Outlook positive for expats seeking jobs in oil and gas industry

by Ray Clancy on September 9, 2014

The oil and gas industry is a huge employer globally of expat graduates and skilled professionals and now the latest jobs index for the industry shows where the best opportunities can be found.

The second quarter of 2014 has been positive with an overall quarter on quarter increase in the Hays Oil & Gas Global Job Index with all regions except Australasia reporting significantly more job vacancies compared to the first three months of the year.


All regions except Australasia report significantly more job vacancies compared to earlier this year

The job markets in South America, Africa and the CIS were particularly strong and the index report points out that in Mexico, the new economic reform will allow the potential of private and foreign investments.

In Africa, key projects in Angola, Mozambique and Nigeria continue to create jobs, while in the CIS, a significant uptick has mainly been spurred by increased seismic activity, exploratory drilling and further investment in LNG including the Yamal project.

A recent survey from top advisory business Deloitte, which interviewed executives from both state owned and private business in the area, highlighted that improving field development efficiency and continued exploration and drilling ranked highest on their priorities as well as for continued investment for the remainder of 2014 — provided that they can continue to attract the right talent and capital given the region’s instability.

The recent signing of the $400 billion trade deal between Russia and China will see continued investment in the region. LNG Projects such as Sakhlin and Yamal will compete with projects in the US, Nigeria, Qatar and Mozambique for the already small pool of specialist engineers with liquefaction experience.

Meanwhile, Exxon has started drilling with its partner Rosneft in the Kara Sea, currently the largest project being undertaken globally, matching those of Saudi Arabia. The Kara Sea has the potential of reserves larger than the Gulf of Mexico, but there is a chance that international sanctions could hinder these projects.

North America has seen steady growth with several key LNG projects receiving approval. The report says that along with continuing investment into the midstream and downstream sectors, business activity is increasing and jobs are being created.

The US total crude oil production, which averaged 7.4 million barrels per day in 2013, is expected to average 8.5 million in 2014, according to the US Energy Information Administration. This is the highest annual average level of oil production since 1972, putting a strain on the midstream sector. ‘We expect to see significant investment in this area over the second half of 2014,’ the report says.

On a more pessimistic note, both Europe and Australasia were relatively flat on a quarter on quarter basis, and down year on year. Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in July reported an unemployment rise of 0.4%. The job market remains tough, with major projects reaching completion and unfavourable economic conditions, which may cause operators to not sanction further investment in the region.

Overall, the price per barrel of oil is strong at $105, and with current global political instability, particularly in Iraq, Ukraine and Russia, many analysts predict it will rise to over $110 per barrel in the third quarter of this year.

‘This will make conditions more favourable for continued capital expenditure, despite the pressure they are receiving from investors to increase cash flow and to show returns on the massive capital investments made over the past years. Dependent on the outcome of the political unrest, we expect continued growth in the job market,’ the report concludes.

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