Fire And Explosion At Biotechnology Factory

November 8th, 2010

Article taken from DOSH Malaysia 1/4/2010

 

   

 

Figure

1: Ceilings damaged by explosion

Recently, there was an incident involved fire and explosion at biotechnology factory. The incident took place at production workshop for sweetener

products. The incident occurred when the production workers poured the sweetener powder into reactor which contained of ethanol. Suddenly, fires came out from reactor and flashed all workers around the area creating an explosion. The explosions caused severe damage to the workshop especially the ceilings and walls. The incident also caused a worker seriously injured and three others injured.

Recommendations:  
   
Figure 2: Reactor condition after incident
1. Hazard and operability studies (HAZOP) must be carried out on the process system which involves mixing of powder material (which fda approved viagra sales size is less then 420 micron in diameter) and highly flammable liquid before the process started.
2. Employers must supply workers with suitable personal protective equipment such as fire retardant coverall and free electrostatic cloth, respirator and gloves to avoid electrostatic charge and smell of toxic gaseous.
3. Employers must ensure that workers wear suitable personal protective equipment for maintenance work.
4. A safe system must be designed for pouring of powder (which size is of 420 micron in diameter) into reactor i.e contain of ethanol to avoid workers from activity that can create hazard. Besides, workers are prohibited from pouring the powder into reactor which contain ethanol by themselves.
5. Every process of production activity must be supervised by a trained safety and health officer especially in identifying fire and explosion hazard caused by process production process activity.

 

MALAYSIA aims to become an oil field services and equipment (OFSE) hub for Asia

November 4th, 2010

 

MALAYSIA aims to become an oil field services and equipment (OFSE) hub for Asia, leveraging on its strategic location at the centre of the Asia Pacific region and adjacent to the international shipping lanes.

Under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), three entry point projects (EPPs) have been identified to attain the target.

As outlined under the National Key Economic Activity (NKEA) for oil, gas and energy sector, the three EPPs are to attract multinational companies (MNCs) to bring a sizeable share of their global operations to Malaysia, the ETP report said.

The projects are also geared at consolidating domestic fabrications, developing engineering, procurement and installation capabilities and capacity through strategic partnerships and joint ventures.

 

The global OFSE market is valued at RM800 billion and has undergone rapid growth of 25 per cent an annum in recent years.

With a burgeoning domestic oil and gas industry, proximity to oil fields and a cost-competitive workforce, Malaysia is well-placed to become Asia’s OFSE hub.

In addition, by increasing competitive pressures in the domestic market, there is potential for Malaysian companies to first become domestic champions and subsequently regional champions as it captures a larger share of the regional market.

Under the sector’s NKEA, the target is to attract 10 to 20 major international companies in the OFSE industry, bringing about 10 per cent of their business operations to Malaysia.

“This translates to around 40 per cent of their regional activities and would mean positioning Malaysia as a cost-competitive base for engineering, procurement and construction as well as strategic base for installation activities in the Asia Pacific region,” the report noted.

If the goal is met, the OFSE industry will have considerable impact, creating over 20,000 jobs and almost RM6.1 billion of incremental gross national income (GNI) by 2020.

A permanent government body to be known as Oil Field Services Unit (OFSU) will be set up. It will be responsible for overseeing the oil field services industry’s growth and development.

Comprising 20 people, with at least 10 of whom will have the oil and gas industry experience, OFSU will be fully operational within the next six months.

Among others, its responsibilities are to make recommendations on how to restructure the domestic industry to create a more competitive environment and position the industry and its companies for growth, and to promote the Malaysian OFSE industry and companies to overseas firms and investors.

OFSU will require only minimal funding of RM5 million a year to cover its operating expenses. However, the success of the EPP is contingent on attracting foreign players to set up operations overnight viagra here, which would require estimated funding totalling RM6.8 billion. This comprises of RM6.3 billion in private investment and RM500 million in public investment.

On the whole, the ETP has identified 12 EPPs and two business opportunities within the NKEA for oil, gas and energy sector.

