Oil and Gas Survey : 29th Survey : November 2018

Fraser of Allander Institute, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce; (2018) Oil and Gas Survey : 29th Survey : November 2018. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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Whilst the price of oil is driving a more positive sentiment across the industry, and this is once again being reflected in this latest survey, the results also highlight the importance of retaining our best people and ensuring that the next generation of talent has the right type of skills for the coming energy transition. Case studies from Apollo Engineering and Atlantic Offshore provide some great examples of best practice for attracting and retaining talent within the sector – an area that is really coming into focus for the industry right now. These examples show the value of building close links with schools and universities and investing in talent management and ‘on the job’ coaching, as well as formal and informal training and mentoring. In terms of business activity trends, oil prices remain elevated from the dip a few years ago, and so industry confidence is up, and companies are setting their sights on growth opportunities, with 58% of firms forecasting an increase in their profits in 2018. It is hugely positive to see business confidence amongst contractors improve on the already high levels witnessed over the past 2 years. Optimism for the future outlook of the sector is also high, with 63% of respondents forecasting a further increase in business confidence in the UK Continental Shelf. That said, we are still not seeing contractors working at full capacity, with only 44% of such companies reporting that they are working at or above optimum levels. However, this figure had dropped to just 12% in 2016, and we have seen it grow steadily with each subsequent survey, which is positive. There is clearly still some way to go to get back to peak levels of utilisation – 79% seen in spring 2013 – so whilst we see confidence in the sector returning, there is still some distance to travel before it will work its way through the system and activity levels increase across the board. It’s also important to recognise that the world is changing at an incredible pace. KPMG’s 2018 Global CEO Outlook found that despite the rapid speed of technology and innovation pressuring the industry, oil and gas CEOs see technological disruption as more of an opportunity than a threat. The Outlook also found that 58% of CEOs believe that AI and robotic technologies are likely to create more jobs in the sector and 93% expect there to be an industry wide increase in head count. This mirrors the findings in the Chamber’s Oil and Gas survey, which showed that a third of the respondents expect their total workforce to increase by more than 10% in 2019.