Inpex's world-class Ichthys Project will command a key position on Australia's energy landscape for four decades. Given the magnitude of the $34 billion project, one can safely assume that finding the right people to for the project is an ongoing challenge for the Japan-based oil and gas company.
"A lot of people aren't aware of the company but we're a rapidly expanding organization," Chad Calvert, Operations Recruitment Supervisor with Inpex, told Rigzone Tuesday at the 2012 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.
Operator Inpex and minority partners Total and Tokyo Gas will produce gas from the Ichthys Field via several subsea wells offshore northwestern Australia. Production from the field, with estimated recoverable reserves of approximately 13 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, will be transported more than 500 miles via pipeline to an LNG liquefaction facility in Darwin, Northern Territory. Approximately 8.4 million tons per year of LNG will be exported to markets in Asia-Pacific.
Calvert noted the massive project presents a unique opportunity for professionals across a broad array of skill sets. Inpex is seeking job candidates in areas such as engineering, project services, contracts and procurement, operations, subsurface, commercial and corporate roles. He pointed out that highly specialized roles specific to the oil and gas industry tend to be the most challenging positions to fill -- particularly in the areas of drilling, packing and subsea.
"Those particular disciplines … [demand] a highly qualified skill set," Calvert explained. "Not only do you normally have to be qualified but -- particularly in LNG -- you have to have specific experience."
Given the highly specialized nature of Ichthys and other LNG projects, Inpex is competing for a very limited pool of talent for senior project roles. Moreover, Calvert pointed out these individuals often enjoy "star roles" with their current companies and "are perfectly happy where they are."
"They aren't necessarily looking, but how do you tap them on the shoulder, how do you let them know that the position's available," Calvert said.
In its quest to attract candidate who possess the right mix of skills and experience for these roles, Inpex is using venues such as OTC to inform the oil and gas community about the company's ambitious growth plans. Calvert, himself a transplanted South African who now lives in Perth, admits that Inpex's presence in Australia is an important selling point.
Calvert said that Perth (home of Inpex's Australia headquarters) offers a desirable quality of life, with a "fantastic" climate, good schools, and other important considerations for job candidates and their families. More importantly, he contends the future is bright for a career in Australia's oil and gas industry.
"Do I see a long future for Australia and do I see an attractive proposition for candidates from the U.S.?," asked Calvert. "Absolutely."
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