Oil and gas projects are larger, more complex, and increasingly resource-intensive. They operate on an unforgiving schedule, where delays cost millions of dollars. Mobilising and deploying thousands of people around the world poses a wide range of unique and often location-specific challenges. Global Mobility Services (GMS) mitigate the people-related risk of international projects by managing personnel deployed from their point of origin and ensuring a safe and efficient relocation process.
Air Energi’s dedicated Global Mobility Team (GMT) is focused on ‘people, process, and places’ and delivers GMS via 35 offices in 40 countries worldwide. GMS reduces people-related project risks by ensuring personnel are in the right place at the right time, minimising the threat of costly project delays. Operational 24/7, the GMT is made up of highly-trained professionals in the oil and gas industry. It has global reach, technical insight and in-depth knowledge of how the industry functions. This ensures a total personnel solution delivered by people who understand the situation and needs of both clients and candidates.
Compliance, bureaucracy, security, and challenging environments are all reasons why companies need to take a holistic approach to Global Mobility, as it is now an essential element in ensuring project success. With the safety and comfort of consultants paramount, the GMT regularly goes above and beyond to deliver personnel and project support. No two Global Mobility projects are the same, so each case requires an individual approach to address any cultural, logistical, or personal challenges that mobilised personnel encounter when on assignment.
Part two: Challenging regions
Papua New Guinea
Exploration and production (E&P) companies are operating in increasingly remote regions that can be unstable due to a number of factors. This includes extremely remote locations, natural disasters, and political turmoil, all of which risk the safety of deployed personnel on assignments. PNG is one such region. It is home to the Papuan Basin, one of the most explored and developed hydrocarbon plays in the region, producing approximately 28.3 thousand barrels of oil per day in 2013. However, despite the government’s goodwill towards foreign, it remains a turbulent region; crime is widespread, basic amenities are dubious, and contracting a life-threatening disease is a significant threat.
A $19 billion LNG project is currently underway in PNG. Due to the scale and scope of the project – it is expected to export 6.6 million tonnes of LNG per year – a contingent workforce of 250 personnel drawn from around the globe are assigned at any one time, in addition to 9,000 locals.
As the preferred supplier of technical manpower and associated mobilisation services to the operator, Air Energi was tasked with providing robust support for personnel needing to enter and exit the country safely and compliantly.
The immigration and labour legislation is particularly complex and there are a number of issues to navigate. According to the PNG government, the application process for a working resident employment entry permit and PNG visa requires 10 forms. These include a sponsorship letter from the employer, a copy of the employment contract, and a police certificate of good character. In addition, medical documentation is required, including a full medical examination, HIV testing, and a chest X-ray.
Air Energi’s GMT took responsibility and ownership for arranging all paperwork to ensure that mobilised personnel were compliant with legal, fiscal, and immigration regulations. Compliance to local legislation and client policy is critical when moving personnel around the world, particularly in challenging locations such as PNG. Air Energi developed a robust, efficient, and wholly-compliant mobilisation process to ensure consistent professional service to all operator staff.
Every consultant deployed for this project arrived compliant and ready to commence work immediately. In 2013, the GMT successfully obtained over 1,000 PNG work permits and visas for more than 30 different client organisations, all within challenging timeframes.
Given that the operator did not have a local presence in PNG, the GMT set up a local office in the country’s capital of Port Moresby specifically for the duration of the project as it would’ve been extremely difficult to mobilise the vast number of personnel and provide the necessary support without a base in the country.
Each year the operator completes an audit of its suppliers, randomly selecting contracted personnel to ensure they are compliant to its processes. Since the first contractor started in the region in 2009, Air Energi is the only tier-one supplier to have maintained 100 per cent compliance.
The GMT’s immigration practices were also recognised with the Good Corporate Citizen (GCC) Award. Issued by the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations, the award recognised Air Energi for its commitment to employing and training Papua New Guineans, as well as compliance with labour and immigration laws. This also means the GMT can apply for priority five-year work permits, rather than the standard limit of three years.
The success of Global Mobility projects in challenging regions lies in developing a robust, efficient, and wholly compliant immigration service in conjunction with Air Energi’s practices and the client’s policies.
The GMT significantly reduces the stress that can be experienced by clients, candidates, and consultants during mobilisation by taking ownership for the complicated process and paperwork, as compliance is crucial to avoid projects being jeopardised. A lack of preparation can result in significant mobilisation delays, or denial of entry into the country.
With best practices shared on a global basis, the GMT is today a trusted partner for international oil companies needing to identify and mitigate potential people-related risks, exacerbated by a project’s challenging environment where natural disasters, extreme cultural differences, tribal warfare, and political turmoil all pose significant threats to consultants and staff on assignment.