Petrofac chief John Pearson said yesterday that he believes the digital transition can better the life of those working in oil and gas by offering “a whole world” of oil and gas jobs.
Speaking at Robert Gordon University during the Futre OIl and Gas Conference, Petrofac’s boss for the Western Hemisphere said that a digital world will not “limit” workers to jobs which are merely local, but worldwide.
He said: “I think people’s jobs will undoubtedly change but I think they’ll become even more rewarding, frankly, because you’re not just limited to the jobs that’re on your doorstep. You’ve got the world of oil and gas brought to you by digital methods.
“How many years have we been bemoaning that we haven’t got enough good people? Frankly, I think we’ll be able to have access to all the good people in our company and pug good work into good people and that should make us sustainable in the long term.”
Mr Pearson was speaking in response to the wider cultural change that many in the North Sea oil and gas industry feel needs to happen now in terms of digital.
Some believe that the industry hasn’t been as fast as other sectors, such as retail, in shifting to the digital transition.
Mr Pearson outlined what the industry has to do in the short term to keep up with the pace of digital change and particularly cultural change.
He said: “The good thing is that in the last few years the whole industry – that’s government, regulators and operators – everyone’s taken the price of taking a barrel out of the ground and halved it. It’s amazing, no one ever thought we would do that.
“As the industry changes and gets busier again, which it undoubtedly will do, there’ll be a need to stay focused on how we can keep that efficiency and actually build more in – for me this isn’t optional. It’s something we’ve really go to do.
“Petrofac has been in the UK for a very long time, we intend to stay here for a very long time to come and for me people shouldn’t be afraid of these new ways of working. In fact, this is something we’ve all embraced in our personal life and can’t live without anymore. So for me, many of the things we’re doing is looking at how we can use the skills of our people in the best way in what is a global industry.”
Asked what Petrofac aims to do in the short-term top remain digitally relevant in the changing oil and gas sector, Mr Pearson said: “For us the key is to find that will transform our customers business, and focus on them, and then find cool technology that actually makes that happen. Look for cool technology and then figure out what to do with it.
“In brownfield projects, which is a main part of the Aberdeen market, if all Petrofac did was to deliver every project 100% on time and for half the market rate I think Petrofac would do well in any oil price. So we’ve said ‘that might be quite ambitious’ but what would it take to do that? Could it it be done? How can modern digital technologies allow a different business process that will actually get at that value?
“There’s a lot of talks about agile methods. In a world that’s moving so fast, it’s really easy to invent something that’s out of date all the time. The idea is let’s get something good up and running quickly. So for a company like Petrofac, lets work with our customers, lets work with our suppliers so we get a proof of concept so that we get something good – it might not be perfect or finished – but we’re up and running.”