“These EPPs will contribute RM47.1 billion to GNI to meet the 2020 targets. An additional RM61.2 billion will come from business opportunities and baseline growth,” the report said.

Thus, the NKEA expects to deliver a RM131.4 billion GNI impact and create an additional 52,300 jobs in this sector.

A significant proportion of these jobs will be highly-skilled jobs, with an estimated 21,000 or 40 per cent for qualified professionals such as engineers and geologies, with monthly salaries in the range of RM5,000 to RM10,000.

The incremental GNI includes RM23.1 billion of GNI from the multiplier effect created by EPPs from other sectors.

The largest sources of the multiplier effect on the oil, gas and energy NKEA are palm oil, tourism and electronics and electrical NKEAs, for example, an increase in generic cialis online

usage of energy due to an increase in tourists visiting Malaysia.

The oil, gas and energy NKEA is targeting a 5 per cent annual growth for the sector from 2010 to 2020. This is an ambitious goal, particularly against a backdrop of the natural 2 per cent decline of oil and gas production.

 

Petronas Chemicals' big debut

November 2nd, 2010

Petronas Chemicals’ big debut

By Goh Thean Eu

Published: 2010/11/02

 

Petronas Chemicals’ IPO will potentially be the biggest in Southeast Asia, valued at over RM12.5 billion.

 
 
 

Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd, a Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) subsidiary, will be listed on November 26 in what will potentially be the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in Southeast Asia, valued at over RM12.5 billion.

The IPO involves 2.48 billion shares, or 31 per cent of Petronas Chemicals’ enlarged share capital, according to its listing prospectus published yesterday.

The exercise includes an offer for sale of 1.78 billion shares and issuance of 700 million new shares. More than 10 per cent, or 293 million of the IPO shares, are being offered to retail investors at RM5.05 each.

The price for institutional investors is being fixed via a bookbuilding, with the bidding price starting at RM4.50, sources said.

 

The share sale is set to be the biggest in the region, at least in recent times. It will surpass the US$2.7 billion (RM8.4 billion) raised by Global Logistic Properties Ltd in Singapore last

sale viagra

month and the US$3.3 billion (RM10.2 billion) raised by Maxis Bhd last year.

Petronas Chemicals expects to generate some RM3.54 billion proceeds from the 700 million new shares, the prospectus noted.

Almost two-thirds of the proceeds, or RM2.24 billion, will be used for business expansion and acquisitions in the next five years. About one-third, or RM1.2 billion, is for working capital over two years.

Petronas Chemicals’ sales and profit have declined in the past two years. Its earnings eased 25.5 per cent to RM3.45 billion in the financial year ended March 31 2009, while revenue dropped 3.79 per cent to RM12.86 billion.

The following fiscal year, net profit fell 24.7 per cent to RM2.59 billion while sales slowed 1.3 per cent to RM12.2 billion.

Analysts, however, remained upbeat about response to the IPO. This was due partly to the strong interest shown in last week’s listing of Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering Holdings Bhd, another Petronas outfit.

“I believe the IPO will generate good response from investors. First is that the company gets its gas feedstock from its parent, which may translate into better margins. This will help it to be profitable, even during bad years.

“Second is that it will be a composite index component stock. Investors just can’t ignore that,” said an analyst from a local brokerage, who declined to be named.

The analyst added that Petronas Chemicals’ proposed dividend policy of giving half

of its net profit back to shareholders would add to its appeal.

Most analysts and research heads are in a “blackout” phase currently as the investment banks they are working for are involved in the IPO. During this time, they are not allowed to issue research reports or comment on Petronas Chemicals.Signs are that the company is on the growth path again.

In the four months ended July 31 2010, its net profit jumped 59 per cent to RM938 million. Group revenue rose by almost 30 per cent to RM4.22 billion.

“It is a volatile business. You have good years and bad years. And when cheap cialis from india you are in good years, the profits are really, really good,” said a research head.

Some analysts, however, were not entirely positive on the company.

