Expert Q&A: Oil & Gas Outlook 2018

The Oil & Gas industry and its future is a hot topic across the globe right now. We sat down with Matthew Haswell, Director of Oil & Gas at Samuel Knight, to find out his thoughts in an Expert Q&A session:


 

There is lots of talk of a resurgence in the Oil & Gas industry, is that something that you’d agree with and how has the industry changed?


Indeed! However these are slow steps and it could take a little longer for oil and gas companies to regain their full confidence. ‘Cautious optimism’ could be the most appropriate term currently. The signs are positive and there is a renewed confidence going into 2018 that we’ve not seen for a while. There has been significant restructuring and rebalancing of finances to create a more sustainable industry for the years to come. Cost cutting has become an essential part of oil and gas organisations which consequently has enabled the cost of producing oil to come down. For example, production costs in the North Sea have come down to around $15 a barrel from a peak of over $30 in 2014.

With the rise of US shale Oil, there has definitely been some sort of shift in the balance of power. How do you think this has affected OPEC and how do you see it continuing to change things in the future?


OPEC is facing a fight for survival in some ways as the U.S., once its biggest customer, unleashes record supplies of shale oil. So OPEC is again deploying its most trusted tool: cutting output to push up prices. But whether such tactics can still succeed is unclear.

The group’s struggle to push prices much higher in 2017 only reinforces the view that OPEC lacks the control over the market that it had in the past. There are even signs that the cartel’s strategy is backfiring, as any gains in price spur shale explorers to drill more.

What are some of the key trends you expect us to see as 2018 progresses (and possibly beyond)?


Hiring has been muted in recent years, however now that confidence is returning in the market, hiring will become central to this revival. The volume of hiring may not be as high as the boom year’s pre-downturn, however it will be a quality over quantity exercise and key strategic hires will be made as organisations look to position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities that this rebounding market provides. Since the downturn, candidates have moved out of the sector and many have even taken earlier retirement. This has created significant talent shortages which will become increasingly evident.

How has Samuel Knight adapted to the changing conditions and how are you approaching the market in the current climate?


Samuel Knight has kept in close touch with the talent industry trends over the past few years and has aligned with a new talent pool of candidates who have emerged during this period. Indeed, ‘passively’ looking candidates have become ‘actively’ looking candidates and it has been imperative that Samuel Knight look to identify and represent this new talent pool. Samuel Knight conduct regular client and candidate surveys and it is evident that while some oil and gas companies are not hiring currently, O&G companies are looking to engage in hiring practices over the coming 3-6 months, whether project or more strategic corporate related.

What are Samuel Knight Oil & Gas’s capabilities in this area? How can you assist clients and candidates?


With offices and local partners across 4 continents Samuel Knight International offer global employment solutions. Our Oil & Gas team comprises specialist consultants focused on contract and permanent Oil and Gas vacancies within the Upstream (offshore, subsea and exploration), Midstream (storage, transmission and distribution) and Downstream (refinery, petrochemical & chemical processing). We have close partnerships with leading operators, EPCs and service companies globally. We are keen to hear from clients interested in our services and candidates looking for their next opportunity.

 

If you're looking for your next Oil & Gas opportunity or interested in finding out more about the services we offer head to https://samuel-knight.com/. Upload your CV here or check out our latest Oil & Gas jobs. Alternatively, give us a call on +44 (0) 191 481 3620.

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