Our History and Heritage

In 1976, Petroplan’s co-founders, John Reeder and Graham Pyle, met as engineers on a large project in Canvey Island, UK for the Occidental Petroleum Company. During some project downtime they deliberated the need for more expertise in the market for project controls.

Their original business idea was to provide consultancy rather than people. The backdrop was that the demand for these skills and knowledge was growing in the North Sea. Many of the methods being implemented utilised technology which had been tested in the U.S. and Black and Caspian Sea regions, but was largely untried in the North Sea, a region which posed very different challenges.

The North Sea environment was harsher and the structures used would have to withstand higher waves and winds. Already some semi-submersibles and jack ups had been knocked down by weathe.

The deepening economic crisis in the UK meant that there was enormous pressure on the industry to get gas and – later – oil flowing. For the oil and gas operators, there were great profits to be made.

With John and Graham’s background in planning and control they created their first brochure which outlined their services. Petroplan Control Systems Ltd was registered on the 2nd July 1976, to provide ‘Project Controls for the Petrochemicals Industries.’

The key services were: planning, estimating, cost control, reports and statistics, material control and computer services … but you could choose the non-computerised route if the cost advantage wasn’t compelling!

First project

The business did not take on its first commercial project until March 1977, for the engineering contractor firm Matthew Hall Group (later acquired by AMEC Foster Wheeler in the 1990s).

However, it soon became clear that the overriding demand from clients was for the talented people required for project controls, across many engineering disciplines.

John and Graham were still contractors themselves during the business set-up phase and their network of contacts made them well-placed to find the talent the oil and gas industry needed.

Contractor recruitment business

Politically in the late 1970s and 1980s, much was changing in the oil and gas industry. British Petroleum was privatised in 1976, and in 1979 it acquired Britoil. Britoil’s role as part regulator and part oil company gave the UK government a large stake in the growing North Sea developments.

John continued to work some of the time on projects as a contractor, such as on the Fulmar platform in the North Sea, to allow an evolution of the business and, while there, he started to place contractors on this project.

By the end of 1977, Petroplan had 30 contractors on its payroll, leaving John and Graham free to focus on growing what had become their contractor recruitment business.

Becoming international

Overseas business for Petroplan began in the late 1970s, working with organisations such as Union Oil in the Netherlands, and Maersk and Danbor in Denmark, alongside other well-known international operators Shell, Texaco and Chevron.

Petroplan’s founders describe these projects as a time of great margins – higher than 20% in the contract recruitment market – and where deals were sealed with a handshake rather than lengthy contractual documents.  

However, some things haven’t changed, such as attempts to predict the exact timing of ‘peak oil’. In the year Petroplan started (1976), Jimmy Carter talked about oil running out by 2011, and this debate still rumbles on.

Today’s exploration and extraction technology has made the longevity of this sector much more viable and can support many generations of oil and gas careers yet to come.

Building for further success

By 1979, the business required further investment in administration, and Jocelyn Thomerson joined to provide general accounts support and organisation for the back-office activity. Jos, later became a  Board Director of Petroplan, leading the operational and contractor management side of the business.

She has recently semi-retired and moved to an NED role. For her, and her well trained global team, the care with which contractors’ well-being and placements are managed is still personal, but the technology to process and administer is now very different.

Petroplan was headquartered in London at various West End offices in the early years, decked out with such items as telex machines, with long ribbons reaching great lengths during busy periods, and Philips word processors to professionally produce typed CVs.

In 1981, Pauline Horton joined the team to also support contractor management and mobilisation.  As time moved on, she also became a Main Board Director, and moved into a focal Client Relationship role.  Over 30 years, Jos and Pauline have moved contractors across many global locations from the North Sea to Algeria to Iraq and Europe.

Moving with the Industry

During the 1980s and 1990s, Petroplan broadened its contractor base from its original focus of planning and cost engineers, to technical staff across the full spectrum of disciplines such as materials control, supply chain and project management to mechanical, electrical and commissioning engineers.

