Surviving the Downturn in Drilling

Surviving the Downturn in Drilling
A closer look at how drilling professionals can survive the current market.

So far, 2015 has proved to be a tough time for workers in the upstream industry, particularly oil workers who are directly involved in drilling operations.

Oilfield services companies focused on drilling have been laying off workers. The early months of this year saw Halliburton Co., Schlumberger Ltd., Weatherford International and Helmerich & Payne Inc., among other drilling firms, announce plans for significant job losses at their operations around the world. Meanwhile, the stock prices of companies involved in deepwater drilling – such as Transocean Ltd. and Seadrill – fell sharply between the summer of 2014 and spring of this year.

"The market right now is quite slow for the obvious reasons," Paul Mazalov – team leader for Drilling and Completions at recruitment agency Spencer Ogden – told Rigzone recently.

"Generally, the main thing that's ceased is deepwater drilling activity purely for the reason of cost. If you think about it from a cost perspective, companies right now are trying to reduce that. A lot of organizations are finding it very hard just to break even. It costs more money for them to drill and produce oil than they can sell it for."

Mazalov said that a lot of deepwater projects need more than $90 per barrel in order to break even, which means many companies that have invested in such projects "are hurting".

"There are companies that are right now scrambling around to find out what their hottest assets are that are actually making them money and investing more time into those," he said.

"Unfortunately, what that causes from a recruitment perspective is that they have had a lot of staff sitting there twiddling their thumbs and so they are now moving those staff to the operations where they are needed.”


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A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at


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