This is an exciting time for energy professionals, especially for all those who are looking for a job change within the oil and gas industry!
The current year is already witnessing a steady rise in the oil prices and the number of LNG projects thus painting a positive picture for the future.
Additionally, industry experts say, that the trend of employing temporary and contractual staff on an ongoing basis will continue to grow by 24%, which up by 1% than the previous year.
Looking at the studies and profiles in demand, it is evident that there is immense scope in the industry and if one is looking for a job change, this could be an ideal time.
Opportunities, however, may come with a caveat and hence it is important to understand the pros and cons associated with switching jobs to make an informed decision.
Getting started: Gain clarity
Before you hand over your resignation letter, it is important to determine if a career change is a good move. Start by answering a few questions:
Dos for job hopping in the oil and gas sector
Regardless of your current job, your academic proficiency and your work history the oil and gas industry offers numerous opportunities. However, it is important to pick the one that will propel you to success.
DO – Know your options
The lifecycle of an oil and gas project moves from the conceptualization stage to the decommissioning phase. There are different levels in between and each of them requires a different skillset.
This industry is open to talented professionals, which means that if you are willing to learn you can easily climb the career ladder and even explore lateral movements to newer functions.
For instance, if you do not like working on offshore rigs, but are a technology enthusiast, you can switch to digital lead roles by completing a relevant certification.
DO – Intensive research
Since you are planning to move to another company, research becomes crucial for your personal as well as professional growth.
Start with researching the disciplines that are in high demand, the best companies to work for, covering your interest domain, company policies, work visa requirements and other government regulations.
While Houston, Abu Dhabi, and Perth are hotspots for exploration and production activities, new opportunities are emerging in countries like Malaysia, Mexico, and Mozambique.
Furthermore, speak to industry experts, and learn about the benefits and loopholes. The more you know, the better decision you will make.
DO – Compare the benefits
Learn about the benefits that you avail in your current job vis-à-vis the gains you will enjoy in your next job.
Begin by comparing the obvious: your compensation. As per the 2018-19 Hays Salary guide, 57% of oil and gas professionals will get a minimum of 3% rise in their next review while 21% of employers won’t increase your salary at all.
Learn where you belong and what are your chances of growth in your current organization. Once you have the number, compare it with the compensation that you are expecting in your new job.
Make sure you include the cost of living and the work-life balance in your decision-making. Apart from direct monetary benefits also compare additional benefits like working hours, job flexibility, growth prospects, insurance benefits, and other bonuses and allowances.
Don’ts for job hopping in oil and gas sector
It is important to know what might go wrong and how it can be avoided to keep the decision-making simple and easy.
DON’T – Be intimidated
The competition in the oil and gas industry is fierce. The industry requires highly skilled and experienced professionals and it is recommended that one keeps upgrading one’s skills as the demand shifts.
This dynamism in the industry often intimidates the professionals. Therefore, the idea here is to understand your potential, market value, and the expected competency. If you fit the bill, then you must consider switching.
However, if you identify a knowledge or skill gap, then it is advisable to gain the required expertise and then plan the job change. This ensures that you do not settle for less.
DON’T- Risk your safety
Safety parameters and guidelines are crucial in the oil and gas sector. Learn about the safety policies, employee benefits and the insurance policy of the company you are planning to join.
Gather references if possible from existing or former employees on how they treat their workforce to avoid work-related injuries, accidents, and diseases.
DON’T – Compromise on your stability
One should have the right reason to switch. Often employees quit due to boredom and monotony at work and then later regret their decision.
Therefore, if you are planning to quit for growth opportunities or better exposure, it is crucial to analyze rationally if you will achieve what you are aiming for in your new job.
Additionally, if you are not sure about the new work environment or the growth potential, then it will be wise to drop the plan until you have clarity and extensive knowledge.
But do keep looking for more suitable options. Switch only when you are sure. Compromising stability may cost you your career.
The best part about the energy sector is that if you are willing to do hard work, there isn't any dearth of opportunities. It offers a lucrative salary, travelling, stability and growth opportunity. Just weigh the pros and cons of your career decision and you are good to go!
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On 10 December 2021, if all goes to plan Royal Dutch Shell will become just Shell. The energy supermajor will move its headquarters from The Hague in The Netherlands to London, UK. At least three-quarters of the company’s shareholders must vote in favour of the change at the upcoming general meeting, which has been sold by Shell as a means of simplifying its corporate structure and better return value to shareholders, as well as be ‘better positioned to seize opportunities and play a leading role in the energy transition’. In doing so, it will no longer meet Dutch conditions for ‘royal’ designation, dropping a moniker that has defined the company through decades of evolution since 1907.
But why this and why now?