Key projects Petroplan’s contractors oversaw:

  • The Tyra gas platforms in Denmark with the Danbar Drilling Company
  • Floating schemes within the Ivanhoe North Sea oil fields, with Amerada Hess
  • Multiple projects with Shell in the Netherlands
  • Projects in the U.S. with Kerr McGee (now part of the Andarko Petroleum Corporation)
  • BP projects in Norway
  • Projects for Marathon Oil Corporation on refinery turnaround and tanker refits in the U.S. and in the North Sea Brae oilfields
  • Work was also undertaken with Lasmo Oil and Agip UK (both now part of the Eni Group) on the Tiffany, Toni and Thelma fields – known as the T Block – to provide conceptual design teams and subsequently design, construction, installation and commissioning personnel
  • Work in Saudi Arabia with a large national operator
  • Project teams mobilised to Pakistan on behalf of Amec Foster Wheeler
  • Kazakhstan exploration projects with consortia that included the government, supermajors and Agip UK, off the coast of the Northeast Caspian Sea
  • BP projects within Azerbaijan including pipeline developments
  • Nexen projects in the North Sea Buzzard oil field

Investing in the future

The 2000's saw strategic expansion with offices being opened beyond the headquarters in England from 2005. This started with Aberdeen, and was followed by Calgary, Houston, Dubai, Cape Town, Oman and most recently Mozambique.

A new direction was heralded in 2012 with the business placing more emphasis on talent acquisition for clients. Petroplan already had over 30 years of recruitment experience which was built on networks formed before the inception of LinkedIn and job boards.

At this juncture more recruiters and operational support services were put in place to also attract candidates for permanent positions in the energy industry, to expand our reach beyond the active contractor network.

In 2014, to grow our international capability, a new London office was created and this, and Houston now represent Petroplan’s main centres of excellence.

Looking ahead, we remain true to our principles

There have been many changes since 1976 – to business processes, technology, the Energy industry as a whole – but throughout it all Petroplan is governed by two fundamental constants.

Firstly, guided by the strength, wisdom and knowledge of the above mentioned four individuals who are all still main Board Directors today, our utter commitment to the care of our clients and contractors remains our solid foundation.

Secondly, we have a Board who truly understand the Energy industry and are not fazed by the ever-moving political and environmental pressures placed upon it. As oil price and demand for other sources of energy has flexed, along with the motivations of employers and individuals, so too has the Petroplan Group.  

The heart of what we do – providing exceptional talent solutions to the energy industry – is the same today as it was at the beginning.

We know that delivering on our commitments for those that depend on our business is essential.

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The importance of ESG compliance in the energy sector

As the oil and gas sector makes the transition into clean energy, environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) has become all the more important in the industry. Today, companies are increasingly looking for new ways to promote ESG initiatives, as a growing number of customers and investors are urging organisations to take ESG issues more seriously. While the pressure is rising for oil and gas companies, the increased emphasis on ESG presents several opportunities for the sector. Below, we detail how ESG is re-shaping the energy industry and why it’s time for companies to address environmental concerns and adapt to this new paradigm.


The rise of ESG

Today, it’s become increasingly clear that ESG ratings are an important driver for stakeholders and investors in the energy sector, as well as the general public. ESG investing was once seen as a niche, but it’s become a crucial area for companies in every sector, particularly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition to a low carbon economy means businesses in the energy sector must ensure they’re aligned with the new energy landscape. ESG is no longer a box-ticking exercise, but fundamental for maintaining and attracting the support of stakeholders. It’s now more important than ever before that ESG is used as a workforce strategy. Energy companies that recognise the value of ESG will be able to attract and recruit the best talent, as well as meeting the challenging demands of the market.


Seeking sustainability

It’s widely understood that there’s an environmental threat in the oil and gas sector. Many companies in the industry have been taking steps to become compliant with ESG and curb the environmental impact. For example, according to reports, the British oil major BP has made plans to buy $220 million worth of solar projects to help push for a low-carbon future. And total investments over the past five years in renewables, hydrogen and digital technologies has been almost $60 billion. Evidently, oil and gas companies are beginning to view environmental conditions as a priority for improving operations and increasing value across their organisations. While most oil and gas companies will likely still invest in traditional production, clean energy is being taken more seriously by leaders in the industry.


Creating an ESG strategy

One of the biggest challenges for energy companies is implementing a successful ESG strategy. When businesses take a strategic approach to ESG that is linked to the goals and values of the company, leaders are more likely to see results. With ESG encompassing social and governance initiatives as well as the environment, it’s imperative that oil and gas companies assess the needs of their organisation and its employees. Building an ESG strategy in an oil and gas company is critical for satisfying a range of different stakeholders. ESG programs are also key for spurring innovation in the energy sector and reducing risks. 

With a strong ESG framework, businesses can set action plans and measure performance indicators, which could include energy diversification, carbon footprint reduction and natural resource sustainability. The demand for ESG programs in the energy sector is now greater than ever. For oil and gas companies, embracing ESG shows that they care about employee welfare. Focusing on ESG represents social responsibility and a way for energy companies to gain trust, and future-proof their businesses for the new world of work.


