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Exclusive Insight From Oil Industry Experts – How To Survive The Current Drop In Crude Oil Prices


Leading oil industry experts offer our readers valuable advice on the affects of the current oil price & what to do if you have lost your job or fear you soon will. - Jess Potts

We asked 6 industry experts (image)

We asked 6 oil industry experts to reveal their opinion of how the dramatic fall in crude oil prices will further affect workers in the industry and offer advice to those who have lost their job or fear they will.

1. In what way do you think the dramatic fall in crude oil prices is going to affect workers in the oil industry?

2. What advice would you give to the workers who have lost their job?

Paul Groves: CEO of a Consultancy firm that advises and drives Private Equity deals in the energy market and CEO of Shale England, a Company recently set up to provide the focus for shale development in the UK. Paul was previously MD of Petrofac, the world’s largest Oil & Gas service company and has had numerous leadership roles with Shell & British Gas/BG Group.

1. We have already seen significant redundancies and pay freezes. I think this will continue for a while. That said this is nothing new and the industry at regular intervals sees ‘corrections’ usually driven by oil price drops. For me this is just the industry getting lean ready for the next push; industry has enjoyed very good oil prices which has generally flattered a lot of poorly executed projects and saved them from making losses. Now the industry needs to ‘right size’, manage costs and focus to cash flow. So I think there will be more cuts but generally it is still a very good industry with great job and career opportunities.

2. I would advise people to sit tight and keep looking around. The industry is focusing towards having a higher and demonstrable competence in its workforce so I would advise people to look at doing some training to enhance their marketability when the jobs market improves. Higher competence will command higher salaries and also improve resilience in a market downturn.

Gaurav Agnihotri: National Sales Manager in Sulzer Chemtech TFS India and Author of: Oil - Past, present, future, an Indian perspective

1. With the continuous fall in crude prices, workers in the oil and gas industry are particularly worried about their future. According to the current global scenario, if OPEC and Russia refuse to cut their production levels, combined with the rising crude inventory in the US and low demand in Asia, then we can be heading towards a possible global recession. And this is surely going to affect the workers especially working in large E&P companies and Refineries. Some of the big green field projects might be delayed or shelved and there can be some further job cuts especially in the refining sector. However, I am optimistic that such a situation would be avoided and there could be some correction in the oil prices.

2. Those who have lost their job should try to explore opportunities in the Middle East and south-east Asian countries. Countries like UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia and India look promising from an employment perspective. Moreover, countries like China and India would only gain from cheap oil so fall in crude prices would not affect them as much.

Rikki Smith: runs (non-profit) Oilfield Jobs.

1. The trend I am seeing already is the skilled workers are transitioning to counterpart trade industries such as energy and other civil infrastructure jobs. Unskilled workers are at risk for being replaced by their skilled co-workers with seniority or more versatility.

2. See Rikki’s article here on how to turn bad news into an opportunity when facing a layoff.

Paddy Harris: works on the frontline of oil and gas development and debate, producing news and features for our partner site Oil & Gas Technology, as well as maintaining its minute-by-minute online coverage of the global hydrocarbon industry.

- The oil and gas industry was lulled into complacency by crude prices hovering around a comfortable USD 100 per barrel, but with prices crashing companies have had a reawakening and realize they need to be more efficient in order to make a profit. This means a shift in technology, processes and business structure to incorporate cost-reducing or output-boosting innovations. Unfortunately, human error and staff overheads are major areas of loss and so operators look to reduce these wherever possible. Technologies in the fields of robotics, AI, connectivity/internet-of-things and data analytics are providing companies in the oil and gas sector with viable cost-cutting options but could result in a diminished work staff.

- But the oil and gas industry will never be fully automated so employees across the value chain need to recognize this shift in skills and business structure and adapt or update their own way of thinking and working. Existing engineering or management skills do not become redundant but they will need re-branding.

Dobircianu Sorin, PhD: Operations Director at Expert Energy and International Expert “Romanian Association for Petroleum & Gas Engineers”

- Despite the evolutions overseas, following up the crisis in Ukraine, strong internal conflicts in OPEC, political instability and corruption in Nigeria, parts of the Middle East, ISIS oil business, Mexico pipeline project attemps, the new Russian international energy policies and plans as well as China political and military continuous actions in the East China Sea, which will impact and collapse the 0il & Energy matrix all over, the emergent business buffer will transform in accordance to the future endeavors.

- And only the sustainable energy players will act. Such as active roles. Even for exporting qualified work force and influencing different projects using updated operational policies and total quality management strategies all over. It is not a matter of accessing (re)Sources, but to operate the existing projects adapting to changing work force. And only reliable HR firms will match The North American (The USA & Canada) strategies. Thereafter, the British and the UK's major expertise could be an outstanding supporter and mentor to these policies.

Brant Silva: President CEO at Platte River Inspection Services

1. I believe the dramatic fall in oil prices will have a very far reaching effect on workers in our industry – from laborers all the way to the top c-suite level executives.

2. Here is some advice for you, when your world is turned up side down:

First and foremost take care of your family! It is very common, when people in our industry lose their jobs, to allow pride get in the way of survival. Meaning, one day you are on top of the world - you’re a project manager for a great construction company working lots of hours and making lots of money - and then poof it’s all gone, you have been laid off due to cutbacks. How you react at that point is critical to your survival. Consider taking a week or so to put out some feelers for new opportunities, and to see what positions you can find - but the key is too not wait too long.

I recommend you try and set your pride aside, take what position’s you can in order to take care of your responsibilities. You may have to take a few steps back down the corporate ladder in your career during a down turn.

Our industry will bounce back – in the interim, take care of yourself, your responsibilities and your family. Do what you can to pay your bills and protect your savings (if you are lucky enough to have any money set aside). Prepare yourself to go into survival mode, and position yourself to launch your career when the downturn is coming to an end, as it will turn around.

Please get in touch with any thoughts, suggestions or questions you may have.

If you are currently out of work and looking for a job - we advertise all industry jobs, making your hunt that much more simple. It may be a good idea to use this time to acquire new skills, research some training courses and attend some events. These can also be found on our site by clicking the links. More industry events can be found here.

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