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A talent crisis looms in the oil and gas industry


RISING global demand and skyrocketing oil prices are encouraging oil companies to invest in both conventional oil exploration and unconventional oil projects. But a diminishing pool of new and experienced talent together with an ageing workforce may be hindering growth.

According to Ernst & Young, post tax profits for leading oil and gas companies rose by 29% last year to US$319.9bil (RM990.7bil) from 2010, yet industry experts feel something has to been done quickly or the world’s most lucrative industry may be in a talent crisis.

Beyond Petroleum programme director StØre Nordgaard said the oil and gas industry is an old industry with many veterans.

“The rookies are still not getting the knowledge they require and then there are some who have been in this industry for ages but are not transferring their knowledge to the young ones,” said the expert in the field of coaching and training in petroleum technology and green technology.

“It is also very common in the industry for seniors to give juniors a hard time. We need to change this and be inclusive when it comes to transferring knowledge to newbies,” added Nordgaard, who also holds a triple degree in petroleum technology, civil engineering and construction engineering.

He further said that oil and gas companies should invest in petroleum universities to create a bigger talent pool.

According to published reports, China is now producing approximately 100,000 energy graduates a year. In Russia, the Moscow Institute of the Petrochemical and Gas Industry alone has an student enrolment of 8,000 and is adding 1,500 more each year.

There are growing pressures from the governments of many countries for international oil companies to play a more active role in expanding education and training opportunities

Nordgaard complemented Petronas for its efforts in creating a young workforce through its university. Universiti Teknologi Petronas was established on Jan 10, 1997 when the national oil and gas company was invited by the government to set up a university.

There are many examples from the history books of other industries facing serious challenges and companies deciding to join forces because the challenges are too big and working in silos is not feasible.

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