Job Market Particularly Strong for Deepwater Pros

Job Market Particularly Strong for Deepwater Pros

An uptick in deepwater activity has contributed to a marked increase in demand for riser, drilling and completion engineers worldwide over the past year, an oil and gas recruitment specialist told Rigzone at last week's Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) 2013.

"The demand is great," Carolyn Stewart, Houston-based business development manager with NES Global Talent, said at the sidelines of OTC, which was held May 6-9 in Texas' energy hub Houston.

"We've seen quite a bit of drilling and completion," Stewart explained. "There's more specialization coming into play in high-pressure areas, deepwater areas."

As a result of this trend toward deeper developments, wells are becoming more complex and operators are placing wells closer together, Stewart noted.

"The technology for an FPSO [floating production, storage and offloading unit], FSO [floating storage and offloading vessel] – even just a general offshore rig, a TLP [tension-leg platform] or spar – has greatly increased," Stewart continued, adding that how operators configure wells is changing.  

In turn, the skill sets that companies are demanding from engineers, technicians and other specialists needed to drill and complete wells and position infrastructure are becoming more specialized, she said.

Although companies are asking more of deepwater professionals, qualified individuals seeking these highly specialized positions can earn very competitive compensation packages and be selective in terms of work rotations, Stewart said. In addition, she pointed out that demand for such candidates is robust is virtually all offshore oil and gas provinces – ranging from the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea to West Africa and Southeast Asia.

For Stewart's company, the tight demand for drilling engineers, riser engineers and other deepwater experts has been good for business.

"We follow our clients," she said, noting that NES Global Talent now operates 46 locations worldwide and applies a "discipline-specific" recruiting approach that aids in expanding the breadth of its networking capabilities.

"Our focus is in all areas. We've been able to open offices on our clients' growth."

Because the demand for deepwater experts far outstrips the pool of available talent, offshore employers will need to redouble their efforts to encourage seasoned professionals to impart their expertise to their younger peers, Stewart said.

"Companies will have to get creative in how they bring that workforce in, how they train the workforce," she explained.

In some cases, companies have instituted mentoring programs in which senior-level engineers work directly with their less experienced counterparts, she added.

"I think as we go along, we'll see more mentoring programs, more development programs," Stewart concluded.

Matthew V. Veazey has written about the oil and gas industry since 2000. Email Matthew at


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