“It is currently in a very tight spot. It is caught in between the supplier countries and consumer countries, whereby supplier countries like those in the Middle East and consumer countries like China are setting up their own petrochemical plants.

This has resulted in increased competition,” said another analyst.

The principal adviser, managing underwriter and joint underwriter of the mega-IPO is CIMB Investment Bank Bhd, with 13 other local investment banks as joint underwriters.

The retail offering, which began yesterday, will end on November 9.

The institutional offering, which started on October 26, will end on November 12.

Price determination date and balloting will also be on November 12.

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FR Clothing: Leaving Hazards in the Dust

October 31st, 2010

Jan 1, 2010 12:00 PM, By Laura Walter

Imperial Sugar now outfits its work force in FR clothing. Learn how and why FR clothing can best protect your own employees.

On Feb. 7, 2008, a combustible dust explosion ripped through the Imperial Sugar Co. refinery in Port Wentworth, Ga., killing 14 employees and injuring dozens. The incident triggered $8 million in proposed OSHA fines, a Senate hearing, a renewed call for an OSHA standard and widespread concerns about combustible dust hazards. It also prompted Imperial Sugar to make some changes in its facilities and procedures — including outfitting all workers in fire-resistant (FR) clothing.

“Post-event, we have required all employees and visitors to the manufacturing areas to wear fire-resistant clothing. It’s a blanket requirement and one that is we believe quite conservative,” says Ron Allen, who joined Imperial Sugar as senior director of environmental, health, safety and quality in March 2009. “It’s probably unusual for a manufacturer of dry product to require fire-resistant clothing plant-wide for all employees.”

Approximately 700 Imperial Sugar workers — about 400 in the rebuilt Port Wentworth facility, as well as 300 at the company’s Grammercy, La., plant — must wear FR garments. All contractors and site visitors must don the protective clothing as well.

Imperial Sugar provides combinations of FR pants, shirts and coveralls. The uniforms are rated for 100 washes, and the garments carefully are monitored so they do not exceed that wash requirement. Electricians and welders wear a higher performing fabric to protect them from arc flash.

Scott Margolin, international technical director at Westex Inc., acknowledges that in the event of a combustible dust incident, some fatalities may be unavoidable because of explosions, entrapment or sustained fire. But “vastly more people” often are involved in the flash fire portion of the event, he says.

“If it doesn’t ignite your clothes, you’re probably going to live. And if it does, you’re probably not,” Margolin says. “FR clothing can make a huge contribution to worker safety in that area.”

FR BASICS

FR clothing is designed to protect workers from arc flash and flash fire, two hazards that can cause serious injury or death. In an arc flash, the amount of energy released is “quite significant,” with temperatures reaching between 10 and 20,000 degrees Fahrenheit, explains Dan Bowen, technical marketing specialist for Dupont Personal Protection.

“Even though the duration of an arc flash is usually fairly short, on the order of less than 1 second, the amount of intense heat will cause anything combustible to burst into flames almost immediately,” Bowen says. “There’s been a tremendous amount of people injured and killed by arc flash events that suffer badly because the clothing they were wearing caught on fire.”

Bowen explains that workers’ clothing plays a big role in the extent of their injuries in the event of an arc flash, especially if they are wearing a synthetic blend such as polypropylene or nylon blends.

“The challenge with those fabrics is not only will they ignite, but they’ll burn vigorously because they’re plastic,” Bowen says. “They are highly flammable. They melt, they burn, they drip. They make a bad matter much worse.”

When FR clothing is exposed to a heat source and that heat source is then removed, the garment will not continue to burn, Bowen explains. “That’s not to say these things are fire proof. It’s not like wearing cement or steel — they will undergo a physical change — but as soon as the heat source is gone, that fabric won’t burn. It’s designed to provide protection for the worker from that burn injury.”

Margolin adds that if a worker’s street clothes ignite, the fire and subsequent burn injuries will spread to areas of the body where the arc itself never touched.

