Why is skills development important?

Skill development is important for jobs within the oil industry and within the wider economy.  Often the first efforts to develop skills responding to a new oil and gas development focus on the upstream.

  • Exploration and associated services
  • Drilling services
  • Petroleum engineering
  • Engineering, surveying design, and support services

Skills inside the oil industry
Jobs within the oil industry often require highly skilled technical capacity.  This means that oil companies rely on importing it in the shape of expatriate technicians.  An oil industry presence can provide the opportunity to build local centres of technical excellence that will create a body of technical expertise for the next generation.  The opportunity for training a highly skilled workforce for the future requires careful nurturing by the government, educational institutions and the industry itself.

Skills for the wider economy
Even though the number of indirect and induced jobs created by the development of the oil and gas industry can vary significantly from country to country, generally speaking the bulk of the employment opportunities lies beyond the direct employment in oil extraction.  Most of the indirect jobs will be created in the following industries: environmental services, manpower agencies, construction materials, food industry, etc. If all the stakeholders positively engage in maximising the local content a large number of job could be ‘induced’ by oil and gas activities.

When thinking about the skills gap, we have to be aware that:

  • the majority of jobs are normally created in the midstream and downstream of the oil and gas value chain and in the local content;
  • most of the jobs, direct, indirect or induced, are employed only short term during the peak construction phase, therefore it is important to understand which industry might absorb these workers and what kind of transferable skills have to be central to the vocational training in order to equip the prospective workers with the needed flexibility.
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