Sectors of industry
An OPITO case study

Page 3: Oil and gas activities in the primary sector

Raw materials are extracted in the primary sector. In the oil and gas industry this means exploration (finding oil and gas) as well as extraction (drilling for oil and gas). Many skills required in this sector may be science or maths-based. However other skills such as teamwork and problem solving are equally important.

The whole exploration process requires different skills at different stages:

  • Geologists and geophysicists search for new oil and gas reserves. They carry out seismic surveys and create geological models.
  • Production geologists then determine the best way to produce these reserves to maximise how much oil or gas can be extracted.
  • Business analysts use the data acquired to work out the most cost-effective way of extracting the oil or gas. The analyst team investigates the costs for different types of production activity i.e. platforms (e.g. fixed or floating).
  • Once the most appropriate set-up has been approved, production and well engineers will be involved to choose and set up equipment to start the extraction process.
  • The Offshore Installation Manager oversees the whole platform operation. This includes managing people, safety and environmental issues as well as optimising performance.

Research

The oil and gas industry relies on innovation to meet current and future needs of the industry. Research and development is therefore vital. Product and Process Researchers are often qualified to postgraduate level. They use their advanced research skills to ensure new technology and innovative methods keep the industry competitive.

  • Currently, oil and gas account for 70% of the nation”s energy mix. However, there are various projects underway aimed at increasing the amount of green energy produced. This may be through the use of wind and wave power.
  • There are still significant reserves remaining under the North Sea. It is estimated that there are approximately 30 billion barrels of oil as much as has already been produced. However, these reserves are increasingly harder and more costly to extract and will require different skills, as well as new research and technology to achieve.
  • Oil and gas companies are also investing in research and development services to create carbon capture and storage methods. This will help them to meet strict environmental targets.

OPITO | Sectors of industry

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