Are you hiring?

At Petroplan, we specialise in recruiting top professionals for businesses in the oil and gas sector. We have a highly experienced team of recruitment specialists who have a strong understanding of the market. As a workforce and talent agency, we pride ourselves on continuously building great relationships with our clients and candidates, and further establishing our expertise in the energy sector. We support a diverse range of global projects with a talented pool of candidates and we want to continue to provide our clients with exceptional talent solutions. Contact our team today to find out more about how we can help your recruitment.

How will digital oilfields impact the future of oil and gas?

It’s becoming increasingly evident that digital technology is transforming the oil and gas sector. The industry is being driven by real-time data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things, blending the physical and digital worlds. As a result, the concept of the ‘digital oilfield’ has come into focus. A digital oilfield is an environment where an oil and gas business’ data is automated to increase the speed of workflows and boost performance.

Combining process management with digital technologies, digital oilfields have been designed to overhaul oil and gas systems, and enable full optimisation throughout the supply chain. Research by Global News Wire has shown that the digital oilfield market could grow to $28.61 billion by 2027. There’s no doubt a digital revolution is occurring and it’s set to  challenge the conventional model of operations in the oil and gas sector.

The role of digital oilfields

The adoption of digital oilfields in the oil and gas sector has been growing due to automation, data analytics and increased connectivity. It’s widely understood that the oil and gas sector has been slow to adapt to new technologies compared to other sectors, but over the past decade, oilfield technology has progressed rapidly, paving the way for a new era for the industry. Oil company Shell was an early adopter of digital oilfields technologies. Digital oilfields have a range of benefits for the oil and gas sector, including using data to track the efficiency of equipment and mapping out the future of production.

Having a digital oilfield could also help oil and gas businesses transition into greener practices. For example, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics can help identify oil spills after or even before they occur, which should help companies minimise damage. By investing in digital oilfield technologies, oil and gas operators can automate maintenance and manage equipment more efficiently while continuing to drive innovation. Digital oilfields have the potential to redefine oil and gas through the creation of a secure, interconnected network. This could pave the way for higher fuel performance and deliver increased value for oil and gas providers.

Creating a digital-first oil and gas sector

If oil and gas companies want to remain relevant and competitive in the future, they need to embrace digitalisation. Research by Energy Voice has found that the industry is still grappling with the challenges of COVID-19, low oil prices and the energy transition. Technology and digital oilfields are among the key tools that can help the industry and make sure it’s still profitable in the future. So, how can companies create a sustainable digital environment for their oilfields? Firstly, companies need to take advantage of the range of the IoT management platforms that are available to them. Using such specialised platforms, that  connect different disciplines across a business, for example production and asset management, is an excellent way for oil and gas companies to automate the flow of data. .

Creating a truly digital oilfield will drive better insights for oil and gas, and improve the overall quality of the supply chain. Above all, cloud technology and data will provide oil and gas companies an alternative solution to traditional processes and infrastructure. Digital oilfields serve as a remote link across an entire company, making information and data immediately available. The role of technology in oil and gas has become all the more essential and digital oilfields are likely to continue to have a great impact on the sector.

How can Petroplan assist your recruitment?

Petroplan is a leading global talent solutions and acquisition partner with a breadth of experience in the oil and gas industry. We have a highly motivated team of consultants who care deeply about building and growing connections with clients and candidates. We recruit on both a permanent and contract basis, matching businesses with the best talent across the globe. We understand the future of the oil and gas industry, so if you would like to find out more about how Petroplan can help with your talent search, contact us today. Also, keep reading our blog for the latest news and articles.

How technology is influencing the future of renewables

The renewable energy market has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years and it’s set to have a big future, this is largely thanks to the rise of digital technology. According to a report by The International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable energy capacity will grow up to 50% by 2024 – and this growth is mainly being fuelled by solar, wind and hydropower projects. Research has found that renewable energy is expected to take up around 30 per cent of the world’s total energy by 2024. So, with renewable energy expected to power the earth, let’s take a look at the impact technology is having on the market, as well as the most important technological trends in the sector right now.


