"Clear path to commerciality" for Senegal oil

"Clear path to commerciality" for Senegal oil

Monday, 23 October 2017 11:21

Eric Hatho...

Kosmos Energy signs three oil and gas contracts to enter Equatorial Guinea for the first time

Kosmos Energy signs three oil and gas co…

Monday, 23 October 2017 06:42

The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea and Kosmos Energy have signed three new production sharing contracts (PSC) for Block EG-21, Block S and Block W offshore Rio...

Guidebook launched for identifying pipes in any facility

Guidebook launched for identifying pipes…

Thursday, 19 October 2017 12:26

 Pipe markers are important for improving plant safety and making a plant visually compliant

Isabel dos Santos vows to modernise Sonangol with the support of President Laurenco

Isabel dos Santos vows to modernise Sona…

Thursday, 19 October 2017 11:06

Isabel dos Santos, chairwoman of Sonangol, Angola’s national oil company since June 2016, says her plans for modernisation are part of wider reforms for the Angolan economy 

Xodus wins two offshore Senegal contracts

Xodus wins two offshore Senegal contract…

Wednesday, 18 October 2017 10:46

Abderdeen-based Xodus Group has won two contracts for conducting environmental and social impact assements (ESIA) for offshore blocks off the coast of Senegal

Ophir Energy signs second exploration contract for Equatorial Guinea oil and gas acreage

Ophir Energy signs second exploration co…

Wednesday, 18 October 2017 09:19

Ophir Energy, in partnership with GEPetrol and the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons, has signed an oil and gas exploration contract for an Equatorial Guinea offshore oil and gas block

Interview: Dow Oil, Gas & Mining eyes African market with gas sweetening service

Interview: Dow Oil, Gas & Mining eye…

Monday, 16 October 2017 10:06

Adriano Gentilucci, Commercial Director, IMEA for Dow Oil, Gas & Mining, spoke to Oil Review Africa about the company's new gas sweetening service

Tullow Oil acquires 90 per cent stake in four onshore blocks, Côte d’Ivoire

Tullow Oil acquires 90 per cent stake in…

Friday, 13 October 2017 06:38

Tullow Oil plc has announced that it has acquired 90 per cent stakes in four onshore blocks in Côte d’Ivoire, while Petroci, the national oil company of Côte d’Ivoire, holds...

SDX announce gas discovery at KSR-14 development well in Morocco

SDX announce gas discovery at KSR-14 dev…

Friday, 13 October 2017 06:27

Further to the spud announcement on 18 September 2017, SDX Energy Inc., the North Africa focused oil and gas company, has announced that a gas discovery has been made at...

Oranto Petroleum signs exploration agreements for two licenses in Uganda’s Lake Albert

Oranto Petroleum signs exploration agree…

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 06:40

The production sharing agreements (PSA) comprises a first exploration period of two years followed by a second exploration period for a maximum of two years for both licenses 

Airswift opens Mauritania’s first global energy workforce solutions office

Airswift opens Mauritania’s first global…

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 06:35

Hubs in Nouakchott and Kampala bring Airswift’s total number of African offices to eight 

Sonangol releases statement on oil investment and operations after meeting President Lourenço

Sonangol releases statement on oil inves…

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 07:35

Sonangol and several oil operators, have met with João Lourenço, president of Angola, and released a joint statement identifying concerns in regard to the development of the oil sector

Eni sells 30 per cent stake in the Shorouk concession, offshore Egypt, to Rosneft

Eni sells 30 per cent stake in the Shoro…

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 06:47

Eni has finalised the sale of a 30 per cent stake in the Shorouk concession, where the Zohr gas field is located, to Rosneft

BP strengthens LNG shipping capacity

BP strengthens LNG shipping capacity

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 06:43

BP is taking delivery of six new, state-of-the-art liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers to support its expanding global LNG portfolio, and to respond to growing demand for lower-carbon energy sources...

Simba Essel Energy and Essel Group Middle East sign contract to commence FTG survey In Liberia

Simba Essel Energy and Essel Group Middl…

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 05:55

Simba Essel Energy Inc has advised that its partner Essel Group Middle East has signed an agreement with Bell Geospace to conduct a comprehensive airborne FTG (Full Tensor Gravity Gradiometry)...

Oil price drop impacts across central African economies: ECA

Oil price drop impacts across central Af…

Monday, 09 October 2017 07:34

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has released a video about how central African economies can move forward, particularly in the context of a low oil price environment

HR specialists the natural choice

Recruitment has entered a difficult period in all corners of fast-expanding Africa. Only true professionals can both pick up company ‘culture’ and weave in progressive ideas.

