Human Resource (HR) professionals play an important role for the company as an organization is not able to build a good team of working professionals without its own powerful human resources. Their key functions include recruiting people, training them, performance appraisals, motivating employees as well as ensuring workplace safety and etc. As the oil and gas industry is suffering, their decisions will eventually put an ink to one’s future in the company.
It’s a challenging time for all HR in Oil & Gas. The price per barrel is fluctuating, companies are going through re-structuring and people keep going out and rarely coming in. This is the current scenario in the world of oil. Realizing on this matter, the Malaysian Oil & Gas Services Council or known as MOGSC has organized a special and meaningful session of Oil & Gas HR Forum to discuss on how HR Professionals to step up and prepare their organizations for the turbulent journey ahead.
The session was beautifully engaged as they managed to have the honorable Ybhg. Dato’ Raiha Azni Abd Rahman, the Senior Vice President of Human Resource Management of PETRONAS on the 23rd of February 2017 in Impiana Hotel, Kuala Lumpur along with more than 150 attendees. Dato’ Raiha in her keynote speech highlighted that as the industry is now at its low, companies should focus on the training & development for the talent which should be a continuous investment as PETRONAS starts as soon as secondary school. She also mentioned that Malaysia has Top Talents around the world, and the industry should not lose it as they might be the right leaders in future. PRODIGY is one of the programs that PETRONAS did with the collaborations of service providers in Malaysia to train good graduates to cater expectation and demands from the industry, she added.
The session was then continued by the Vice President of MOGSC & also Mentor of Competency & Training Working Group (CTWG), Ir. Megat Zariman Abdul Rahim by giving an overview on how MOGSC’s progress on its 14 years serving the industry. MOGSC is the leading non-profit association and the most-proactive in the mission to promote the development of the Malaysian Oil & Gas Service Sector and also as a regional hub. This year, MOGSC introduced the Oil & Gas Competency Development ROADMAP with the objective to establish MOGSC as oil & gas center of reference for competency and training, and with the hope to fill up the skills gap of talents in Malaysia.
The highlight of this session was the Panel Session: Skills Shortage in Malaysia – A Myth or Reality, chaired by Ir. Megat Zariman Abdul Rahim. The line of impressive panels that we had the other day was Mdm. Shareen Shariza Dato’ Abdul Ghani, CEO, TalentCorp, Mdm. Kartina Abdul Latif, Senior Executive Director, PwC, Mdm. Nelly Francis, General Manager of Education & Learning, PETRONAS, Mr. Syed Azlan Syed Ibrahim, Senior Vice President, MPRC and Mdm. Sharifah Zaida Nurlisha, MOGSC President. It’s the most highlight topic as we encountered a lot of retrenched people and fresh graduates who struggle to find jobs, and surprisingly based on PwC, 350 000 jobs cut happened globally in the Oil & Gas industry as of end 2016.
Are they incompetent to the industry? Previously, Dato’ Raiha also highlighted that Asia has the younger workforce in Oil & Gas as compared to Europe & United States. Unfortunately, because of the skill gap and the downturn, many of the groups as mentioned above left the industry and only very low percentage of them returning. This is an alarming issue to the industry.
During the forum, the chair questioned each of the panels on the main question itself, is it a myth or reality? Mdm. Kartina was the first one to answer and she said it depends on the adaptability of the business. She highlighted that based on PwC research battle for talent –talents & skills shortage, they find out there is need to develop and attract STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and vocational talent to support business demand. Businesses need to understand talent expectations of the talent segments which include both parties in order to build the talent pipeline. Her response was also supported by Mdm. Nelly Francis of PETRONAS and she advised that the industry first need to understand the supply and demand. Employers need to see on the specific details to do the assessment and reliability of their workforce skills. That is where organizations like PETRONAS Leadership Center & MOGSC could play an important role.
Mdm. Sharifah of MOGSC, however had different perspectives; she didn’t see the shortage of skills among Malaysian talents. We have many talents with impressive skills in the industry and there are many training providers and technical training centers which can cater to the industry needs, for example Institut Teknologi PETRONAS (INSTEP). Earlier, the CEO, Mr. Chandramohan also shared the capabilities of INSTEP on simulating the real plant scenarios in a safe environment and not to forget their strong partnerships, alliance with the industry and clients. Mdm. Sharifah also mentioned that, maybe because of the financial restriction of the company limits the skills learning these days. Mr. Syed Azlan from MPRC also claimed that there is no skills shortage in industry. Perhaps, in discussing this matter, he did clarify to put in-depth on what shortage you mean? Surprisingly, there is no one in Malaysia who has specific data on the skills shortage.
