SA Mines and Energy Journal : October - November 2013
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013 SA MINES & ENERGY JOURNAL WORKFORCE 30 There is no doubt it is an exciting time for South Australia's oil and gas industry. Experts say there is the potential for a US-style shale oil and gas revolution and companies are rushing to the outback in search of lucrative oil. In August this year it was reported that Senex Energy will accelerate exploration for oil and gas across almost 10,000 square kilometres of the Cooper-Eromanga Basin after the State Government reached a subject area agreement with the Brisbane-based company. Premier Jay Weatherill described the agreement as a significant step toward the company increasing investment in the State's far north, joining Santos, Beach Energy, Chevron, BP, Statoil, Northern Petroleum and others in strengthening their commitments to South Australia's oil and gas industry. Such activity has the potential to be extremely lucrative for South Australia's economy. As things ramp up, so does the need for a skilled workforce that can support industry and government goals and objectives. Mark Gorringe, General Manager of South Australian-based national training organisation Training Prospects, says that the energy industry could experience a massive skills shortage of 30,000 jobs over the next five years. "We currently train about 550 workers in Australia, including 300 in South Australia, with numbers expected to expand considerably in the next 12 months, " he says. "Ten years ago the Australian energy sector workforce was made up of about 2000 employees. Today it is 20,000. " Training Prospects has worked with the State's oil and gas industry for the past seven years --predominantly with Saxon Energy Services and Ensign International Energy Ser vices -- and has seen the industry's rapid growth first hand. "Our focus is on working with the oil and gas companies Australia-wide to provide skills to drilling staff to ensure they operate in an extremely safe and competent manner, while increasing productivity to the organisation they are employed by, " Mr Gorringe says. "However, equally important is the need to focus on making sure the workers are adequately prepared for life on an oil and gas rig before they step foot on one. "We have developed pre- employment programs with our oil and gas clients to ascertain the suitability of recruits for life on an oil and gas rig, with the longer term objective of reducing attrition rates for new entrants. " The pre-employment program provides people interested in working in the industry with practical, hands-on experience, simulating working conditions on an oil and gas rig before taking the next step in their career. Mr Gorringe says that a strong focus on workplace safety and recent legal changes has made sound safety practices an essential part of an effective industry workforce now and into the future. "These changes require anyone operating an oil and gas rig--fromaleasehandtoarig manager -- to hold nationally accredited qualifications, " he says. "The changes have increased safety requirements and have been welcomed by oil and gas companies and their employees. " Janice Hoad is Communications Manager for the Ser vice for Youth Council Wanted! Oil and gas workers Janice Hoad looks at the expected increase in demand for skilled workers as South Australia's oil and gas industry grows.
August - September 2013
December - January 2013-14