Compensation Tracker: Working in Asia Pacific

The Asia Pacific region is experiencing rapid economic growth driven by the emerging economies of China, India, Indonesia and Thailand. As a result, these countries have increased their energy consumption. To reduce the region's rising dependency on imported oil and gas, Asia-Pacific countries are increasing their offshore exploration and production (E&P) activities.

Global Business Intelligence Research published a report in 2010 that looked at Asia Pacific's oil and gas supply and demand through 2020. According to the report, the region is expected to slowly increase its demand for natural gas through 2020 at an average annual growth rate of 4.3 percent, largely driven by demand growth in China and India. Thus, the region is expected to see an increase in investments in the mid- and downstream sectors.

The region's increased offshore activity will drive up demand for offshore rigs and platforms, as well as jobs. Look for the National Oil Companies – Petronas, Pertamina, CNOOC and ONGC – to play a key role in E&P staffing.

China and India are not the only Asia countries ramping up E&P. Look for the Philippines and Myanmar to get in the deepwater game, Infield Systems reports.

Asia Pacific's gas demand has Australia positioned to capitalize on its many LNG export projects underway. However, these LNG projects have Australia scrambling for workers as the country has a small population and large energy resources in remote locations.

LNG projects typically need between 5,000 to 15,000 workers for the peak phase of construction, and between 500 and 1,000 workers to operate an LNG facility, as reported on Rigzone in March 2012. Australia must source its workers from the global pool of professionals; typically, 10 to 15 different nationalities of workers are represented in an Australian LNG project, Dane Groeneveld, regional director with NES Global Talent Groeneveld told Rigzone.

If you are looking to get into the LNG industry, look toward Australia, as the country tries to fill its skills shortage to avoid increased LNG costs and pushed back start-up dates of the many LNG projects currently under construction.

Australia Compensation

According to Rigzone's Compensation Tracker, oil and gas professionals working in Australia enjoyed the largest year/year gains in compensation among the world's energy producing regions. Average compensation jumped 7 percent in 2011 to total $123,453.

As one would expect, more experience equates to higher pay. Those with two to five years of experience said they were paid an average of $92,605 in 2011. Pay jumped to $128,379 after 10 years of experience, and increased to $155,013 after 20 years working in the Australian oil and gas industry.

Oil and gas professionals who participated in the survey and identified themselves as having worked in Australia reported companies operating in the region with 21-100 employees paid an average of $119,894. The largest companies, those with more than 2,000 employees, paid their employees an average compensation of $129,256.

In terms of level, oil and gas survey participants fell into three categories: staff, middle management and upper management. In 2010, staff positions paid an average of $102,901 compared to $111,706 in 2011, which is a 9 percent increase. Likewise, mid-level professionals reported an increase of 7 percent, from $125,207 in 2010 to $133,463 in 2011. Upper level earnings increased insignificantly from $148,670 in 2010 to $150,007 in 2011.

Onshore jobs paid more than offshore jobs in Australia, likely due to the increase of onshore exploration driven by small independents. The average onshore Australian employee made $127,458 in 2011 compared to offshore employees, who made $120,144. Likewise, schedule played a role in average compensation. For those who worked fulltime in 2011, the average compensation was $120,690. Rotation workers reported average earnings of $126,788.

It is worth noting that only about 50 percent of oil and gas professionals working in the region and who participated in the survey are citizens of Australia. It typically costs more to employ foreign citizens, which could be driving up earnings in the region.

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