“As silly as this sounds, you’re literally better off naked because the body burn injury you would suffer is going to be limited to the areas of the body where the arc hits. [If] your garments ignite, that fire is going to spread very rapidly,” he says. “As soon as the shirt ignites, you’re shifting from survivable or no injury with FR clothing, to potentially or probably fatal injury [without FR clothing] within seconds.”

FR clothing also provides protection through insulation, shielding the body from the heat of the event.

“The analogy that I like to make is you wouldn’t wear a windbreaker out into a blizzard, would you?” Margolin says. “If you know it’s 55 degrees out, you can put a windbreaker on and you’re going to okay. If it’s 55 degrees out, you’re not going to wear that same lightweight jacket — you’re dressing appropriately to that hazard, in this case cold.”

MISCONCEPTIONS

As with any PPE, workers and safety professionals must have a full understanding of the equipment to properly and safely use it. Misconceptions about FR clothing can be dangerous. For example, Margolin cites the erroneous belief that cotton is an upgrade from synthetic blend materials. While cotton doesn’t melt, wearing cotton garments in the event of arc flash or a flash fire could be deadly.

“Cotton ignites just as readily

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as poly cotton, and it burns hotter, meaning it will do more damage to your skin more quickly,” Margolin says. “It’s harder to extinguish and it’s typically heavier, which means more fuel for a longer fire. Cotton is not an upgrade. It does ignite, and it’s equally hazardous.”

Another troubling misconception is that workers need an FR shirt or jacket but not FR pants. Not wearing full protection, Margolin warns, is a dangerous move.

“You wouldn’t do that any more than you would wear half a hard hat or one lens of a safety glass, or just the right glove for shock protection but not the left one,” he says. “A shirt-only program is not a program at all. You’re not compliant, [and] you’re not going to save yourself the fatalities or medical costs.”

Finally, Margolin stresses that not all FR is the same.

“Just because something has an arc rating doesn’t mean it’s a long-term, viable product, so we urge people to look for market-proven products,” he says. “There is no excuse in our business today to wear a garment where you have to count the launderings. There are plenty of fabrics out there that are flame resistant for the life of the garment. I would urge people to look for market-proven products.”

Bowen adds that when it comes to FR clothing and protection from flash fire, some safety professionals are content with doing only the bare minimum to remain compliant.

“With flash fire, everyone looks at the lowest possible denominator, but every place else they’re willing to step up and look at the hazard,” Bowen says. “Nobody skimps on respirators. Employers will purchase and mandate that their employees use the correct level of respiratory protection, but they don’t do the same thing with flash fire.”

COMFORT

Another commonly misunderstand aspect of FR clothing is how comfortable it can be.

“There’s a misconception that flame-resistant clothing is heavier, stiffer, scratchier or uglier than street clothing. That’s one of the reasons people don’t get it,” Margolin says. “We have been engineering for years trying to get lighter and lighter and softer and softer and more and more street looking. And with at least a few brands, we have gotten there.”

Lanny Floyd, principal consultant for electrical safety and technology at Dupont, agrees that FR garments today are being developed for higher performance and lower weight. “Over the last 10 years, there have been significant advances in the comfort and usability” of FR fabrics, he explains. Additionally, the face shields and hoods used in arc flash protection also have been improved.

To find the FR fabric and clothing that will be most comfortable for workers, Bowen suggests that safety professionals conduct a wear trial. Identify several different fabric types and fabric manufacturers and obtain sample garments. Let workers wear these garments in real-life work situations so they can determine what feels best.

“Look at the job that needs to be performed, look at the features you want on the garment, identify a few options, put it on people and let them wear it for a couple of months,” Bowen says.

LAST LINE OF DEFENSE

Floyd also stresses that workers must know how to properly wear and use FR clothing. That means securing all fasteners, ensuring all body parts are protected, never rolling up sleeves and repairing any damage immediately and with the appropriate materials, such as FR thread.

Users also must follow the garment manufacturer’s instruction on care and cleaning. Don’t allow contaminated materials, solvent or grease that could ignite and degrade the performance of the protective clothing come into contact with the garments.

Finally, Floyd explains that one of the big areas of opportunities in the FR world is education on when and how to use these garments properly.

