Offshore or Onshore: Which Route to Take?



Few industries can match oil and gas in terms of workplace variety. A drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Australia, a production platform off Brazil’s coast and a control room in Abu Dhabi are but a few of the places where oil and gas professionals report to work.

If you’re contemplating a career in oil and gas, you may be wondering whether to pursue opportunities offshore or onshore. Each setting offers its own rewards and trade-offs. Moreover, each prospective job candidate brings a unique set of personal and professional goals. An important step in finding the right opportunity in oil and gas is deciding which broad workplace environment – offshore or onshore – best aligns with those expectations.

Before scanning through want ads, however, take the time to educate yourself about the key players in the oil and gas industry and what they do, advised Gabriela Alves, Rio de Janeiro-based recruitment consultant with the global oil and gas placement firm Hays.

“For new entrants in the oil and gas market, I would recommend [investing] quality time in understanding how the market operates [and] analyzing the whole cycle [to see] when/how each company type – operators, oilfield services and engineering procurement construction management firms – gets involved,” she said. “Having a clear picture of the market can really assist in structuring your goals and in making a solid plan to achieve them.”

Knowledge Is Power

Educating yourself about the oil and gas market puts you in a better position to sell yourself to prospective offshore or onshore employers. Bringing certain transferable skills from other industries can make you particularly attractive to such companies, said Carolyn Stewart, North America regional business development manager with NES Global Talent.

“There are numerous facets to the offshore business whereas an individual could be involved as part of the team on the platform, at a base office, construction yard or both,” she explained. “For individuals seeking to work on a platform, those with mechanical and electrical skills would be of high value, possibly in roustabout, electrician or HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) roles.”

“Opportunities exist onshore as well… document controls, project controls and certain procurement roles are transferable within industries and vital to the success of a project,” she added.


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