Energy industry outlook: Looking upstream

July 8, 2018

When gasoline prices rise at the pump, it usually means new job openings are being posted in the oil and gas industry. Today, oil prices are rising and jobs are being posted, but at a more modest pace than before.

However, all signs are positive that the oil and gas industry is rebounding. When it comes to hiring, the word on the street is that companies are cautiously optimistic.

“With the (recent) rise of crude prices, we have seen an upsurge in hiring activities in the upstream sector, but not at the numbers we have seen in the past at these rates,” said Elizabeth Thomas, president of Employment Today LLC, which provides HR services in talent acquisition, attraction and talent management.

Companies are also reporting a shortage of talent, for in the last few years as the energy industry fluctuated, many people retired or had to enter other business sectors.

“The hiring activity at this time can be found in most of the technical engineering areas/field, such as petroleum, mechanical, operations, safety, drilling, process, as well as field service operation positions,” Thomas said.

Moreover, checking the websites of Houston’s upstream oil companies, there are new projects being awarded almost daily — which usually means new job postings are on the way. These companies are also busy with new technologies, restructuring their portfolios for future success, and there are some mergers. So, it may be a few months before it’s determined how these companies will move forward with the upswing of oil prices and the full extent new projects will have on the job market.

John J. Christmann IV, Apache’s chief executive officer and president, announced recently regarding the first quarter 2018 Financial and Operational Results, “During the first quarter, Apache delivered strong operational results and U.S. production significantly above guidance. Outperformance in the United States was driven by a combination of shorter completion cycle times, improving efficiencies and excellent performance from new wells.”

And even though Apache has many job openings on their website, with job listings for engineers, technical staff, analysts, and an array of other positions for the Houston office, they also have positions open in the Permian Basin/Midland, which has become a hot bed of activities and jobs.

“As investors throughout the energy value chain, with extensive holdings of both midstream and upstream assets in the Permian Basin, we have a firsthand understanding of the need for additional takeaway capacity to unlock the full growth potential of the Permian Basin,” said David Foley, CEO of Blackstone Energy Partners.

Schlumberger chairman and CEO Paal Kibsgaard said in a recent press release, “We remain optimistic about the outlook for sustainable activity growth in our global business over the course of 2018 and into 2019. Recent contract awards in Saudi Arabia, Middle East and Latin America, and new projects in the US Delaware Basin, are examples of this market trend.”