The rise of Artificial Intelligence 

The arrival of artificial intelligence in the renewable energy markets has paved the way for a range of opportunities for leading companies to grow and evolve their processes, to ensure they’re more sustainable than ever before. There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence will have a huge impact on the future of renewables. With the help of AI software, energy storage in facilities, such as office buildings and homes can hold excess energy when demand is low. AI technology can improve renewable energy storage and optimise its use. Therefore, AI has the potential to re-shape the energy sector from an infrastructure-based system to one centred on automated AI technology. There’s a wide range of technologies that use renewable energy spheres, such as energy forecasting and energy accessibility. For example, Google DeepMind – introduced in 2014 – is an AI application that works to improve energy usage and reduce emissions. AI applications can support the renewable energy sector when it comes to integration and help to accelerate the use of clean energy sources worldwide.



As the world’s most popular platform to buy bitcoin, the technology is providing a new level of sophistication to energy suppliers and increasing efficiency as a result. There’s an array of companies that are utilising blockchain for renewable energy. For example, We Power uses a blockchain platform, allowing customers to monitor renewable energy prices, as well as help clean energy producers enter the market. The company explained in a white paper that they believe blockchain and renewable energy has the potential to revolutionise the energy market. Blockchain makes the supply of green energy much more efficient and transparent, as all transactions are traceable and secure. Therefore, renewable energy certification can be delivered much faster, allowing all parties to audit the results. Blockchain, then, is changing the way companies collaborate, as well as how energy is produced and consumed, creating a much more sustainable energy system.


Big Data

Big data technologies have made a considerable impact on a wide range of industries. In the energy sector, however, oil-field production companies can use big data to streamline operations and manage the day-to-day operations of solar plants more efficiently. With the use of data, companies can dictate how many solar panels and wind turbines to produce and build a better picture of how power is used and when it’s most needed. Big data has become essential because it means energy providers can identify how to store and distribute energy generated from solar panels. Ultimately, big data is changing the models of renewable energy and power generation, while providing energy companies with an in-depth understanding of customer behaviour. As a rapidly evolving market, renewable energy relies on the power of technology to sustain its developments.


How Petroplan can help your business

At Petroplan, we have an excellent team of consultants with many years of experience in recruiting the best professionals for a range of global companies in the energy sector. Since 1976 we have made 1000’s of successful placements and built many valuable partnerships in the Energy industry. Our technology recruitment team has grown to become one of the most successful parts of our business. We’re heavily invested in the renewable energy sector, and our global IT team work hard to keep up-to-date on all the changes in the market. As a leading global talent acquisition and workforce solutions partner, we have specialist expertise, we pride ourselves on our ability to deliver a quality and efficient service. If you would like to know more about how we can assist you acquiring the best talent, contact us today.

The impact of industry 4.0 on the oil and gas supply chain

The emergence of industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, has been having a huge impact throughout the oil and gas supply chain. Across all industries, digital technology has been revolutionising the entire value chain and changing best practices. In the oil and gas sector, advances in seismic imaging and data analysis is helping to streamline manufacturing and production. With the rise of industry 4.0, technology continues to drive transformation, from downstream to upstream and in other business areas including research and development, and finance. Right now, technology is leading the way in the oil and gas sector so read on for further insights on exactly how Industry 4.0 is re-shaping the oil and gas supply chain.


Digitalisation of the oil and gas industry

Industry 4.0 has accelerated the rise of smart technology, generating new business areas and re-shaping the traditional supply chain. Increased data integration, analytics and information sharing are allowing companies to provide upstream exploration teams with much more meaningful insights, as well as the ability to adjust production levels in real-time, all of which is based on stored data. With digitisation, there’s huge potential for off-field services and businesses to create a much more efficient and effective supply chain. Many oil and gas companies are already using 4D BIM models that map data to analyse changes in oil and gas levels, which can help identify the quality of resources and their lifespan more accurately. 


Changes to production

One of the main benefits of the implementation of industry 4.0 in the oil and gas industry is how it’s paving the way for a seamless production chain. There’s now a wide range of Industry 4.0-era production solutions that are creating cross-organisational collaborations and digital efficiency in the supply chain. For example, one of the most notable uses of industry 4.0 technology in recent years is the digital twin – a virtual representation of a physical object. Digital twin technology allows oil and gas professionals to simulate design assets in real-time, providing powerful insights that maximise productivity while reducing the need to mobilise offshore and inspect the model. BP is one oil and gas company that uses a digital twin system, known as APEX, which creates digital copies of all production processes, optimising process considerably. 


