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Mitigating the challenge of resourcing talent in digital oil and gas

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Oilfield Technology,

Candice Ragnes, E&P Consulting, Houston, US, reports on resourcing talent in digital oil and gas, and why the industry has been slow to fully embrace the digital oilfield space.

Mitigating the challenge of resourcing talent in digital oil and gas

Gorodenkoff /

Over the years, digitalisation of the oil and gas sector has delivered overwhelming benefits and value for organisations across many areas of the business. From more streamlined processes and cost efficiencies, to overcoming challenging problems and realising new opportunities, digital technologies are now integral to company operations within the oil and gas arena.

Despite the obvious benefits, many organisations within the sector have been slow to fully implement the transformation and technical advancements needed to fully enter the digital oilfield space. This could be due to cost implications, the shift in oil prices, a lack of digital talent in the sector, or even time constraints.

For some organisations, the digital field will be an entirely new arena. When resourcing for digital professionals, identifying the required skills will be an interesting and exciting road to explore - but it can also be a challenging task.

Digital transformation strategies need to consider the flexibility and scalability needs of the company. To achieve long-term scalability, it is important for oil and gas companies to identify what digital resources are required and what level of investment is needed to accommodate current and future digital ambitions. For those that are new to digitalisation, this is not always straightforward or easy to do.

Organisations typically start with trying to train existing personnel to provide the non-traditional skills required to successfully morph into an entirely digital organisation. However, resourcing the right talent in digital oil and gas requires an understanding of what is important to the organisation, as well as identifying the benefits of investing in digital resourcing.

As oil and gas begins to realise value from the Agile principles and DevOps practices, one area that has lagged in many organisations is a resourcing and skills strategy that supports these key ways of working. As part of the digital transformation process, it is essential to include the Agile/DevOps approach.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business operations and workforce behaviour has undoubtedly put a spotlight on this. The way we work has changed, and in today’s world, it is paramount to consider supporting a remote workforce concept to guarantee flexible and continuous service in response to the new working environment.

The need to hire the right talent to support digital maturity in the industry has also changed the way that oil and gas organisations recruit. The pandemic has necessitated a heavy reliance on virtual interviewing, with most organisations now adopting remote operation services.

Whilst virtual recruitment has its challenges, it has also allowed organisations to reduce overall costs, promote scalability and flexibility in how people work, and deploy resources on a shorter time scale. Increased remote working and access to online video platforms has also created opportunities for companies to recruit from previously unconsidered talent pools that are no longer constrained by the normal geographic boundaries.

As a result of the pandemic, there has also been a shift towards remote oilfield operations across all business areas and units. This has highlighted a need to better understand the agility required when sourcing digital oil and gas talent. It isn’t practical, nor considered safe, for all personnel to be based in one centralised location. More organisations are also now moving towards hybrid working models.

With increased remote working and changes happening across all operations, it has also become vitally important to review business continuity and digital security practices to ensure data can be managed, stored, and shared securely. This demands more resilient and safer digital platforms, including migrating from legacy systems to cloud infrastructure. It also requires a clear understanding of the oil and gas sector and how organisations operate within it.

Proficiency in digital transformation can be achieved by hiring experts who have strong technical knowledge in the digital field. Additionally, involving professional firms like E&P in the resourcing process will provide access to digital experts who are also able to speak the language of the oil and gas sector and hit the ground running. This will save valuable time and ensure that consultants and internal full-time employees can work together more effectively.

To drive profitable growth, the oil and gas sector must continue to promote change and transformation in the digital space across all business areas, as well as consider new ways of working and resourcing. This may mean moving to cloud-based platforms and using emerging technology. It may also mean investing in relevant digital resource to rapidly upscale operations and access specialist domain expertise to take advantage of new opportunities.

With capabilities in digital technologies supporting the full oil and gas value chain, E&P is leading the way in the provision of digital domain expertise to ensure oil and gas organisations get this right and repeatedly realise clear value from their digital transformation strategies.

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