While most industries look towards oil and gas as one that continues to boom, recent boom and bust cycles have revealed that the industry has a fragile side that was never considered before as vulnerable. But with the return of strong prices in the oil commodities field, workers in side industries such as oil rig manufacturers and engineers for developing new rotary shaft seal components can sleep well, knowing that the next decade or two will continue to see steady growth.
But there have been some big challenges to the industry as whole as it continues to mature. The definition of refining possibilities is a constantly shifting center to the industry, even with the new technological innovations we have seen. Locations that we have long known to have fossil fuels at a lower depth or placed in inaccessible locations have now been opening up due to new approaches to extraction processes. Even places such as the shale oil sands of Alberta have proven to be not only accessible but with new processes in place even profitable for the oil and gas industry, though with a price to pay for environmental degradation.
All characteristics of the oil and gas industry supply chain are being affected by both the plunging in demand and the growth of innovation in the industry. To look a little closer at the challenges, we have asked several industry experts to tell us what they see as the biggest trials the industry faces today.
Finding the Right Talent
This has remained the number one challenge for just about every company involved in any kind of extraction industry or natural resource business around the world today. The growing use of technology to solve the problem of extraction and refinement has meant that the industry has a growing reliance on university trained geologists and other types of hard science degrees to define new growth.
But the type of rugged individual who thrives on the challenge of this industry can be hard to find and even more difficult to lure away from clean easy manufacturing engineering jobs in urban environments. As the industry continues to redefine itself, more reliance on this smaller pool of talent may mean reinventing how a company and its employees relate and the best methods to attract the best and brightest of the new class of engineers.
Pursuing the Right Partners
No industry achieves success on its own and the oil and gas industry is no exception to this rule. In the past, the partners that most of these industries pursued were in related fields or in manufacturing industries that were the end users of the product, such as the oil refining businesses.
Today the kind of partnerships that are often needed stretch into new fields such as pharmaceuticals and garment manufacturing as the by-products of the oil industry find new uses. These partnerships will continue to be both a source of growth and a challenge as the industry continues the transform itself.
Finding the Right Metrics
Innovations in how oil is found and procured is changing and so are the ways these decisions are being made. From exploration to drilling and processing, all of these will need to be factored in to the new way of doing business as the entire industry shifts away from strictly transportation and power to a host of new applications.