After 2008’s market-high levels of production, the subsequent years have seemingly dealt blow after blow to the offshore production industry. The market slump seriously impacted on the demand for oil, while the Deepwater Horizon incident and moratorium threatened to do irreparable damage to the industry.
2011 has, however, shown green shoots of recovery as both incidents and recruitment possibilities are increasing.
Post-economic crisis increase predicted
Unlike in 2008, when demand outstripped supply and companies’ priorities lied with increasing output, the primary focus in the wake of the global economy slump has been cost reduction and maintaining capital expenditure on long-term projects. A survey conducted earlier this year by Grant Thornton showed that most firms within the energy sector anticipated an increase in capital expenditure as well as accelerated rehiring and restaffing.
Gulf moratorium causes refocus
In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010, and the six-month moratorium on production that followed, many expected thousands of jobs to be cut in response.
Companies, however, used the downtime to seek service and upgrades for drilling equipment while choosing to keep shipyards busy.
Although many workers were relocated to onshore operations, oil exploration is expected to increase with the need for drilling, geoscience, marine diving, management and IT support services surging. On top of this, 2010 saw double-digit increases in sales and marketing, HR, IT, operations, trades, health and safety and logistics.
Although the Deepwater Horizon incident seemingly had little impact on staffing numbers, the most advertised job descriptions were hit with an increased need for mechanical, subsea and drilling engineers, ousting geology-related roles from the top positions. Another projected implication of the Deepwater incident is increased opportunities for environmental positions.
One such project, a collaboration between Exxon, Shell and Chevron to design, build and operate a rapid-response system capable of capturing and containing up to 10,000 barrels of escaped oil, is expected to create thousands of new jobs.
According to RenewableUK, however, the outlook may not be as good owing to the increasing demand for renewable energy. As the size of the renewable energy market is set to overtake the oil and gas sector over the next decade, the demand for oil and gas industry workers is expected to fall in kind with many oil and gas companies looking to be involved in offshore wind farming instead.
In spite of this, advancements driven by environmental concerns are not having as much of an impact as predicted and oil companies are expected to repair their environmentally unfriendly image with the creation of jobs to reduce or offset their carbon footprint.
Engineers in demand
A separate, pan-industry study commissioned by OPITO found that 81% of companies expect growth over the next five years with 44% anticipating significant growth this year and, as such, demand for experienced and skilled staff continues to outstrip supply. 12% of companies expect to hire more than 50 people in the next 12 months, with vacancies for graduate and charted engineers and managers expected to be the hardest to fill.
Technological advancements changing face
The current industry expectation past 2011 is that technological innovations will affect employment trends, with new jobs created through scientific advancements in the fields of marine / diving / ROV. Such technological advancements have now allowed extractions from previously uncharted depths, causing employment in these fields to continue to grow.