Predictions for the offshore industry in 2018

With yet more changes afoot Lee Clarke at Dynama takes a look at the year ahead and the type of WFM technology required to maximise opportunities

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer gave the North Sea oil and gas sector a much needed boast in his budget at the end of 2017. New oilfield owners can now offset decommissioning costs of old infrastructure against taxes that were paid while fields were in production. This change should attract new investment into the area, extend the life of mature fields and unlock remaining oil and gas reserves.

On the other hand a slump in oil prices claimed 350,000 jobs and 71 bankruptcies in 2016 alone (i). This has led to large-scale decommissioning with plans to remove more than 100 platforms and plug upwards of 1,800 wells in the UK and Norway’s share of the North Sea over the next decade.

However, the future looks optimistic because of the Chancellor’s budget and as the result of US$6billion of mergers and acquisitions which took place in the UK in the first half of 2017. It appears that even before the latest announcements investors were rewarding North Sea operators for re-inventing themselves through corporate streamlining and finding new ways of reducing operating costs and the cost of lifting oil and gas.

New dynamics affect the industry

Worldwide factors such as these are affecting the offshore industry as a whole. It is a volatile and cyclical industry and to further complicate matters the renewable energy production sector is on the rise, as traditional resources such as oil and gas decline. This new sector is largely unchartered territory and, albeit a real business opportunity, it raises important questions about the type of people and equipment required to ensure the success of the industry.

There are several reasons the offshore industry has always needed to keep one step ahead including:

• Client projects are often large, complex and global with fast-changing schedules
• The workforce bringing these projects to fruition is geographically dispersed and frequent travellers
• Staff operate under different employment laws or union agreements; their skill sets are in high demand but in short supply and they all need to be paid promptly
• The vessels crew work on are very varied, from ships, oilrigs, fabrication yards to ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) and deep water diving tanks.

Use technology to turn challenges into opportunity
With so many challenges, old and new, during 2018 it will become important to work even harder on improving efficiencies and squeezing the most out of technology. Fortunately, the latest automated Workforce Management (WFM) solutions are designed to help organisations create a flexible workforce and adaptable resource optimisation framework whatever external or internal opportunities or challenges knock on the door.

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