ExxonMobil completes oil drain interval field study in South Africa

ExxonMobil completes oil drain interval …

Friday, 18 May 2018 06:14

ExxonMobil and its authorised distributor of mobil lubricants for South Africa Centlube have successfully completed an optimum oil drain interval (ODI) study for Stefanutti Stocks construction company

Eland Oil & Gas says Nigeria well to show top performance

Eland Oil & Gas says Nigeria well to…

Thursday, 17 May 2018 06:30

Eland Oil & Gas PLC, West Africa-focused oil and natural gas exploration company, has reached a target depth of 9,000 feet on the on the Opuama-9 well in licence OML...

Bowleven to start oil and gas exploration works in Cameroon’s Etinde block

Bowleven to start oil and gas exploratio…

Wednesday, 16 May 2018 06:53

London-headquartered Bowleven, a big explorer in central Africa’s oil and gas sector, has announced to start a drilling campaign on the Etinde field in Cameroon in coming days

Ophir and Kosmos sign agreement for Block EG-24 in Equatorial Guinea

Ophir and Kosmos sign agreement for Bloc…

Tuesday, 15 May 2018 06:54

London-based oil and gas company Ophir Energy has entered into a farm-out agreement with American international oil company Kosmos Energy, covering the EG-24 exploration licence in Equatorial Guinea

Global natural gas consumption rose by 3.3 per cent in 2017, says CEDIGAZ

Global natural gas consumption rose by 3…

Tuesday, 15 May 2018 06:36

Global natural gas consumption rose by 3.3 per cent to reach a new peak of 3640 bcm in 2017, said CEDIGAZ, the International Association for Natural Gas, in its “First...

Total and Sonatrach to launch engineering studies for a petrochemical project in Arzew

Total and Sonatrach to launch engineerin…

Monday, 14 May 2018 06:29

As part of the comprehensive partnership announced in 2017, Total has signed an agreement with Sonatrach to launch the engineering studies for a petrochemical project in Arzew, western Algeria

Ghana on track with six-block licensing round for oil and gas

Ghana on track with six-block licensing …

Monday, 14 May 2018 06:20

Ghana's Ministry of Energy is aiming to follow a schedule for its next licensing round, involving six offshore blocks with oil and gas potential

COPL continues to focus on Africa’s oil and gas projects

COPL continues to focus on Africa’s oil …

Monday, 14 May 2018 06:19

Canadian Overseas Petroleum Limited (COPL), an international oil and gas exploration and development company focused on offshore Africa, has announced the filing of the first quarter results ending 31 March...

Eni continues Zohr ramp-up, starting the third production unit

Eni continues Zohr ramp-up, starting the…

Friday, 11 May 2018 06:51

Eni has announced the start-up of the third production unit (T-2) of the Zohr project, increasing the installed capacity to 1.2 bcf per day, in less than a month after...

Moody's expects oil price-related impact on Nigeria's economic recovery to be modest

Moody's expects oil price-related impact…

Friday, 11 May 2018 06:16

Moody's in a report said that the impact of Nigeria's economic recovery on the back of climbing oil prices would be modest and that it would continue to face fiscal...

South Sudan minister calls for oil investors to make long-term commitments

South Sudan minister calls for oil inves…

Thursday, 10 May 2018 15:25

HE Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, South Sudan's petroleum minister, reassured delegates at the Africa Oil & Power Investment Forum, held today in London, that the country's oil facilities are secure and...

Equatorial Guinea minister announces gas megahub plans at London conference

Equatorial Guinea minister announces gas…

Thursday, 10 May 2018 15:03

HE Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea's minister for mines and hydrocarbons, announced plans to develop a "gas megahub" at the Africa Oil & Power Investor Forum, held today in...

NNPC makes fresh commitment on 2019 fuel importation deadline

NNPC makes fresh commitment on 2019 fuel…

Thursday, 10 May 2018 06:43

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has expressed commitment to accomplish the December 2019 target set by the federal government to end the import of petroleum products into the country

Cyprus-Egypt natural gas pipeline set to cost between US$800mn to US$1bn

Cyprus-Egypt natural gas pipeline set to…

Thursday, 10 May 2018 06:07

The planned gas pipeline from Cyprus’ Aphrodite gas field to Egypt’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities is expected to cost between US$800mn and US$1bn, according to Tarek El Molla, Egyptian...

Eni completes the production of Ochigufu field, offshore Angola

Eni completes the production of Ochigufu…

Wednesday, 09 May 2018 06:56

Eni has announced to complete the ramp-up of the Ochigufu field, in Angola’s deep offshore, reaching the production plateau of 24,000 bpd in less than two months from start-up, thus...

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

twn Are you sure that you want to switch to desktop version?