With the hardest downturn in a generation, millions of jobs have been lost in the Oil and Gas industry. While the current Shale surge in US has sparked up hiring across the country, numerous professionals in other parts of the world continue to stay out of job. With low/ mid- range prices, the companies have been forced to reduce their operational costs, thereby turning to technology and automation. Much like other industries, Oil and Gas is expected to be transformed dramatically by changing technological trends. The technological shift will create multiple new roles and avenues in the field.
Over the coming decades, all industries will be transformed by converging technological trends that dramatically alter how companies do business. This will undoubtedly lead to many current jobs becoming obsolete. However, technological changes will also generate numerous new roles that the companies will require.
So let's take a look at the jobs in the oil and gas industry that are expected to grow and be in demand in the future.
Distinct development in virtual reality technology has made it possible for all technical trainees to be trained remotely, which means a significant cost reduction for the oil companies. On-site trainings are being replaced by virtual, remote training workshops that replicate the working backdrop of an oil field.
At the front of these trainings are the Virtual Reality Trainers, who are the mainstay of all the training programmes of major companies. As oil companies grapple with low oil prices, reduction on training costs is indispensable for this skill oriented industry. Here, turning to virtual trainings is a haven that all companies will start embracing sooner or later.
Underwater Drone Supervisor
In the coming decades, the installation of subsea equipment will largely be done by semi-autonomous robots- commonly known as under water drones. In order for the work to be done diligently and in a legally conforming manner, all the work done by robots would need complete supervision of human beings. To reduce both cost and risk involved, this supervision will be done remotely by engineers, with the aid of cameras mounted on underwater drones to monitor the operations and ensure that everything is done perfectly and that the standards are met.
Data Engineers, Scientists and Cleaners
The procedures and decisions involved in the oil and gas wells generate data in large amounts, which grows daily. Significant advances in sensor technology and data storage implies that the industry today has humungous amounts of data that it can handle and process across the upstream business.
The amount of data available to the companies is no longer in gigabytes or terabytes, but is now at the petabyte level. Many companies are enthusiastic in data management; they are setting up technology and innovation centres to concentrate on data interpretation and management.
Due to the enormous data, there is a growing trend in the market, where industry is interested in finding out about how the data can be used. There are also companies that are hiring people with analytical skills and consulting organizations who have expertise in data management and analysis.
While the Big Data is still in the initial phases in Oil and Gas, when the industry recovers, there would be a huge need for work force in the field- like Data Cleaners, Scientists, Analysts, Software engineers.
As Wikipedia explains it - Haptic or kinesthetic communication recreates the sense of touch by utilising forces and vibrations to the user. This mechanical stimulation is useful in the creation of virtual objects in a computer simulation, and helps in controlling such virtual objects, and also boosts the remote control of machines and devices.
Haptic technology is now widely used, particularly in touch-screens that apply forces and vibrations back to the user. For most people, this is merely an everyday and unnoticeable part of their interaction with technology.
For the Oil and Gas industry, it is integral to have high-end tactile electronic equipments. The highly responsive haptic equipments allow the engineers to deal with issues and breakdowns virtually and remotely, such that they were experiencing it in reality.
There are few genuinely “hands-on” day-to-day jobs in the industry today, but engineering specialists are still kept on hand in case of technological failure.
The oil and gas companies are largely dependent on large, heavy and complex equipments for drilling and maintaining oil wells and consequentially are largely benefitting from automation. The industry downturn has given the oil executives time and reasons to mix the human workforce with robots. Today, the industry has robots that automate heavy, dangerous and repetitive tasks of connecting hundreds of parts of drill pipe as they are propelled into miles of ocean water and reservoir rock.
These robots in the operations experience wear and tear. The Robotics Managers ensure that everything in the robots is working well. They use their extensive knowledge in fixing any hardware issues or damages that may occur.
We all heard about Shell's ambitious plans to decommission a major field of North Sea oil rigs by employing the world's largest vessel - the Pioneering Spirit, worth £2.4bn. This project alone is estimated to last for 10 years. For the next 40 years Decommissioning is meant to be a focus. Figures have revealed, by the 2050s around 470 platforms, 6,000 miles of pipeline and 5,000 wells will need to be withdrawn from the North Sea. Additionally an estimated 40,000 concrete blocks that enable in keeping the offshore operations steady, also need to be removed. So over the years Decommissioning will continue to open up numerous employment opportunities. It presents enormous opportunities for offshore engineering/construction services firms - specially providers of heavy lift vessels.
Industry body Oil & Gas UK indicated in its Activity Survey 2016 that 21 fields ceased production on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf last year – even though the expectation was for 14 fields only. Another 80 fields in the UK are anticipated to come to an end of their production lives in the next five years.
In the last two years the Decommissioning expenditure on the UKCS has been around $1.45bn per year, but, but Oil & Gas UK anticipates it to tread up significantly, to more than $2.9 billion in 2017.