An integrated supply chain

There’s no doubt industry 4.0 can play a pivotal role in helping oil and gas companies tackle complex challenges along the supply chain. Technologies such as big data will have a positive impact on midstream activities, which includes storage and transportation. For example, with the use of digital technology, oil and gas companies can equip railcars with detectors and sensors to detect any leaks, and monitor any problems in the pipeline’s infrastructure. These new technologies and processes are creating a much more integrated supply chain, with a closer working relationship between each link in the chain. However, there’s much work still to be done to achieve a completely streamlined and efficient supply chain. Technology company Infosys argues in a published white paper that, “Industry 4.0 must be viewed as an enterprise-wide initiative that meets present and future organisational goals.” Oil and gas companies, then, must ensure they have a strategy in place that implements new technologies to achieve the best results. Industry 4.0 is still very much in its infancy, but as long as companies collaborate in the right way, the supply chain will continue to improve and transform.


Are you looking to grow your oil and gas business?

Petroplan is a leading recruitment and workforce solutions agency for the oil and gas industry. Our team of consultants have years of experience in recruiting professionals into energy roles on both a contractual and permanent basis. Our Global IT team has a strong understanding of the oil and gas market and how technology is changing processes and procedures. As a talent and workforce agency, we provide specialised consultancy and we tailor our service to each of our clients. If you would like to know more about how we can assist your recruitment, contact us today to start a conversation.

How companies can embrace a green transition

In recent years, the transition to a low carbon future has shifted from being a topic of debate to a matter of urgency for many companies in the oil and gas sector. There’s an array of European-based fossil fuel companies that have proactively been pushing toward green energy, such as Dutch Shell, BP, Equinor and Total. While it’s likely to be a while before we transition from fossil fuels completely, we have seen more investment in green energy, for example in the form of Vestas Wind Systems – which is the world’s top supplier of wind energy. The oil and gas market is highly volatile, so it makes sense that businesses focus on and embrace renewables. But what can oil and gas companies do to prepare for this transition?


The changing energy landscape

According to We Forum, renewables could power the world by 2050, with various studies showing how different countries can work together to create sustainable energy solutions. Over the years, the standard of living has increased dramatically, which means this has affected the demand for global energy. Oil and gas prices have been in decline since 2014, which  was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This further fuels the argument about the importance of green energy and why companies need to prioritise renewables. Also, renewable energy has become much cheaper than fossil fuels. The cost of solar power projects has fallen by 82% since 2010. Renewable energy projects were once notorious for their high costs, but they’re now below traditional fuels – which demonstrates how much the energy landscape has shifted. Now’s the time for oil and gas companies to adapt to a less carbon-intensive strategy. But how?


Paving the way for the renewable revolution

Many oil and gas companies are moving forward with the renewable energy transformation and there’s a range of different projects on the horizon. For example, BP partnered with Danish energy firm Orsted to launch the Green Hydrogen project, which is expected to be operational in 2024. Comprising of a 50 MW electrolyser system installed in North-West Germany and powered by an Orsted North Sea offshore wind farm, it will be able to produce around 9,000 tons of green hydrogen per year. This project is BP’s first full-scale hydrogen venture and the company could help massively with reducing emissions. 


Green hydrogen is created using renewable energy, which is made through electrolysis. Mitsubishi Power and fuel storage company Magnum Development has been working on the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project, which is scheduled to be operational by 2025, and it aims to build a storage facility for 1,000 megawatts of clean power. Having large-scale storage space for green energy will help curb the demand and increase the transition to renewables. Investing further into creating a pathway for renewable energy is a great way for oil and gas companies to embrace a green transition.


Protecting the environment

Oil and gas companies will always be needed, but the future lies in renewables. However, it’s not enough for companies to invest in green energy to protect the environment. There needs to be a mindset shift internally. One of the ways oil and gas companies can do this is by redefining their corporate strategy to align more effectively with climate change. For example, ensuring that best practices are applied for mining and drilling projects will help reduce water and environmental impact from production. Businesses also need to build strategies that minimise carbon use, as well as developing a talent attraction framework that showcases oil and gas as a ‘green sector’, in order to inspire the younger generation of workers to join the industry. The oil and gas sector is under increasing pressure to become more sustainable, but with the right investment and strategies, companies in the industry can embrace a green transition.


Let Petroplan help your business

Petroplan is a specialist talent workforce and solutions business that has over 40 years of experience in recruiting the top professionals into roles within the oil, gas and energy industry. We have an outstanding track record of building great relationships with our clients and candidates, and we have a strong understanding of the energy sector, including renewables. We’re always up-to-date on the changes in the industry and are well-placed to advise companies on how to recruit the best talent, in preparation for the changes over the next few years. At Petroplan, our consultants are dedicated to helping businesses develop and grow. Contact us today for more information on how we can help and keep reading our blog for interesting articles and insights.