The Shift in the Canadian Oil and Gas Industry

by | June 28, 2018


By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

According to Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide, there is an ongoing shift in the business of Canadian oil and gas if the national industry wants to remain competitive.

A report released by PetroLMI of Energy Safety Canada described the need for new skills for the upcoming jobs in the international competition of the oil and gas industry. The future seems more inclined towards green energy and renewable ones.

Until then, “A Workforce in Transition: Oil and Gas Skills of the Future” talked about the shift in skills and occupations within the Canadian industrial work base in the energy sector.

Both federal and provincial governments have been proposing a series of changes to regulation with integration or adoption of the automation and data analytics technologies coming online.

When I worked in a Learning Analytics Research Group, the research remained based in education and the improvement in student performance. Some incorporated the new technology and software tools found in narrow artificial intelligence developed with machine learning and neural networks models.

Automation tied to these programs could improve various inefficiencies at different levels of process, of operations. Into the future, especially with the price and energy production performance of enewables outpacing standard hydrocarbon – or 20th century – energy sources, I would like to see these new technologies applied to make the full transition to renewables.

Even if nuclear, and if a breakdown, we would talk about half-lives of tens of thousands of years, which amounts to new forms of waste and pollution to people around the world only as far back as the 19th century.

There are new manufacturing technologies for oil and gas now, though. With the shifts in the extant economy here, the Vice President of Communications and PetroLMI for Energy Safety Canada, Carol Howes, stated, “This report examines where the exciting opportunities lie for new and interesting careers, and those occupations that will be on the decline, if not eliminated, because of these changes to the oil and gas business.”

I agree with Howes. However, the scope seems to narrow. The decline and potential elimination will be much of the oil and gas industry in the medium and long-term projections. People shifting into these new oil and gas jobs should predict the need to retrain and switch once more out of the oil and gas industry even if climate change is not a concern for them and only narrow economic self-interest is the concern, which is valid.

The jobs not associated with oil and gas will be more linked to the oil and gas industry in the near future.

As the reportage stated, “Occupations not traditionally considered oil and gas jobs will be more in demand – those such as data management and analytics specialists, instrumentation technologists and software engineers. Increasing numbers of natural science professionals and environmental service workers will also be required.”

There will be a dual-skillset necessary to compete in the global oil and gas industry. First, the need for mechanical skills and then also the digital skills associated with those new technologies and especially the analytics.

The article continued, “New government regulations governing major energy project approvals will require a greater need for expertise in Indigenous traditional knowledge, public health specialists, biologists and economic development specialists, says the report.”

All important and complex facets of the emergence of new transitional industries. The need for public support becomes more important as the risks become better known by a wider range of people, more citizens.

Wth the climate strategy from the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, there will be work for the reduction of carbon dioxide and methane emissions. That will translate into needed jobs for the ”

Meanwhile, communications and consulting abilities will be heavily relied on to earn and maintain public support for these projects “measurement, mitigation and reporting” about them.

There will be the incremnetal increase of photovoltaic, wind, geothermal, and other energy technologies as the economies of the developed world especially and the rest of the world eventually transition into renewable energy markets.

“The adoption of automation and data analytics technologies is already improving Canada’s oil and gas industry’s productivity, safety and profitability,” the article stated, “As a greater number of tasks are automated, however, more of the workforce will need to be digitally literate as well as more innovative and creative in looking for productivity improvements.”

With more analytics in the market, rhe more data scientists will be needed. In that, we should be training these individuals in increasing numbers, now, especially in oil and gas powerhouses such as the province of Alberta.

At the same time, we should start to work on the training for the upcoming and ongoing employment of alternative energy sources in the newer economies and industries of, for example, renewable resources.

Howe concluded, “With all of this change comes both challenges and exciting opportunities for Canadians working in the oil and gas industry and for those who are looking to become part of it,” said Howes, “Like other industries, the oil and gas industry is adapting and evolving and its workforce will need to do so also.”

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:

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Image Credit: Pixabay.

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