Human resources practices of oil and gas companies need to integrate upskilling of their employees within its policy framework and future vision. As a best practice, it should be a continuous process and not just an instant fix during challenging times.
To further establish the importance of skill set upgradation in the oil and gas industry let us start with the definition:
What is Upskilling?
Upskilling is training an employee on new technology or process to improve his present capabilities. It makes the individual future-ready for upcoming technologies and methodologies, especially the ones related to his skill set and aptitude.
Why is it important to Upskill the workforce?
There are two major reasons:
Manual human labour is always at war with the rapid evolution of technology. New technologies have improved productivity by automating processes and replacing large-scale workforce with advanced machine-learning and AI tools.
This has in-turn led to an abundance of traditional talents and a steep rise in demand for experts who can control this new generation human-machine ecosystem. Upskilling in such a scenario can enable the workforce to use new technology and bridge the skill gap.
Also, it may be more expensive to hire new employees and train them rather than develop ways to nurture talent that’s already there in the company’s workforce; Upskilling is such a scenario will act as a strong retention strategy.
For example, in the last 1800s, rotary drills used to be in operation to drill out oil. Now, the oil and gas industry has technologies like seismic imaging and the latest measurement while drilling technology (MWD) to enhance the productivity of oil drilling. A drilling team that is well versed in the newest technology will always prove to be an asset to the company and vice-versa.
However, upskilling in not restricted to hard skills alone; In the energy industry, soft skills are vitally important, especially because of the rigorous nature of work. Professionals from diverse national backgrounds, cultures, and habits come together to work in the industry. They work in a difficult environment away from family and friends.
Interpersonal skills, ability to communicate clearly, and leadership capabilities are vital to keeping the team working and happy.
Skill set upgradation is a continuous process. Why?
It is quite unfortunate that the implementation of upgrading oneself be it learning new tools & technologies or keeping up with the latest industry trends is not proportional to the advancement of technologies. Hence there is always an imparity in demand and availability of talent.
The only way to bridge the gap between talent demand and supply is timely identification of industry trends and recalibrating oneself by learning the new.
Competition is a big driver of upskilling
Globalisation has opened up new markets. Needless to say, the recruitment department has witnessed a rapid growth of tech-savvy and competitive talent base. For the new-age engineers and entrepreneurs, technology is not something to learn; it is a way of life. When they join the global economy, they will steer everything on the motherboard of technology. The amalgamation of old and new talent would be incongruous if the industry stays away from this mission.
The oil and gas industry has its own downturns and upturns, but such is the importance of energy in the modern world, that it continues to be the force majeure in the economy.
Upskilling through technology courses, in-service training programmes, soft skill modules, and software skilling programmes can keep both employees and employers ready to face the competition and the future.
Nrgedge.net has for long partnered with the industry to equip energy personnel with advanced skill sets in various job profiles and positions. Visionary industry experts have lent their minds to design and develop the upskilling courses to facilitate the process of capability enhancement and professional advancement.
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Headline crude prices for the week beginning 11 February 2019 – Brent: US$61/b; WTI: US$52/b
Headlines of the week
Midstream & Downstream
Global liquid fuels
Electricity, coal, renewables, and emissions
2018 was a year that started with crude prices at US$62/b and ended at US$46/b. In between those two points, prices had gently risen up to peak of US$80/b as the oil world worried about the impact of new American sanctions on Iran in September before crashing down in the last two months on a rising tide of American production. What did that mean for the financial health of the industry over the last quarter and last year?
Nothing negative, it appears. With the last of the financial results from supermajors released, the world’s largest oil firms reported strong profits for Q418 and blockbuster profits for the full year 2018. Despite the blip in prices, the efforts of the supermajors – along with the rest of the industry – to keep costs in check after being burnt by the 2015 crash has paid off.
ExxonMobil, for example, may have missed analyst expectations for 4Q18 revenue at US$71.9 billion, but reported a better-than-expected net profit of US$6 billion. The latter was down 28% y-o-y, but the Q417 figure included a one-off benefit related to then-implemented US tax reform. Full year net profit was even better – up 5.7% to US$20.8 billion as upstream production rose to 4.01 mmboe/d – allowing ExxonMobil to come close to reclaiming its title of the world’s most profitable oil company.
But for now, that title is still held by Shell, which managed to eclipse ExxonMobil with full year net profits of US$21.4 billion. That’s the best annual results for the Anglo-Dutch firm since 2014; product of the deep and painful cost-cutting measures implemented after. Shell’s gamble in purchasing the BG Group for US$53 billion – which sparked a spat of asset sales to pare down debt – has paid off, with contributions from LNG trading named as a strong contributor to financial performance. Shell’s upstream output for 2018 came in at 3.78 mmb/d and the company is also looking to follow in the footsteps of ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP in the Permian, where it admits its footprint is currently ‘a bit small’.
Shell’s fellow British firm BP also reported its highest profits since 2014, doubling its net profits for the full year 2018 on a 65% jump in 4Q18 profits. It completes a long recovery for the firm, which has struggled since the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, allowing it to focus on the future – specifically US shale through the recent US$10.5 billion purchase of BHP’s Permian assets. Chevron, too, is focusing on onshore shale, as surging Permian output drove full year net profit up by 60.8% and 4Q18 net profit up by 19.9%. Chevron is also increasingly focusing on vertical integration again – to capture the full value of surging Texas crude by expanding its refining facilities in Texas, just as ExxonMobil is doing in Beaumont. French major Total’s figures may have been less impressive in percentage terms – but that it is coming from a higher 2017 base, when it outperformed its bigger supermajor cousins.
So, despite the year ending with crude prices in the doldrums, 2018 seems to be proof of Big Oil’s ability to better weather price downturns after years of discipline. Some of the control is loosening – major upstream investments have either been sanctioned or planned since 2018 – but there is still enough restraint left over to keep the oil industry in the black when trends turn sour.
Supermajor Net Profits for 4Q18 and 2018
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$6 billion (-28%);
- 2018 – Net profit US$20.8 (+5.7%)
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$5.69 billion (+32.3%);
- 2018 – Net profit US$21.4 billion (+36%)
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$3.73 billion (+19.9%);
- 2018 – Net profit US$14.8 billion (+60.8%)
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$3.48 billion (+65%);
- 2018 - Net profit US$12.7 billion (+105%)
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$3.88 billion (+16%);
- 2018 - Net profit US$13.6 billion (+28%)