There is a complex web of reasons why, some internal and some external but the ultimate reason boils down to improving growth sustainability. Royal Dutch Shell was born through the merger of Shell Transport and Trading Company (based in the UK) and Royal Dutch (based in The Netherlands) in 1907, with both companies engaging in exploration activities ranging from seashells to crude oil. Unified across international borders, Royal Dutch Shell emerged as Europe’s answer to John D Rockefeller’s Standard Oil empire, as the race to exploit oil (and later natural gas) reserves spilled out over the world. Along the way, Royal Dutch Shell chalked up a number of achievements including establishing the iconic Brent field in the North Sea to striking the first commercial oil in Nigeria. Unlike Standard Oil which was dissolved into 34 smaller companies in 1911, Royal Dutch Shell remained intact, operating as two entities until 2005, when they were finally combined in a dual-nationality structure: incorporated in the UK, but residing in the Netherlands. This managed to satisfy the national claims both countries make on the supermajor, second only to ExxonMobil in revenue and profits but proved to be costly to maintain. In 2020, fellow Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever also ditched its dual structure, opting to be based fully out of the City of London. In that sense, Shell is following the direction of the wind, as forces in its (soon to be former) home country turn sour.
There is a specific grievance that Royal Dutch Shell has with the Dutch government, the 15% dividend tax collected for Dutch-domiciled companies. It is the reason why Unilever abandoned Rotterdam and is now the reason why Shell is abandoning The Hague. And this point is particularly existentialist for Shell, since its share prices has been battered in recent years following the industry downturn since 2015, the global pandemic and being in the crosshairs of climate change activists as an emblem of why the world’s average temperatures are going haywire. The latter has already caused the largest Dutch state pension fund ABP to stop investing in fossil fuels, thereby divesting itself of Royal Dutch Shell. This was largely a symbolic move, but as religious figures will know, symbols themselves carry much power. To combat this, Shell has done two things. First, it has positioned itself to be at the forefront of energy transition, announcing ambitious emissions reductions plans in line with its European counterparts to become carbon neutral by 2050. Second, it is looking to bump up its dividend payouts after slashing them through the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic and accelerating share buybacks to remain the bluest of blue-chip stocks. But then, earlier this year, a Dutch court ruled that Shell’s emissions targets were ‘not ambitious enough’, ordering a stricter aim within a tighter timeframe. And the 15% dividend tax remains – even though Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coalition government has been attempting to scrap it, with (it is presumed) some lobbying from Royal Dutch Shell and Unilever.
As simplistic it is to think that Shell is leaving for London believes the citizens of the Netherlands has turned its back on the company, the ultimate reason was the dividend tax. Reportedly, CEO Ben van Buerden called up Mark Rutte on Sunday informing him of the planned move. Rutte’s reaction, it is said was of dismay. And he embarked on a last-ditch effort to persuade Royal Dutch Shell to change its mind, by immediately lobbying his government’s coalition partners to back an abolition of the dividend tax. The reaction was perhaps not what he expected, with left-wing and green parties calling Shell’s threat ‘blackmail’. With democracy drawing a line, Shell decided to walk; or at least present an exit plan endorsed by its Board to be voted by shareholders. Many in the Netherlands see Shell’s exit and the loss of the moniker Royal Dutch – as a blow to national pride, especially since the country has been basking in the glow of expanded reputation as a result of post-Brexit migration of financial activities to Amsterdam from London. The UK, on the other hand, sees Shell’s decision and Unilever’s – as an endorsement of the country’s post-Brexit potential.
The move, if passed and in its initial stages, will be mainly structural, transferring the tax residence of Shell to London. Just ten top executives including van Buerden and CFO Jessica Uhl will be making the move to London. Three major arms – Projects and Technology, Global Upstream and Integrated Gas and Renewable Energies – will remain in The Hague. As will Shell’s massive physical reach on Dutch soil: the huge integrated refinery in Pernis, the biofuels hub in Rotterdam, the country’s first offshore wind farm and the mammoth Porthos carbon capture project that will funnel emissions from Rotterdam to be stored in empty North Sea gas fields. And Shell’s troubles with activists will still continue. British climate change activists are as, if not more aggressive as their Dutch counterpart, this being the country where Extinction Rebellion was born. Perhaps more of a threat is activist investor Third Point, which recently acquired a chunk of Shell shares and has been advocating splitting the company into two – a legacy business for fossil fuels and a futures-focused business for renewables.
So Shell’s business remains, even though its address has changed. In the grand scheme of things, never mind the small matter of Dutch national pride – Royal Dutch Shell’s roadmap to remain an investment icon and a major driver of energy transition will continue in its current form. This is a quibble about money or rather, tax – that will have little to no impact on Shell’s operations or on its ambitions. Royal Dutch Shell is poised to become just Shell. Different name and a different house, but the same contents. Unless, of course, Queen Elizabeth II decides to provide royal assent, in which case, Shell might one day become Royal British Shell.
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