​Focus on environmental sustainability broadening skills in demand for oil and gas

The oil and gas industry’s increasing focus on balancing economic growth with environmental sustainability is broadening its need for skills and occupations that are not traditionally associated with oil and gas, according to a new report from PetroLMI.

The report, A Workforce in Transition: Oil and Gas Skills of the Future, identifies three key trends that will shape Canada’s oil and gas workforce over the next three to five years: regulatory changes driven by the federal and provincial governments; implementation of automation and data analytics technologies; and application of manufacturing processes.

“Increasing numbers of professionals in natural sciences and environmental services will find themselves working at production and pipeline companies as they answer environmental challenges. Indigenous knowledge is [also] already being incorporated into environmental studies, creating a new specialty,” the report said.

Enhanced communications skills will be required in earning and maintaining public support for energy projects. Those who can answer the social, economic and health concerns in communities affected by development, will find career opportunities particularly those with skills and experience working with Indigenous communities.”

New and expanded occupational requirements are also coming from the push to lower costs and increase productivity through automation, data analytics and manufacturing processes, PetroLMI said.

“Field workers will be expected to have both mechanical and digital skills. They will be expected to use data analytics to improve their decision-making and work with data scientists to create solutions.”

Demand for traditional skills is on the decline for Canada’s oil and gas field workers as companies combine automation with a manufacturing model, the report said. Traditional skills are being replaced by a need for expertise in areas such as in supply chain management, logistics and project management.

“The potential exists for some occupations to disappear as a result of pending regulatory and technological changes to the oil and gas industry. However, oil and gas jobs of the future include many of the skills that are required in other Canadian industries today,” according to the report.