Covid Downturn Slashes Oz Oil Workforce

Covid Downturn Slashes Oz Oil Workforce
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a loss of over 28,000 oil and gas jobs in Australia this year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a loss of over 28,000 oil and gas jobs in Australia this year.

That’s according to a new Rystad Energy analysis, which highlights that the figure is equivalent to a quarter of the country’s total oil and gas job count. Australian oil and gas jobs have dropped from just over 110,000 in 2019 to just over 82,000 currently, the energy research and intelligence company calculates.

The engineering and construction segments have been amongst the worst hit with over 8,000 job losses, representing nearly 29 percent of all industry job cuts this year, Rystad Energy outlined. Drilling is another of the worst affected segments, having seen more than 1,100 jobs face the axe in Australia, per Rystad Energy’s estimates.

Some lost jobs will be restored from 2021 onwards, Rystad Energy noted, but added that Australia’s oil and gas workforce will struggle to recover pre-pandemic levels for at least five years, if ever, as the energy transition increasingly alters the global energy mix.

The industry’s workforce is said to have been declining steadily even before the present downturn, shrinking by close to 24 percent in 2019 from what it was in 2014, when it stood at well over 140,000 jobs.

“In the future, the growth in labor demand will not only be driven by oil and gas projects that are under development, but also to a great extent by the infrastructure initiatives undertaken by the Australian government to bring gas prices down across the country,” Sumit Yadav, an energy service research analyst at Rystad Energy, said in a company statement.

Rystad Energy noted that the government is expected to focus the bulk of its efforts on the country’s east coast, where residents “need to shell out gas prices that are double international prices, as most of gas produced in the eastern region is exported”. To alleviate such price issues, Rystad Energy said the government is planning the Amadeus-to-Moomba gas pipeline worth over $1 billion. The Port Kembla LNG import terminal expansion and the Hunter Gas Pipeline will also likely lower gas prices and lift labor demand in the coming years, Rystad Energy noted.

As of November 18, there have been 55.3 million cases of Covid-19 globally, with 1.3 million deaths, according to the latest information from the World Health Organization (WHO). Australia has seen 27,756 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 907 deaths, as of November 18, WHO data shows.

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