Page 5: Roles and skills
Although engineering and technical roles are crucial in the oil and gas industry, oil companies also require lawyers, accountants, geologists, electricians, plumbers, crane drivers, mechanics, divers and designers.
Roles in purchasing and supply cover all levels, from operational such as buyers and store managers, to strategic such as in supply chain analysis or strategic sourcing, so there are opportunities for everyone.
Entry levels vary. Many people join oil and gas companies after having worked in other industries. Some young people join the industry straight from school; others after a college or university course. For example, Hannah has a degree in mathematics and economics.
‘I wanted a career that would offer variety and challenge. As a purchasing manager I have both. My job has given me a detailed knowledge of different parts of the oil and gas industry, plus a significant amount of responsibility.’
Procurement in action
Graeme is a group procurement and supply chain manager with over 25 years experience in the industry. With an engineering background, he did not originally consider purchasing and supply as a career but got a taste for the challenges of the procurement role when he spent six months in the job as part of his degree.
'The procurement process in oil and gas is complex, with a key reliance on safety. In addition, some of the materials we use in this industry are highly specialised, which can mean long lead times for purchase. However, the engineers or companies needing the materials expect very quick responses, so management and forecasting to anticipate their needs is highly important.’
People involved in purchasing need business knowledge and the ability to analyse markets. CIPS provides six levels of qualifications for the procurement and supply profession across the world. All UK qualifications are Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulator) accredited and appear on the Register of Regulated Qualifications. Students may start a CIPS qualification with no entry requirements.
Steve is head of global procurement and supply chain management at Prosafe, a leading owner and operator of oil and gas rigs.
‘Procurement is a highly strategic role. The oil and gas industry supports the whole world economy, from the fuel in vehicles to plastic paperclips. My company provides oil companies with accommodation vessels which are like floating hotels. Deliveries might reach a platform only once a week, so every last detail from wi-fi access and toilet paper to all the operational and engineering requirements has to be in place, at the right time, in the right quantity and quality. Young people may not be aware of how interesting it is to work in purchasing and supply chain roles - there is no “standard day”. I love it and I believe the job I do makes a difference.’
Muhib is a procurement specialist at BP. He sources both equipment and services and deals with contracts that range in value from £1 million to £60 million. His role includes careful assessment of the effectiveness of each supplier to ensure BP is getting value for money. This is a large responsibility and it may involve deciding whether or not to change supplier. This is a major decision as it carries potential risk to the company and the continuation of its operations.
‘Purchasing and supply is a powerful and highly responsible role, dealing with high value contracts. The real satisfaction I get is from seeing what I do make a huge difference. I really enjoy my job and see my long term future career in this industry.’