While the oil and gas industry is suffering from a major downturn with record low oil prices, there are still interesting opportunities in career development sector, especially in countries like India, where the qualified engineering work force is more than ever in need to promote its expertise and improve its reach globally. This is, for example, the strategy of the Oil and Gas Profile (www.oagprofile.com), a new online start up launched by French entrepreneur Armand Pasteur, who is also the founder of the Altea Group, explains Saikat Ghosh, digital strategist at Oil and Gas Profile.
Oil and gas in India, sizing the market
India is the 4th largest energy consumer in the world, and imports most of its oil and gas. India’s primary energy mix is dominated by fossil fuels: coal remains the biggest source of energy (54.5%), followed by oil (29.5%) and natural gas (7.8%). Hydroelectricity, renewable and nuclear energy contribute smaller portions (8.3%).
Dependant on oil imports
The oil and gas industry in India started in the late 19th century, when oil was first struck in Assam in 1889. After the Independence, oil exploration and production activities have continued and were largely confined to the North-Eastern region. With the exploitation of the Kambath offshore basin and the Bombay offshore basin during the 50s and 70s, the domestic oil production increased considerably. As a result, in the early 70s, almost 70% of the country’s oil requirement was met domestically. However, since the end 1980s, domestic production remains stagnant, hampered by limited exploration and declining production from existing maturing fields
But the continuous economic growth, over 6% since 2003, is closely related to energy demand; as the need for oil and gas has continued to grow, India imports currently around 76% of its oil consumption.
A core industry in India
And still the oil and gas industry is chugging ahead. It is one of the 6 core Indian industries. Even if the country is not a big producer, India has surplus refining capacity and is a net exporter of petroleum products. Over the past few years, many companies — private and national oil companies (NOCs) — have expanded their refining capacities, driven by the rising domestic consumption of petroleum products and incentives granted by the Government of India. Currently, the bulk of petroleum products of public sector undertaking refineries are sold in the domestic market, while private companies mainly cater to export demand. Add to it the large number of talented engineers that India is known for, with petroleum and chemical engineering being no stranger to the likes of IITs and University of Petroleum Engineers.
Moreover, the current low oil price scenario is an opportunity for India, as refineries are operating at full capacities. It looks like the right moment to introduce a new actor on the market, isn’t it ?
Oil and Gas Profile, taking on the Indian challenge
A new actor for oil & gas human resources
Not just a professional network or job site specialized in oil and gas, Oil and Gas Profile aims to become the unique network for certified oil and gas professionals in the world.
On Oil and Gas Profile, candidates don’t just register their profile in their specific field. Their experience has to be certified: this is a new paradigm in the sector: “Today, all information provided by candidates on their work history is simply based on self-declaration, which makes it challenging for recruiters to trust this information. On Oil and Gas Profile, all professionals have their work experience certified by their eligible network. In doing this, we aim at bringing back confidence at the heart of recruiting » explains Saikat Ghosh, in charge of the digital strategy at Oil and Gas Profile.
And that’s how the start-up aims to convince the oil and gas main actors worldwide. “We harp on the first network of certified professionals, as also our intelligent algorithm, which behind the scenes gives varying badge levels to members depending on their certifier’s industry credibility, the skill level of the member and other factors. Companies can even get their prospective employees to go through the certification process we offer to get a sense of confidence about them. For recruiters, we call it stress free access to trusted expertise.”
Trusted professionals in a high risk environment
Oil companies are said to loose around $600 – $800 Mn per year due to unqualified profiles or overstated resumes. The problem is further accentuated in safety related areas in oil and gas which is critical. Lapses of judgement have caused big safety disasters like the BP Deepwater horizon breakdown in the Gulf of Mexico. “Our experience on the oil and gas industry over the last 8 years shows that the inability to verify candidates’ skills and experience, more so in remote oil locations, leads to huge recruitment and operational issues. The present scenario of rock bottom prices does not allow for margin pressures on account of avoidable errors. It is here that we want to bring in value in today’s day. Every practitioner who can get his present and past experience and skills certified gives a degree of credibility to his work history. This will provide ready trusted expertise to the companies in turn” explains Saikat.
A tool to improve candidates’ market exposure
Candidates can market themselves better, as also get access to recruiters the world over without any boundaries of country or middle men. The availability of skilled personnel of a particular kind is generally very spread over the world, and hence people in countries not very exposed to oil & gas stand to gain by opportunities worldwide. Also, the OAG certification badge level gained by them is a direct indicator of their credibility in the industry, which considerably improves their visibility in front of oil and gas recruiters.
India, a new destination for oil and gas professionals ?
Many talented professionals, the Indian advantage
If Oil and Gas Profile has the world as a target, India has a specific place in the strategy of Oil and Gas Profile… and not even because Saikat is Indian.
“India has one of the highest population of engineers in the world, even in petroleum, but the lack of oil and gas projects is a big hindrance for them to get their talents noticed and career progression done.. With the immense educational quality it has, India is the most likely place to provide loads of talented people: University of Petroleum Engineers, or IITs for example are immense sources of talent. At the same time, many international companies are looking to enter the Indian market and the country is opening up exploration and manufacturing to the private sector. Thus, the win win for both to have readily verified talents and jobs. »
Interesting opportunities in the sector
If today, Indian oil and gas companies are focusing mainly on refining and downstream activities, gas exploration and piping is also a great place of demand. Indian gas reserves are being found often and power plants running on clean energy is leading to a good demand for geologists and engineers in such fields. Traditional drilling personnel can find access to jobs abroad and get their skills certified.
An attractive country for candidates?
Right now Oil and Gas Profile is reaching out to all potential users and talents in India. Biggest companies like Reliance Industries, ONGC, OIL with people based in India are the main targets for members. A critical mass of people in the sector is needed for us to promote them.
Low price oil, sustainability and environmental concerns: challenges or new opportunities?
It is true that with the decline in oil prices, recruitment has come down, but the search is for the right talent. Also amongst the professionals, with many of them jobless, there are scores of people who want the right channel to project themselves, as also to be exposed to the right projects.
And there are still big projects. Gas is considered clean as opposed to oil. Though it is the price that clearly will drive the projects, environmental concerns and the importance to keep safety paramount will also majorly determine future investments. In this context, Oil and Gas profile brings in the right marketplace for both sides, the candidates and the companies
In today’s fast changing scenario, India will definitely be an important lever for Oil and Gas Profile with the large talent pool and opportunities the country has.