Region's oil and gas employers still need facility asset pros, consultant tells Rigzone.
Like other regions with a significant oil and gas industry presence, the Middle East has witnessed its share of headcount reductions in recent years. Nevertheless, one can still find robust pockets of oil and gas employment opportunities in the region, according to a UK-based energy consultancy.
"Despite many oil and gas professionals being out of work, there is a shortage of skills in the areas of facility asset professionals with operational experience," said Martin Larsen, managing director of EPConsult Energies.
He pointed out the demand for experienced facility operations specialists reflects the overall mood of oil and gas players in the region.
"With a more stable yet continuous low oil price and much uncertainty, there is minimal appetite for a significant volume of new development projects," said Larsen.
Given the disincentives for new projects, oil and gas companies in the Middle East remain focused on more predictable activities, he noted. Stable production, some brownfield developments and minimal operating expenditures from existing assets are commanding much of the companies' attention nowadays, he explained.
"The need for strong experience in cutting operating expenses, optimizing asset integrity, improving asset performance monitoring and implementing strong justified life extension solutions, are important services that also require implementation," added Larsen.
The drive to enhance the performance of existing assets is also creating opportunities to deploy digital technologies, but maximizing their benefits can be a challenge, said Larsen.
"Many digital solutions are entering the market with the goal of providing efficient digital solutions for oilfield production management and asset integrity management," he said. "However, many of these lack the practical understanding from field engineers, producers and operators."
Another Middle East Energy Trend
Motorists in Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and United Arab Emirates have long benefited from generous fossil fuel subsidies. This chart from GlobalPetrolPrices.com illustrates pump prices in these countries compared to other parts of the world.
Thanks to decreasing oil and gas revenues, governments in the region are shifting a greater share of energy costs to end users.
"Perhaps the most dramatic emerging trend is removing subsidies" and introducing more market-competitive pricing of fossil fuels across the Middle East, Iman Nasseri, senior consultant with Facts Global Energy (FGE) and acting manager of FGE's Tehran branch, told Rigzone.
The "breakeven" oil price is less important in the Middle East compared to the advanced economies, continued Nasseri. "'Budgets' are typically defined to meet the expected oil revenue and many items on the approved budgets in Middle East economies are unnecessary items – that is, waste – which could be cut without any detrimental impact should the oil revenue fall short of the expected revenue," he said.
Pointing out that governments in the region have implemented energy subsidy cuts with a certain degree of caution, Nasseri said the response from consumers has not been dramatic.
"So far, the impact has been marginal as the order of subsidies were significant and governments are taking them away gradually," he said. "At the same time some of the wasteful consumption behaviors are not as price-elastic as rational consuming behavior in developed economies."
Rigzone's Ideal Employer Survey has tabulated a list of readers' favorite oil and gas employers in the Middle East. Check out the table below to learn which operating and service companies made the cut.
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