How can a multi-trillion dollar industry experience a skills gap?”


Imagine a world without energy…
… Imagine a world without the people to harness that energy – the talent to FIND – PRODUCE – REFINE our energy. A world with no iPhone, no vehicles being made or powered, no plastic cup to drink from, no plastic to make that pen, no power to supply the screen you’re reading this on…

Oil and gas – amongst other natural resources – make up one of the world’s largest commodities. This multi-trillion dollar global industry provides many of the things we take for granted. Our series of blogs will provide an insight into this global industry and take you through a journey. We’ll cover: “What is oil and gas?” (how do we FIND it, how do we PRODUCE it and how do we REFINE it), “Who works in this industry?” (we’ll break this down by functions and disciplines and prove it’s not all about OFFSHORE workers), but ultimately we want to show you how to make decisions now for entering the industry in the future.

Right now, the Energy industry is enduring a ‘skills gap’ and this skills gap, exists due to a combination of several factors but can be strongly linked to the fact that the industry revolves around the price of a barrel of oil and the influencing factors around this price tend to dictate the whole industries’ success.

For Operators and their supply chain to be profitable, the price of a barrel of oil generally has to be over $100, however it is currently sitting around $45/per barrel and that has an adverse effect on the industry as it means the cost of getting oil out of the ground is more than the operators can sell it for. Over a sustained period, a poor oil price may lead to companies cutting costs and ultimately this sometimes leads to people leaving the industry; and with that – talent. We’re calling on you to fill this gap, we need people to FIND, PRODUCE and REFINE our vital resources; not just within the North Sea but globally!

Having the safety certification in order to get offshore, doesn’t guarantee a place in the industry. Nowadays, practice makes perfect; the more experience you have – the more diverse that experience – the more avenues will open. This is a vast industry that has several routes to entry but also has several runs within it and diversity is certainly something it offers. Let us break it down into FIND, PRODUCE and REFINE and go through some of the functions within these stages of industry.


In order to know where to drill, a group of specialists work onshore in an office to identify drilling targets; generally this group is comprised of people with a Subsurface or Geoscience skill set. Largely working in core groups consisting of a Geologist, Geophysicist, Reservoir Engineer and Petrophysicist, they will work to review maps, seismic data, well log data etc and compile this and present it to the drilling team. They will then work with the drilling team (Drilling Engineers, Production Engineers) to identify the best way to drill the well and they will also conduct well planning and well design. This process can last years at a time.


Once the well has been drilled, the oil or gas needs to come up from the reservoir. This is where the production team come in this team usually consists of a Production Engineer, Production Technologist, Operations Engineer and Production Supervisor (offshore). They will use water or gas in a series of different processes to extract the oil from the reservoir via the annulus of the drill string towards the platform or FPSO (Floating Production Storage Offloading) unit and then the oil will either be pumped from the platform through the pipeline to reach the shore or it will be collected by the FPSO and then transported via this vessel to its destination


In order to become a useful commodity, this oil or gas needs to be refined, and this phase is often referred to as midstream or downstream depending on the end product. Refineries utilise various processing methods of heating, cooling, filtration and the addition of various chemicals to produce a range of products that could produce heating for your home, electricity to power your gadgets, plastics to make your gadgets, oil, petrol and lubricants for vehicles, tar for those vehicles to drive on, the list goes on…

Now that you’ve been introduced to the oil and gas industry, our next blog will cover what it takes to make it into the industry and how YOU could play a part in its continued success. Over the series of blogs we’ll help you identify how deciding key subjects now and paying attention to further education can help you obtain a role in this vast industry and ultimately the rewards available. These are just our ideas; we’d like to offer you the opportunity to take as much from these blogs, so we’d like to open the floor to your topic suggestions in our future series of discussions…