The oil & gas industry continues to be the main provider of the world's energy demand, and it is believed it will maintain this role in the foreseen future. The world energy consumption is expected to keep growing in the future with an anticipated increase of 51% by 2040 compared to 2010. More than 50% of the world's energy demand during this period will continue to be supplied by the oil & gas industry (US EIA, 2013). This large increase in energy demand represents a major challenge for the oil & gas industry, as it should be met with more petroleum liquids and natural gas production.
Another rising challenge is the fact that the easy oil era has passed and the industry must now rely more heavily on unconventional resources to supply needed energy. Unconventional resources are not only challenging in their development, but also uncertainties involved with their reserves and production rates are much higher than conventional resources. In addition, the industry is experiencing shortages in the workforce due to its large expansions. The shortage will be accompanied with a greater need of higher technical capability workforce, as the industry will increasingly be dealing with unconventional resources in the future.
These challenges put more responsibility on the oil & gas companies, academia, non-profit organizations like SPE, and government agencies to join forces and set effective strategies to be prepared for the future and meet the world's energy demand. Addressing these challenges requires stronger programs to prepare and attract talented professionals to be the industry's future innovators and leaders. These professionals will bring the new technology breakthroughs necessary to make our unconventional resources today become tomorrow's conventional resources.
To achieve this key goal of equipping the industry with such talent, new and effective strategies should be implemented to attract and develop next generation, young, and senior professionals. This paper proposes four strategies to the oil & gas industry to help address the need for talent. The first strategy focuses on young talent attraction. We need to ensure that we have talented students at a young age, high school or younger, who are attracted to the industry and plan to join its talent pool in the near future. The second strategy aims at enhancing the preparation of petroleum engineering students. These students are tomorrow's young professionals and they need effective programs to be better prepared for the industry experience.
For the third strategy, we should promote innovation more aggressively with greater focus on young professionals. An innovation culture needs to be available at the work place, which requires knowledge, support, and reward. In addition, the oil & gas industry talent pool needs to be strengthened in different areas. Strengthening the talent pool cannot be merely limited to increasing the number of professionals; it must include other factors, such as fulfilling the manpower needs in all the technical areas and enhancing the technical quality of professionals.