“That’s one of the big gaps I think we have today,” Floyd considers. “We have great products and great standards to improve safety for workers, but making sure people understand buy generic viagra online how to use it properly is always a challenge. Ongoing education is very important.”

Being properly educated often means staying up-to-date on timely topics, such as combustible dust.

“Combustible dust is hot-button issue with OSHA and FR,” says Margolin,

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who attended the December 2009 OSHA stakeholder meetings on the development of a combustible dust standard . “The first line of defense of any of these things is to engineer the hazard out or down,” he explains.

“Flame-resistant clothing, while it is admittedly the last line of defense after behavioral and engineering safety have been addressed, cannot and must not be overlooked. Just because a car has crumple zones and impact-absorbing bumpers and air bags does not mean you can forget to put on your seat belt,” Margolin says. “Same kind of logic.”

A COMBUSTIBLE DUST STANDARD

On Oct. 21, 2009, OSHA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as an initial step in developing a standard to address the hazards of combustible dust. Ron Allen represented Imperial Sugar at OSHA’s Dec. 14, 2009, stakeholder meetings on this issue.

“We are strong advocates for an OSHA standard,” he says. “I came away [from the stakeholder meeting] with an appreciation that there are many different opinions that will influence the final standard.”

According to Allen, OSHA representatives “seemed to sincerely have an open mind and are listening to the various stakeholders as they attempt to put together this new standard.” He adds that he’d like to see a combustible dust standard with specification language as opposed to performance language.

“Performance standards are very attractive on the surface, but could be much more difficult to administer than a specification standard,” he points out. “We think that specification language actually serves as an education. It helps employers, particularly small employers, who may not have a great deal of technical resource to understand what they must do to protect their employees from combustible dust fires and explosions.”

A Cost-Effective Solution

“OSHA has clearly embarked on a path that’s going to result in a rule on combustible dust,” says Margolin, who also attended the combustible dust stakeholder meetings. “The big questions to me seem to be about scope, and what language [of existing NFPA standards], if any, will make it in.”

According to Margolin, the meetings focused on existing NFPA consensus standards, the potential scope of a standard, economic impact and hazard mitigation. FR clothing also entered the discussion, particularly in terms of economic impact. Margolin is quick to point out just how cost-efficient FR clothing can be.

“Body burn is the second most expensive hospitalization in the U.S.,” he says. “Putting everybody who remotely needs FR clothing in it for the rest of their careers costs vastly less than the first year of medical [expenses] alone for the burn injuries that are already happening, much less the ongoing medical costs, insurance, workers compensation, counseling, fines and lawsuits.”

Overall, Margolin was encouraged by what he calls an obvious intent to develop and implement a standard for combustible dust.

“It’s not a matter of if  but when they will put out a rule on combustible dust,” he says.

Total snaps up slice of GLNG

September 10th, 2010

France’s Total has agreed to buy a 20% stake in Australia’s Gladstone liquefied natural gas project from Santos and

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Malaysia’s Petronas.

Santos said viagra 50mg it was selling a 15% stake for A$650 million ($597.4 million), with Total buying 5%

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from Petronas.

Santos will now own 45% of the project, while Petronas will have 35% and Paris-based Total 20%.

Santos said it had signed a binding offtake agreement with Petronas and Total for 5 million tons per annum (Mtpa), raising its supply deal with Petronas from 2 Mtpa to 3.5 Mtpa.

The 20-year offtake agreements with Total and Petronas will begin in 2014, when the project will produce its first cargo, pending a final investment decision on the project.

Total, a leading LNG producer with interests in a number of LNG projects worldwide, also owns a 24% stake in the Icthys LNG project in Australia’s Browse basin.

Santos plans to make an investment decision on the first production train at Gladstone by year-end, while an approval for the second train is due about a year later.

Earlier this month, sources said Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) aimed to buy a roughly 10% stake in the project and take more than 2 million tonnes a year in LNG, reported Reuters

New LNG traders challenge old guard

August 16th, 2010

 

THE traditional old-guard of major liquefied natural gas producers, (LNG) which has dominated LNG trade since its inception, is being challenged.