AFRICA’S TOP O&G executives operate in a ‘global village’ where most know one another, uniform standards are maintained and career opportunities can be discussed before they arise. Electronic communication makes all this possible, but the recent misunderstanding at the CITES conference in Qatar – a new automated voting system produced a ludicrous result - showed how people can never be made redundant.

However the culture – the unspoken ‘how we do things around here’ - of this community is changing rapidly as fewer expatriates are employed as policy, more institutions like Nigeria’s universities adjust the content of their engineering courses to take account of new shortages, and the industry adapts to the simultaneous arrival of a skills crisis (upcoming retirement of the 1970s oil-boom intake) and a surfeit in other areas as riskier downstream projects go on ‘hold’.

It all adds up to heavy and conflicting demands on the human resources (HR) professionals, who on the one hand see many of their traditional responsibilities being transferred to electronic self-service, while on the other their masters demand a revised plan to make sure they are covered for upcoming vacancies that must be properly filled.

A whole specialism has grown up to cope with these stresses, which are particularly acute in the oil and gas industries in Africa. Just relying on more technology is not going to bridge the gap, and an unfilled executive position might save the operator US$100K-plus annually in salary, costs and benefits but load more than ten times this onto the wrong side of the accounts – year after year.

Having an in-depth understanding of this unwritten company culture is one of the prime reasons to retain a proper recruitment team, especially if the arrangement is maintained over more than one round of the business cycle. It might cost more in the short term over going it alone, but over years it will pay for itself many times over. And almost certainly result in a better carry-over of skilled personnel when the new recruitment round begins too.

Before contacting potential recruits the good HR consultant will take time to learn from the client about these unstated ground rules. They are to be found in organisations of every size. For example, in a national trading business like import/export often the boss is only seen and heard when something goes wrong. In a multi- or international business like consulting engineering formal procedures defined overseas are often paid lip service too only. And in the very specialised worlds of oil and gas – plural because these industries have so many facets from E&P through downstream processing as well as the massive business of moving products – there are very special ground rules that ensure an excellent record of safe operation, but not necessarily of service too.

Today’s recruitment professionals know about the importance of all this, especially those businesses that specialise in huge industries like energy, or in successful ‘business provinces’ like ECOWAS.

However they also know that company culture is changing around the world in response to new circumstances like environmental pressure, the whole flavour of new administrations, especially the USA’s, international agreements binding WTO members, and the impact of electronic social networking.

The result is new-style objectives as stated in those glossy company reports, with values like sustainability predominating over the numbers banished to the back, a huge increase in reliance on IT, adoption of international standards on retirement (such as abandonment of default ages), new lines of communication in the form of ways of speaking to/hearing from the boss, and adoption of consulting rather than top-down approaches to organisation and methods.

The best specialised recruitment businesses know of all these trends and the extent to which what is happening elsewhere is reflected in the special conditions here in Africa. They will endeavour to supply only candidates who fit the bill.

As examples, in Nigeria right now the emphasis is on actually conserving as much energy as possible, even though this is one of the world’s most well-endowed nations. So a vigorous programme of renewables is being pursued as a means of reducing demand on generators, even the in-house ones.

In IT, miniaturisation prevails, so if it can’t be conveyed on a hand-held screen it probably won’t be heard at all.

Retirement wise, experienced local recruiters recognise that life expectancies here are shorter than elsewhere, family obligations more demanding and that the ‘Western’ model on rules and expectations cannot be imported wholesale.

And in terms of communication the old military method of doing things by order is unlikely to work in many parts of the Africa of today. Nigeria’s NOC seems to be modeling its future on Brazil’s, no longer just an arm of tax-reliant government but a multi-faceted trading enterprise in its own right, able to raise funds when and where it needs. And Ghana, a complete newcomer to the hydrocarbon industry, is a beacon of democracy and good order.

So progressive O&G operators here recognise that they operate within precincts of a potentially much more prosperous global village. But at the same time they know that, unless they move with the times, some of their advantages could be thrown away. Having a good team of HR professionals on board can prevent this from happening.

Finally, two examples from very recent research of what can happen if none of this is paid heed to, and of the business upturn that can be enjoyed if all goes well.

Crude World

by Peter Maass (276pp, 2009) describes the oil business of old, with examples drawn from most corners of the world to show what happens when "the way we do things around here" is seriously flawed. But the future for exciting newcomer regions like West Africa, the Southwest coast and the Great Lakes doesn’t have to be like that. In his book The future of work (256pp, 2009) Richard Donkin paints a picture of what positive results can follow if a company adapts, with the aid of a good HR team, of course.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

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