Worried ​Canada presses U.S. over ‘Buy America’ steel plan: This week’s oil and gas jobs news

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland. Image: Flickr/Center for American Progress

Here is a list of human resources highlights as appeared in the Daily Oil Bulletin for the week ending March 24, 2017:

Service and supply companies finding ways to thrive in ‘new normal’

With activity expected to experience an uptick if crude oil prices remain relatively firm, there is increased focus on employee training and hiring practices, and on creating the right workforce for the new normal, according to respondents of the Grant Thornton-sponsored JWN Service & Supply 2017 Outlook Report.

Many companies are engaged in long-term planning for how to attract and retain new talent, aiming to be less reactive and more stable going forward, and finding ways to build company loyalty.

The cyclical nature of the business also puts succession planning and mentorship increasingly in the spotlight.

One company is focused on retooling and cross training its staff, and “rebuilding its bench strength” as it looks forward to 2017. It is also exploring the option of building a technology platform to make it easier to connect contractors, vendors and customers.

Kenny wins Alberta PC leadership race; merger on table for rightist parties

A candidate with plans to merge Alberta's splintered right-leaning factions has won the leadership of the province's Progressive Conservatives, heralding a political shift in Canada's oil heartland.

The merger plan by former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney has a high chance of going through as the other right-leaning faction, the Wildrose Party, supports the idea. But Kenney may not get to shepherd the merged conservative party, as Brian Jean, Opposition Leader and the head of the larger Wildrose, has said he would vie for the new leadership. Terms of the merger are also unclear and subject to talks.

Saturn board appointments

Saturn Oil + Gas Inc. announced that it has appointed John Jeffrey and Scott Newman to its board of directors.

Appointed as Saturn’s chief executive officer in November 2016, Jeffrey is a University of Saskatchewan graduate with a degree in economics and a MBA majoring in finance. His experience as the area finance manager for a Fortune 200 engineering consulting firm gives him a strong background in operations and finance that has allowed him to successfully execute large international engineering and environmental projects, the company said.

Newman is currently a director of Vela Resources Corp., a privately held helium exploration and development company based in Saskatchewan. He was appointed as Saturn’s chief operating officer in November 2016.

Worried Canada presses U.S. over ‘Buy America’ steel plan

The Government of Canada, under pressure from domestic steel firms, is expressing concern to U.S. officials about a proposed Buy America policy that could cause heavy Canadian job losses.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland raised the issue with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in their first conversation on March 9 and underscored worries about potential job losses, said a source familiar with the matter.

A statement issued after the meeting merely said that Freeland had highlighted “the mutual benefits of the integrated Canada-U.S. steel industry,” but made no mention of the conversation about job losses.

Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach replaces CEO

Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach has replaced chief executive Amine Mazouzi after less than two years in the job with Abdelmoumen Ould Kadour, said Energy Minister Noureddine Boutarfa.

The surprise decision comes at a sensitive time for Sonatrach and Algeria, which began to increase oil and gas production last year after a prolonged period of stagnation and a lack of major foreign investment.

Co-op Refinery union rejects offer

Co-op Refinery Complex workers have voted to reject the company’s “final” offer after pay and pension negotiations with management broke down and they could go on strike at the end of March.

The 130,000 bbl/d Regina refinery is a wholly owned subsidiary of Federated Co-operatives Ltd. and has about 800 unionized employees represented by Unifor.

According to Gil Le Dressay, vice-president of operations at the complex, management went to the table with a fair offer intended to protect current employees' wages and benefits while at the same time ensuring the long-term success of the refinery.

Enbridge to cut 1,000 positions after buying Spectra

Enbridge Inc. says it will cut about 1,000 positions, or six per cent of its workforce, after buying Spectra Energy Corp. of Houston—the first layoffs since the deal. It is relatively common for layoffs to occur in mergers.

The takeover announced last year, the most significant energy deal since oil and natural gas prices crashed in mid-2014, had highlighted how pipeline companies were under pressure to merge as they grappled with overcapacity and sliding tariffs that had slowed dividend growth and unnerved investors.

PetroChina’s head of crude oil trading resigns, replaced by deputy

The head of crude oil trading at Chinese state energy giant PetroChina has resigned after 20 years with the company, a rare departure from a state-owned enterprise known for retaining talent in the midst of rapid expansion.

Li Chuang, head of the crude oil department at PetroChina’s trading vehicle Chinaoil, resigned in February, having spent the last two years leading a global team of nearly 50 crude oil traders and marketers.

Chinaoil has chosen as Li's replacement Zhang Peng, a deputy general manager in the same department at Chinaoil who is experienced in derivatives and risk management, said two senior trading sources based in Beijing.

Calgarian Jane Tink elected APEGA president

The head of a Calgary oil and gas engineering consulting firm has been elected president of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA).

Jane Tink, president of Consult Tink Inc., will become APEGA’s 98th president at the 2017 annual general meeting on April 28 in Calgary. Her firm provides contract engineering to clients domestically and internationally. She estimates reserves, resources, and future net income for various financial institutions and exchanges worldwide.

APEGA will also welcome re-elected council members George Eynon, and Darren Hardy, as well as newly-elected council members RaeAnne Leach, Jason Vanderzwaag and Emily Zhang.

New board appointment for Tamarack

Tamarack Valley Energy Ltd. has named Ian Currie to its board of directors. A professional engineer with 30 years of oil and gas experience, Currie is president and CEO of Spur Petroleum Ltd., a privately-held oil and gas exploration and production company.

He previously served as president and CEO of Spur Resources Ltd. from 2006 until its acquisition by Tamarack in January 2017. He was previously vice-president of operations at Profico Energy Management and held senior operational roles with Renaissance Energy Ltd.

Financially-troubled Pemex rewards former senior executives

Mexico’s financially troubled Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the state-owned oil and gas company that is facing competition from private sector companies for the first time in its 80-year history, has managed to reward former senior executives with rich pensions, despite having a debt of US$100 billion, plus US$90 billion in pension obligations.

Mexican media reported on March 22, as a result of a freedom-of-information request, that 14 retired Pemex officials are receiving over two million pesos a year, equivalent to over US$104,000, along with other benefits.

New DIVERGENT director

DIVERGENT Energy Services Corp. has appointed Cameron Barton to its board of directors, as well as to its audit committee.

With 35-plus years of international experience implementing change strategies, corporate financial structuring, improving business performance and growing companies, Barton’s career spans oil and gas service, exploration and production, energy marketing and trading, gas distribution, electricity generation, electricity transmission, electricity distribution, international finance and professional services.

Ceiba announces director resignation

Ceiba Energy Services Inc. announced that Richard Lane has resigned as a director of the company, effective as of March 22.

Earlier this month, the company announced that Lane, who was interim chief executive officer and chief operating officer, as well as Ian Simister, president, were no longer with the company.

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