Growing ranks of trading houses and banks, already ingrained in the oil market, are now looking to cement positions in the fast-growing LNG market historically run by a clique of major incumbents.

While some banks tried and failed to penetrate the LNG market a few years ago, the expected increase in LNG production globally and a potential surplus of supply in the coming years, could create a platform on which new players can thrive.

If successful, these new entrants could bring transparency and efficiency to a previously closed market. But they will have to loosen the tight grip that the likes of BP, BG Group, Royal Dutch Shell and others have on the market before real change can come about.

 

“Traditional producers and their long term buyers want cheap xenical online to control what happens in the market,” said Morten Frisch an independent LNG consultant in East Horsley, England.

“However, with an increasing number of LNG suppliers and buyers active in the market, this is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve.”

The growing LNG market has until now been run by producers and shippers who have supplied LNG under long term contracts straight to customers – mainly utilities – with gas demand of their own. The space for middle men has been narrow.

Even the burgeoning LNG spot market, which has more than doubled to about 20 per cent of total LNG trade over the past ten years, has been dominated by a small group of big players.

But, as global production grows, the old order faces some fresh competition. While banks like Morgan Stanley have been involved in LNG for a number of years, the past year has seen a quickening stream of new players announcing plans to trade cargoes of the gas that is super-cooled into a liquid for transportation by ship.

This week Barclays Capital said it plans to trade physical cargoes while European energy trading house Mercuria also announced its entry into the market.

LNG production is set to grow by 50 per cent from 2009 to 2013, according to the International Energy Agency.

LNG traders have become a precious commodity. New outfits are poaching traders from the established desks of the majors to head up their own teams. Mercuria hired two former BP traders for its new team. Golar LNG head-hunted five of Citi Group’s team when it opened a trading desk earlier this year.

“With a higher number of different classes of market players and an increasing numbers of transactions, we are likely to see increased market-based pricing of LNG developing,” Frisch said.

While the potential is there to increase liquidity and competition in the LNG market, barriers remain, some unique to the LNG market.

Aside from the need to build up contacts in a strongly relationship-based world, new players need access to the specially-designed tankers that carry LNG, a downstream outlet to send the gas and access to the LNG itself.

The size of LNG fleet

has rocketed, from 100 in 1998 to 200 in 2006 and to 300 today, but still the majority of LNG tankers are in the hands of production projects and their shareholders.

According to Keith Bainbridge, partner at shipbrokers RS Platou in London, about 80 percent of the LNG fleet is assigned to production projects. Of the remaining tankers, about 80 percent are in the hands of the majors.

“The big boys are taking all the shipping that’s out there. It’s not a level playing field for the traders,” Bainbridge said.

Without a chartered tanker, or some terminal capacity to send the gas, traders will struggle to find their bids accepted in a spot tender.

“You need shipping, molecules or downstream capacity,” Bainbridge added. “They have to put some investment in and taking some long position.”

In a sign that it can be done, European energy trade Gunvor has burst onto the LNG scene, buying 19 cargoes since it opened its LNG trading desk in January. Gunvor has import capacity in two terminals in Europe, and plans to double that number soon.

Traders believe there is money to be made for new entrants, however thin the margins.

“Greater competition is going to bring the LNG market forward. Whether or not this will make it more like the oil market is a different question,” one LNG trader said. – Reuters

Tackling oil and gas talent conundrum

August 15th, 2010

 

STUTTERING global economic recovery and fluctuating oil prices aside, the fact of the matter is that demand for oil and gas (O&G) will continue to grow and grow at an intense pace. The factors for this growth in demand have already been well documented.

Naturally, the rise in demand will drive the need for enhanced capacity in the industry. This includes core areas of the entire business stream: from exploration to drilling to production, all the way to distribution. In Malaysia alone, it was recently reported that O&G jobs worth some RM88 billion are expected to come on stream over the next four years.