On the other hand, the CEO of TalentCorp Malaysia, Mdm. Shareen Shariza coming strong as yes, there is skills shortage in Malaysia especially the high skilled ones. Most of the high-skilled individuals or baby boomers are leaving the industry because they are offered an early retirement package and unfortunately, the middle layers are left hanging as there are no transferring and retention of knowledge and skills. HR will need to understand the availability of talents and significant differences when planning for replacement hires and training requirements. This decisive group will need to understand the succession of business in five, ten, and fifteen years ahead. PwC also highlighted earlier that the most difficult skill to find in Oil & Gas Industry is leadership according to 71% of the CEO’s interviewed. Probably the industry’s top priorities now are the pipeline of leaders of tomorrow and workplace culture to nurture talents.
This alarming issue should be encountered by the HR Group as we go along the hardship journey of Oil & Gas Industry. HR plays a bigger role now more than ever. Organizations need to change their business strategies and modify their human capital strategy accordingly. The talents we have should not be wasted. These newer technologies and the new landscape are causing shifts in skills needed by companies. Perhaps an organization like MOGSC should address to this issues and be a pipeline through a round table and drives the plans with the Government, Industry and Academic Institution. Each of those bodies should understand the framework and demands of this exciting unstable industry of Oil & Gas. Plan ahead for crises and be ready to adapt when you need to.
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Headline crude prices for the week beginning 20 May 2019 – Brent: US$73/b; WTI: US$63/b
Headlines of the week
Midstream & Downstream
At first, it seemed like a done deal. Chevron made a US$33 billion offer to take over US-based upstream independent Anadarko Petroleum. It was a 39% premium to Anadarko’s last traded price at the time and would have been the largest industry deal since Shell’s US$61 billion takeover of the BG Group in 2015. The deal would have given Chevron significant and synergistic acreage in the Permian Basin along with new potential in US midstream, as well as Anadarko’s high potential projects in Africa. Then Occidental Petroleum swooped in at the eleventh hour, making the delicious new bid and pulling the carpet out from under Chevron.
We can thank Warren Buffet for this. Occidental Petroleum, or Oxy, had previously made several quiet approaches to purchase Anadarko. These were rebuffed in favour of Chevron’s. Then Oxy’s CEO Vicki Hollub took the company jet to meet with Buffet. Playing to his reported desire to buy into shale, Hollub returned with a US$10 billion cash infusion from Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway – which was contingent on Oxy’s successful purchase of Anadarko. Hollub also secured a US$8.8 billion commitment from France’s Total to sell off Anadarko’s African assets. With these aces, she then re-approached Anadarko with a new deal – for US$38 billion.
This could have sparked off a price war. After all, the Chevron-Anadarko deal made a lot of sense – securing premium spots in the prolific Permian, creating a 120 sq.km corridor in the sweet spot of the shale basin, the Delaware. But the risk-adverse appetite of Chevron’s CEO Michael Wirth returned, and Chevron declined to increase its offer. By bowing out of the bid, Wirth said ‘Cost and capital discipline always matters…. winning in any environment doesn’t mean winning at any cost… for the sake for doing a deal.” Chevron walks away with a termination fee of US$1 billion and the scuppered dreams of matching ExxonMobil in size.
And so Oxy was victorious, capping off a two-year pursuit by Hollub for Anadarko – which only went public after the Chevron bid. This new ‘global energy leader’ has a combined 1.3 mmb/d boe production, but instead of leveraging Anadarko’s more international spread of operations, Oxy is looking for a future that is significantly more domestic.
The Oxy-Anadarko marriage will make Occidental the undisputed top producer in the Permian Basin, the hottest of all current oil and gas hotspots. Oxy was once a more international player, under former CEO Armand Hammer, who took Occidental to Libya, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, the Congo and other developing markets. A downturn in the 1990s led to a refocusing of operations on the US, with Oxy being one of the first companies to research extracting shale oil. And so, as the deal was done, Anadarko’s promising projects in Africa – Area 1 and the Mozambique LNG project, as well as interest in Ghana, Algeria and South Africa – go to Total, which has plenty of synergies to exploit. The retreat back to the US makes sense; Anadarko’s 600,000 acres in the Permian are reportedly the most ‘potentially profitable’ and it also has a major presence in Gulf of Mexico deepwater. Occidental has already identified 10,000 drilling locations in Anadarko areas that are near existing Oxy operations.
