Workforce Demands

Workforce Demands

Julie Neal (Dearing Sales, USA) and Brittany Lee Neal (Axip Energy Services, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8464-3.ch003
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Since the Permian Basin area requires a specific skillset, what can and is being done to find and retain those needed employees? Has anything been done to alleviate the continual issue of skilled worker shortages in the area? A critical shortage in skilled workers can be caused by retirement, youth moving to different areas, families relocating out of the area, lack of interest, and no training offered within a close proximity. A system that is working for employers and employees are partnerships. Employers today require specific skillsets resulting in business and industry partnering with high schools and community colleges to create skill-specific training. This chapter explores this phenomenon.
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Permian Basin Company Structure

Overall, the entire Permian Basin business structure is unique in that the primary entity is neither the customer nor the supplier, but the work itself and the efficiency at which this work is completed. Meaning – individuals are of special importance and a valuable asset in the oil and gas industry. Training, past experiences, education, reputation, attitude all play a part in the success of a project and company. Nonetheless, no one individual alone has all the answers to solve problems or get work done; it takes a collaborative group. Collaboration between employees of all positions and experience levels within a company is the most effective way to solve problems within this industry. There is truly no one experienced person that has all of the answers, has seen every scenario, or has a background as diverse as the combination of an entire team. In order to analyze problems and come up with solutions, employees that are in a field level position must communicate issues they are having in the field with not only their fellow field techs, but also their immediate supervisor who in turn discusses this issue with other managers to come up with a solution. Competition between districts and management is not the case in this industry; collaboration amongst employees of all levels and locations is encouraged to come up with overall solutions for any problem at hand. Unlike other industries, the Permian Basin is one entire community, working together to solve problems, create innovative solutions, and overall, sell their product. This product varies depending on the type of industry.

Service companies are selling their products which range from physical goods to employees that go out to their customers’ locations to render service. Production companies are focused on producing natural gas and oil, their product, to sell to the market. Chemical companies target production companies to prove that their products are the most effective in ensuring that the production company’s product sells to the market. This is an interworking system made up of a variety of different companies providing an array of services all interested in one main goal: selling their product. As an example, there are numerous chemical companies that supply downhole and upstream chemicals to production companies within the Permian Basin. The underlying goal to the production company is to get the oil and natural gas out of the ground as quickly and efficiently as possible when the market is favorable.

The method in which professionals within the oil and gas industry rise to the top and become recognized within their company or within the industry as a whole is through hands on, field experience, combined with education. Problem solving is a key skill that each employee within the company of the oil and gas industry is striving to master. The amount of field exposure an employee has determines the level of understanding one has attained, thus increasing this employee’s ability to problem solve. Area and district managers within this industry are not in their positions just because they have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in their field; they are in this position because they have acquired their knowledge based on experienced gained over the span of years combined with their educational background and mastering the art of problem solving within their specific industry. Physical, hands-on experience combined with and education creates problem solvers. Formal education and training take a completely different form in this industry and is extremely important to distribute information industry wide. However, the structure of education and training should be constant to fit the needs and fluidity of this industry. New equipment and technology are ever-changing and of the utmost importance within the oil and gas industry; therefore, continuous training and education are a necessary component. The level and amount of groundbreaking, state-of-the-art equipment and technology in the oil and gas industry is prodigious, therefore there is a learning curve that has to be taken into account. The knowledge of equipment and technology is complex and special skills are required to keep the equipment running and to employ individuals that are able to operate and understand the emerging technology. Therefore, there is always a need for up-to-date employees who have the skill sets not only to run the equipment but to keep it running.

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