It is indeed good news for the O&G support services sector – companies which make a living out of offering products and services to O&G companies. To take advantage of this growth, participants in O&G services have scrambled to consolidate and merge in a bid to become bigger, more visible and, thus, better positioned to seize opportunities.

While size does matter in the world of O&G, we strongly believe that knowledge, not assets, will be an integral source of future growth in this sector. Herein lies the conundrum: the global O&G industry is seriously short-staffed!

 

Where have all the people gone?

Just like in any business sector, the O&G industry is governed by business cycles. There are “ups” and then there are “downs”. In the down cycle, when oil prices are low or supply outstrips demand, people are often let go. Unfortunately, in the O&G industry, people who are retrenched do not necessarily return. Understandably, they feel that going back to an industry with a high likelihood of being laid off again in the not too distant future is unpalatable. As such, talent with highly specialised skill sets is often lost in this nature.

The O&G industry is also facing an acute ageing workforce. Globally, more than a third of O&G industry workers are expected to retire by 2012. This means that the industry has to compete for an ever-reducing pool of experienced talent. What’s worse, this pool may not be replenished anytime soon given that the industry is finding it difficult to attract entry-level talent.

Having said this, the availability of entry-level talent with the basic knowledge and skill sets required to start a career in the O&G sector is not the issue here. Admittedly, education institutions across the world churn out many young, capable and driven individuals who have the tools to succeed in this industry. However, the O&G industry is oftentimes associated with dirty, harsh, cramped and, sometimes, dangerous work environment. Also, industry workers will likely have to be away from home for long durations. These factors may not appeal to today’s workforce, more so if there are alternative employment opportunities that offer similar compensation with more comfortable working conditions. As such, qualified prospective talent today is being taken by other industries.

With the global O&G industry shifting into higher gear, after a relatively quiet period over the recent years, the talent conundrum poses the greatest risk to O&G companies. But how can the industry as a whole address this serious predicament?

Focus on talent now!

The shortage of talent in the O&G industry can be addressed if industry participants first acknowledge the fact that human capital is the industry’s most prized asset. Unfortunately, we are where we are today because this is oftentimes not the case.

By realising the importance of human capital and long-term growth, O&G companies will naturally be inclined to grow at a sustained pace. It will do wonders for the industry if

it understands that hiring aggressively during an up cycle and letting people go when times are down is bad for business in the long term.

The way forward for O&G industry participants in the realm of talent is to look at the entire gamut of human capital management. These include strategies to source and recruit talent as well as developing and retaining the existing workforce. Not one component can be stand-alone as we face this talent crisis in the industry.

“Pay them and they will come.” This may online cialis be a common adage for talent sourcing and recruiting, but, unfortunately, it is not that simple. While competitive compensation is a must in any industry, tangible and intangible elements such as career progression plans, personal development paths and employee-friendly corporate culture are factors just as important in attracting talent today.

In addition, continuous training is crucial to developing and retaining talent. This is regardless of whether it is during an industry up cycle or down cycle. Training can be in various forms and formats, ranging from on-the-job-training to classroom training.

A great way for O&G companies to utilise training as a platform to recruit new talent is by collaborating with universities and institutions of higher learning. Via an internship programme, students can apply what they have learnt in the classroom to “real-life” work situations, while experiencing life in the industry first-hand. This will eventually create a ready pool of willing and trained talent for the industry.

In terms of personal development, O&G industry workers will likely stay on if they feel that they are improving their personal value. Towards this end, continuous learning can be an ideal philosophy implemented in O&G companies. Collaborations can be formed between other corporate organisations as well as government or non-government agencies where employees can learn and exchange ideas and knowledge across different stakeholders of the O&G industry.

All in all, it is exciting times for the O&G sector. For companies to succeed and advance, effective integrated human capital management strategies must be a top priority for all industry participants. This is all the more important for the O&G support services sector given that its business model is predicated on a high-quality workforce with specialised industry knowledge. Our people are our fuel for growth and our bottom line depends on them.

# The writer is the president of Scomi Group’s oilfield services division.

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