PetroCubic Bridges the Gap Between E&P Firms, Industry Consultants
The freelance economy has taken industries by storm in recent years. Through web-based platforms, it matches employers offering temporary work with qualified talent. The approach of fulfilling employers’ short-term needs with contractors has become especially popular in the information technology and marketing sectors, but other industries have been slower to adapt to the emerging trend.
The oil and gas industry is one area that has remained relatively untouched by the freelance economy, but Vitaly Meyer and his colleagues at Houston-based PetroCubic saw an area of opportunity from which both experts and project owners could benefit.
“PetroCubic is the online platform where companies can find consultants, and consultants can find future projects,” said Meyer, Managing Director of PetroCubic, which serves the global exploration and production industry. “PetroCubic is an all-in-one solution for sourcing top talent. Our platform also manages transactions to protect the interests of both parties, so payments are easily made and received through our convenient system.”
Read on as Meyer and PetroCubic’s Marketing Director, Tatiana Sauter, outline how PetroCubic has added a new dimension to upstream talent management.
Rigzone: What inspired you to create the online platform?
Vitaly Meyer: Having years of experience in the oil and gas industry, we wondered what could be done better. We felt that people should be able to work in a way that’s convenient to them, because the traditional work week doesn’t always fit everyone’s schedule and desired lifestyle. In fact, HBR (Harvard Business Review) recently reported that 150 million workers in the U.S. and Western Europe are now working as independent contractors, and Intuit research projects 43 percent of the workforce will be made up by the freelance economy within two years.
At the same time, many companies struggle to accomplish specific projects because it can be difficult to locate the right skilled talent in a timely manner. The industry lacked a solution for connecting companies with experts who could lend their services on a temporary or as-needed basis.
Rigzone: How have PetroCubic’s founders tailored the platform for the upstream oil and gas industry’s specific needs?
Meyer: Our founders worked primarily in large independent oil and gas companies over the last 15 years, so this idea developed based on a need we identified. When we started to investigate this concept, we discovered that other industries had been implementing it with great success for quite some time.
Our initial idea was two-fold: give people the ability to work remotely, and help companies execute projects more efficiently. The latter is similar to other industries, but to fulfill the former we had to develop something unique for oil and gas. We called it PetroCubic WorkSpaces.
Quite often, it is near impossible for even the most capable and talented experts to work on a project without access to special software. We solved this problem by partnering with software vendors to provide remote workspaces with various types of professional software available on a pay-as-you-go model.
Rigzone: Why do you think the upstream oil and gas industry has been slow to adopt the freelancing method of finding talent?
Sauter: It’s a good question. I think there might be a few reasons at play.
Oil and gas is a very conservative industry that has heavily relied on personal connections and networking, but we must adapt to changes brought on by the digital age on all fronts of the business. For instance, while other companies quickly adjusted to low oil prices by optimizing capital and operational costs, the industry as a whole is still in the process of adapting to the constant price volatility.
From a people management standpoint, the dilemma of addressing short-term project needs while still being flexible with the headcount and administrative cost structure has remained at large for oil and gas companies. Our goal is to help oil and gas companies pick candidates from more condensed talent pools, which will result in significant time and cost savings. Companies can therefore consolidate their resources to find the talent they need.
Last but not least, the reason why the industry has struggled to adopt the freelance economy is the absence of easy and flexible access to industry software for the consultants to use while performing work. We took care of it when we developed PetroCubic WorkSpaces.
Rigzone: Looking ahead, how disruptive do you think that taking the freelance approach will be in sourcing oil and gas talent?
Meyer: Realistically speaking, we do not expect the industry to change overnight. At the same time, the remote workforce and freelance economy are modern trends and every industry should take full advantage of the opportunities they present.
We believe our platform will improve the hiring efficiency and accessibility to the pool of independent petroleum experts while saving time and reducing costs for the companies.
As for consultants, we let them focus on their primary work without spending too much time on marketing themselves. Oil and gas consultants mostly are technical folks. The two parties simply need an effective and targeted way of establishing a mutually beneficial connection.
Ultimately, we hope to remove market inefficiencies by combining easy access to global talent pool and remote work ability including using the professional software, to grow the entire oil and gas consulting market to benefit all parties involved.