East Coast, where there are discussions around extending time on site to avoid frequent quarantining episodes). There will almost certainly be mandatory face coverings in many settings, with Fort Hills announcing such measures on all contractor buses and site shuttles as of early May. Business travel will be heavily restricted, with much stricter regulations on charter air travel and quarantine periods following every trip.
Meanwhile, North Sea workers are being tested as a priority at Aberdeen’s drive-in site. OGUK is supporting the rollout of a protective face covering for workers travelling to offshore installations in the UK Continental Shelf, while BP has introduced a raft of measures including preventative barriers, pre-mobilisation medical screening and safe passage hotel and travel arrangements. We can expect to see more of these measures throughout EMEA as organisations balance the return to site with health and safety.
Visa restrictions will play an ongoing role in mobilisation as governments announce new policies on a regular basis. We may see more examples like Singapore, which has enforced e-health declarations before travellers can go through immigration clearance, or Chile’s ‘release cards’ which declare those recovered from Covid-19 to be exempt from quarantine and restriction.
Clients with office-based roles are considering the logistics of a return to the workplace, with one global service company adopting local strategies which include temperature checks before and during office visits. Public transport is presenting additional challenges for offices in central locations where personal transport is not possible, while sickness policies are being updated to factor in quarantine restrictions. We’re seeing office redesigns across clients to adhere to social distancing rules, which will likely lead to reductions in office headcount. Husky is following suit with screening and temperature checks, with Canada’s Husky Energy and the Superior Refinery both introducing temperature checks before site entry, and the latter enforcing mandatory Covid-19 training for all contractors and employees.
Another oil client is planning to introduce a rotational office schedule to group together people who interact most. PPE will be provided and public transport will be actively discouraged, with Cycle to Work schemes introduced. Office cleanliness, socialisation and movement will be overhauled to ensure workers are safe, down to air conditioning filter checks and the prohibition of hot desking. Business meetings will be heavily restricted and office visitors will be given training on hygiene standards, as well as being assigned a host to ensure the office standards are adhered to.
As the industry returns to some level of normality, albeit perhaps a new normality, we will likely see a surge in demand for equipment, services and qualified professionals. This could present supply chain and mobilisation issues for those who are not prepared. A lack of maintenance during the shutdown period may lead to a backlog of tasks at facilities, but again, this will present work opportunities for those in this area. The Internet of Things and Augmented Reality may be used for remote diagnostics and maintenance, which could help to minimise pressure at this time.
As McKinsey states, the oil and gas market should remain highly lucrative for decades, thanks to its highly important role in supplying affordable energy. The petrochemicals and LNG markets are both expected to hold up well despite the pandemic, with gas the fastest growing fossil fuel and continual demand for LNG fuelling the market. Organisations may find opportunities in this crisis to reposition themselves, transform their operating models and look for innovation in what is perhaps the toughest time in the industry’s history to date.
At Petroplan, we know first-hand the impact that Covid-19 has had on mobilisation within the oil and gas industry, and especially the EMEA region. Our teams have worked tirelessly over the past months to support contractors and work closely with clients to ensure safe and efficient mobilisation and de-mobilisation of professionals. Our focus on dedicated personal service has been highlighted as consultants have worked through the night to quickly and efficiently get contractors home, with feedback from contractors acknowledging these efforts:
“I want to thank each one of you for your kindness and attention throughout my time with Petroplan. Although the Mozambique project may have taken a pause for now this is certainly not the end of our roller coaster adventures in the oil and gas industry”
Meanwhile, the commitment of one of Petroplan’s Senior Contracts and Mobilisation Consultant was recognised in a recent client newsletter:
“Additionally we must recognise Morag Williams from Petroplan who worked through Sunday night to secure tickets for all our personnel to make it home before borders shut. Without the early interventions and hard work of the team many of our colleagues would not be safely home with their families during this difficult time.”
Our commitment to mobilisation will only be stronger as projects re-start, and we are already assisting with the remobilisation of contract workforce as clients prepare to return to work in June.
As global recruitment specialists for the oil, gas and energy sector, it’s our business to stay abreast of the latest developments within the global energy market. We’re speaking with organisations, contractors, suppliers and other experts throughout our specialist markets and can therefore offer unique insights on activity within this space. If you’re interested in hearing about project activity, returning to projects and what people are doing during this time, speak to our specialists to find out more.