Report: Acute need for reservoir, subsea engineering skills

Offshore staff

LONDON -- Maxwell Drummond, a global executive search company serving the energy and natural resources sector, has completed its annual worldwide trends survey of energy company executives.

The results suggest a growing trend towards strengthening the workforce, preparing for economic recovery, and developing unconventional resources.

The survey participants came from all energy sectors including upstream, midstream, subsea, oil field services, engineering/procurement/construction, and seismic/subsurface.

Nearly two-thirds of the companies surveyed have international operations and the majority of headquarters were located in the US, followed by Europe, although companies in Canada, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Africa were also included in the sample. The surveyed companies’ annual revenues ranged from less than £325 million ($500 million) to more than £6.5 billion ($10 billion).

Overall, respondents agreed that the economic recovery had been slower than expected, but they had used the recession to improve their workforce and intellectual capital, especially in operations, reservoir engineering, subsea, and sustainable extraction techniques.

Addressing the “big crew change” remains another priority, the survey found, with almost 90% of respondents indicating that their companies are investing in employee skills training and acquiring new talent to replace an ageing and rapidly retiring workforce.

Among the other conclusions, energy companies are looking to capitalize on future sources of energy through R&D and strategic M&A activities. With regard to unconventional resources, respondents see solving water and environmental issues and improved fracturing techniques as having the greatest impact on future developments.

Respondents also suggested that functional gaps are most acute in the areas of operations, reservoir engineering and subsea, particularly in locations where energy is hardest to recover.

Most executives canvassed identified West Africa as the leading region for deploying production resources in the foreseeable future. Offshore North America and the Middle East were tied in the survey as the second most important areas for near-term production opportunities.

4/22/2010



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