While Chevron licks its wounds, it can comfort itself with the fact that it is still the largest current supermajor presence in the Permian, with output there surging 70% in 2018 y-o-y. There could be other targets for acquisitions – Pioneer Natural Resources, Concho Resources or Diamondback Energy – but Chevron’s hunger for takeover seems to have diminished. And with it, the promises of an M&A bonanza in the Permian over 2019.
The Occidental-Anadarko deal:
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook
In April 2019, Venezuela's crude oil production averaged 830,000 barrels per day (b/d), down from 1.2 million b/d at the beginning of the year, according to EIA’s May 2019 Short-Term Energy Outlook. This average is the lowest level since January 2003, when a nationwide strike and civil unrest largely brought the operations of Venezuela's state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA), to a halt. Widespread power outages, mismanagement of the country's oil industry, and U.S. sanctions directed at Venezuela's energy sector and PdVSA have all contributed to the recent declines.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Baker Hughes
Venezuela’s oil production has decreased significantly over the last three years. Production declines accelerated in 2018, decreasing by an average of 33,000 b/d each month in 2018, and the rate of decline increased to an average of over 135,000 b/d per month in the first quarter of 2019. The number of active oil rigs—an indicator of future oil production—also fell from nearly 70 rigs in the first quarter of 2016 to 24 rigs in the first quarter of 2019. The declines in Venezuelan crude oil production will have limited effects on the United States, as U.S. imports of Venezuelan crude oil have decreased over the last several years. EIA estimates that U.S. crude oil imports from Venezuela in 2018 averaged 505,000 b/d and were the lowest since 1989.
EIA expects Venezuela's crude oil production to continue decreasing in 2019, and declines may accelerate as sanctions-related deadlines pass. These deadlines include provisions that third-party entities using the U.S. financial system stop transactions with PdVSA by April 28 and that U.S. companies, including oil service companies, involved in the oil sector must cease operations in Venezuela by July 27. Venezuela's chronic shortage of workers across the industry and the departure of U.S. oilfield service companies, among other factors, will contribute to a further decrease in production.
Additionally, U.S. sanctions, as outlined in the January 25, 2019 Executive Order 13857, immediately banned U.S. exports of petroleum products—including unfinished oils that are blended with Venezuela's heavy crude oil for processing—to Venezuela. The Executive Order also required payments for PdVSA-owned petroleum and petroleum products to be placed into an escrow account inaccessible by the company. Preliminary weekly estimates indicate a significant decline in U.S. crude oil imports from Venezuela in February and March, as without direct access to cash payments, PdVSA had little reason to export crude oil to the United States.
India, China, and some European countries continued to receive Venezuela's crude oil, according to data published by ClipperData Inc. Venezuela is likely keeping some crude oil cargoes intended for exports in floating storageuntil it finds buyers for the cargoes.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook, and Clipper Data Inc.
A series of ongoing nationwide power outages in Venezuela that began on March 7 cut electricity to the country's oil-producing areas, likely damaging the reservoirs and associated infrastructure. In the Orinoco Oil Belt area, Venezuela produces extra-heavy crude oil that requires dilution with condensate or other light oils before the oil is sent by pipeline to domestic refineries or export terminals. Venezuela’s upgraders, complex processing units that upgrade the extra-heavy crude oil to help facilitate transport, were shut down in March during the power outages.
If Venezuelan crude or upgraded oil cannot flow as a result of a lack of power to the pumping infrastructure, heavier molecules sink and form a tar-like layer in the pipelines that can hinder the flow from resuming even after the power outages are resolved. However, according to tanker tracking data, Venezuela's main export terminal at Puerto José was apparently able to load crude oil onto vessels between power outages, possibly indicating that the loaded crude oil was taken from onshore storage. For this reason, EIA estimates that Venezuela's production fell at a faster rate than its exports.
EIA forecasts that Venezuela's crude oil production will continue to fall through at least the end of 2020, reflecting further declines in crude oil production capacity. Although EIA does not publish forecasts for individual OPEC countries, it does publish total OPEC crude oil and other liquids production. Further disruptions to Venezuela's production beyond what EIA currently assumes would change this forecast.