Sustaining E&P Workforce and Containing Attrition: A Human Resource & Knowledge Management Perspective
Brij M. Khar
Exploration, Formerly ONGC, Dehradun, India
With oil prices hovering over US$ 100/- per barrel, oil & gas companies are now reaching out to new frontiers that were hitherto considered unattractive for various reasons. Major and small players apart, investors and business conglomerates normally averse to high risk E&P ventures are now clamouring to gain a foothold in the bastion of daredevils. While this may look fine purely from an exploration, production and investment point of view, it does throw up critical issues on the required Skill-sets, Expertise and Knowledge in the different disciplines of Geosciences, Reservoir & Production, Construction and Evacuation, which are entirely HR dependent. Expanding E&P activities globally and the growing participation of not so knowledgeable investors have only worsened the scenario with demand for experienced E&P workforce far outstripping the supply. The industry’s ambivalent attitude particularly after infamous collapse of oil prices in eighties and loss of jobs has also contributed to this short changing in as much as fewer students have for decades since then opted for relevant graduate studies and careers in E&P. Companies facing attrition are more concerned with the sudden loss of access to crucial knowledge and expertise/skill sets that the separating employee quietly weans away from company’s knowledge bank. HR sustainability thus translates to nurturing and managing company’s knowledge and skill/expertise pool. This calls for a proactive HRD where requirements are anticipated and followed up in a planned way drawing heavily from underlying group dynamics and human behavior. E&P Companies who follow the traditional reactive personnel management to sustain their workforce and contain attrition will face an irreversible decline while those pursuing the pro-active path of HRD in an arduous effort will not only retain their people and knowledge/skill/expertise bank over the long term but also enhance the reach and spread of their HR to radically reform decision processes across the board in whole E&P life cycle. Collaborative programs involving industry, academia and institutions would be a necessary to generate required interest in E&P studies at graduate/post-graduate/research levels through an institutional mechanism that by design cultivates, develops and nurtures talent. The onus to promote this effort lies with petroleum industry and it is time they opened up their coffers to sponsor and fund appropriate programs in their own long term interest.
Presentation GEO India Expo XXI, Noida, New Delhi, India 2008©AAPG Search and Discovery