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Oil and gas growth hampered by skills shortages

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

According to the 19th Oil and Gas Survey, conducted by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by law firm Bond Dickinson, a record number of contractors in the oil and gas sector are looking to recruit in the next 12 months. Confidence is high in the industry for 2014, however growth is constrained by skills shortages.

The key findings of the survey are summarized below:

Activity levels

Half of operators surveyed reported an increase in production led work in 2013, and that there is an expectation of an increase in production related work in 2014.

Approximately 42% of operators expect an increase in decommissioning activity on the UKCS in 2014. 65% of contractors said they would definitely be or were likely to be involved in decommissioning work in the next three to five years.

All but one operator surveyed reported that they were working at optimum levels in their international activity. They expected that this trend would continue. 73% of contractors reported working at or above optimum levels in their international work.

26% of firms in the sector reported that they were currently involved in renewables activity. Involvement from contractors was particularly high, at 30%. There is an expectation that involvement in renewables will increase in the medium term, however firms still cite a lack of sector knowledge and a better return in oil and gas for limiting their involvement in it.                         

Employment challenges

Operators face an ongoing challenge in recruiting managerial or professional employees, and those in technical and skilled trades.

50% of respondents reported using core staff in 2013. 50% of respondents also claimed that losing employees to companies in other oil regions was a contributory factor to loss of staff. This has led to an increasing focus on attracting talent from outside the sector.

The percentage of contractors sourcing staff from non oil and gas firms increased from 18% last year to 31%. The armed forces are a particularly common source of new employees.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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