A review of the employment environment in the energy sector by Petroplan has found that, despite a major contraction in the value of the energy employment market over the past two years, global oil prices are now around the level where demand for talent looks set to pick up again.

Respondents from thirty-five organisations from across the major global oil and gas hubs participated in the survey, the aim of which was to gain insight from the industry’s employers on the prospects for recovery, and how this would impact on hiring in the near future.

Contract staff are likely to be in the vanguard of any recovery, with over two- thirds of respondents expecting greater use of contractors, bringing with them the flexibility and cost control which are critical in the current business environment. The use of Western expat contractors - long seen as a mainstay of the oil and gas industry - looks set to decline however as lower-cost local talent upskills and nationalisation targets take effect.

Activity is expected to pick up on onshore rigs first (in the US, then Middle East, Asia and Africa), followed by shallow water projects. Experienced technical talent, as well as those with a combination of technical and financial skills, look set to be most in demand in any recovery. Mechanical and chemical engineers, project managers and IT experts were among the shortage roles cited in the survey.

If anything, the oil price downturn since mid-2014 has increased the demographic challenge the industry faces, with experienced middle managers laid off and millennials put off entering the industry. While two thirds of respondents recognise the challenge as a major obstacle to growth, there was a feeling that multi-skilling and up-skilling the existing workforce will help to address it.

p12 | | April 2017


Ashtead Technology has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of a Business Development Director.

With a career spanning more than 20 years in the oil and gas industry, David Mair joins Ashtead from Hoover Ferguson Group where he held the position of Global Business Development Director. Prior to this, Mr Mair worked at Subsea 7 where he held a number of senior management roles, including Group Vice President of Business Development.

Based in Aberdeen, Mr Mair will be responsible for Ashtead’s global business development activities as the firm looks to further broaden its range of services and increase its geographical reach to provide its customers with the most efficient, cost-effective technological solutions.

Mr Mair’s appointment is the latest move in

Ashtead’s growth strategy and follows the company’s recent expansion in the Middle East following the acquisition of Abu Dhabi based TES Survey Equipment Services LLC.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Mair said: “With more than 30 years’ experience in delivering equipment and service solutions to the subsea industry, Ashtead is well positioned to build on this long heritage with innovative thinking, cutting-edge technology and services.

“I am delighted to be joining such a high calibre team and look forward to contributing to the continued growth and success of the business.”


Sparrows Group has secured a three year contract to deliver fixed crane maintenance and lifting and rigging services for the INPEx-operated Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Australia.

The agreement is the latest in a series of significant business wins for Sparrows and will see the company’s teams in Perth and Darwin, Australia, support activities across the state of the art Ichthys onshore LNG facility at Bladin Point, the offshore central processing facility Ichthys Explorer and the Ichthys Venturer FPSO.

The scope encompasses maintenance, servicing and inspection of lifting equipment and cranes, the supply of lifting equipment, spare parts and materials; and technical and engineering support.

Located approximately 220 kilometres offshore Western Australia, the Ichthys Field represents the largest discovery of hydrocarbon liquids in Australia

in more than 40 years. The Ichthys LNG Project is currently in construction and is ranked among the most significant oil and gas projects in the world.

Ichthys is expected to produce 8.9 million tonnes of LNG and 1.6 million tonnes of LPG per annum, in addition to more than 100,000 barrels of condensate per day at peak.

Sparrows announced last month that it had secured a five-year deal with Maersk Oil UK for the supply of hydraulic, lifting and rigging services. Since the start of the year the Group has also won the contract to provide services for ScottishPower Renewables’s East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm, announced a three-year deal to provide crane management services at the Kraken field, East of Sheltand; and renewed a mechanical handling and crane management pact with BP for an initial five years.

The value of the Ichthys contract, which is for three years plus two one year options, was not disclosed.

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