Is AI Affecting the Oil and Gas Job Market?

Is AI Affecting the Oil and Gas Job Market?
Rigzone speaks to representatives of Piper-Morgan Associates Personnel Consultants, OneSource Professional Search, and Kaye/Bassman's Energy Practice.
Image by photoschmidt via iStock

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not having a demonstrable impact on oil and gas hiring at the moment.

That’s according to Gladney Darroh, an energy search specialist with 47 years of experience who developed and coaches the interview methodology Winning the Offer, which earned him the ranking of #1 technical and professional recruiter in Houston for 17 consecutive years by HAAPC.

“The energy industry is still figuring out how to engage AI in the most optimal ways to increase exploration and production opportunities and success in reservoir development, field/office operational efficiencies, accounting/finance, environmental impact, sustainability issues, supply chain, refining operations, trading and shipping, etc,” Darroh told Rigzone.

“However, make no mistake about it, as the energy companies adopt AI, it will significantly disrupt the oil and gas job market,” he added.

Speaking to Rigzone, Darroh said the question everyone wants answered is ‘is AI coming for my job?’. Responding to that, the Founding Partner and President of Houston, Texas, based Piper-Morgan Associates Personnel Consultants, said, “in my view, AI will be another creative destroyer”.

“Yes, many jobs that have been traditional roles in oil and gas will disappear, but more new and different kinds of value added jobs will be created,” he said.

“Net/net - the oil and gas industry will still offer long term career opportunities,” Darroh added.

When asked if AI is affecting the oil and gas job market, Dave Mount, the President of Louisiana based OneSource Professional Search, told Rigzone that the company hasn’t seen any material effects on demand and/or skills requirements directly related to AI in the employment market for the positions they place.

These positions include engineers, geoscientists, leadership, and upper end technicians, as well as accounting/financial talent, Mount highlighted.

“The only trend we’ve seen is in several engineering technician and some accounting positions where employers have shown preference for candidates with experience in Power BI and SQL, but it isn’t a hard requirement for hiring and is more focused on data analytics with possible AI integration/use,” Mount said.

Offering his view on whether or not AI is affecting the oil and gas job market, Christopher Melillo, the founder and managing partner of the Dallas, Texas, based Kaye/Bassman Energy Practice, said “AI is definitely affecting the oil and gas industry in engineering and operations”.

“There is a significant uptick in overall HSE management as well as optimizing asset resources for planned production,” he told Rigzone.

“One of the biggest advances on the engineering side is in simulation and learning as the simulation pieces have drastically reduced waste at execution time. These efforts translate very well to cutting down time, costs, and capital risk to get plants/rigs up and running quickly and safely,” he added.

“AI has made an enormous impact on the industry in this area, alone. It has an effect on both the O&M side, specifically when it comes to regularly scheduled maintenance, asset integrity testing, etc,” he continued.

“While transparency should be available through self-reporting, the AI can also take care of this piece as it allows staff to focus on move-forward activities. This also makes a big difference by connecting the stakeholders with the commercial processes throughout a project lifecycle,” Melillo went on to state.

Speaking to Rigzone earlier this year, Hussein Shel, an Energy Enterprise Technologist at Amazon Web Services (AWS) said the company believes “generative AI will have a profound impact across industries”.

“We are now going to see the next wave of widespread adoption of machine learning, with the opportunity for every customer experience and application to be reinvented with generative AI, including the energy industry,” Shel told Rigzone back in June.

Back in April this year, Joshua May, the CEO and Technical Recruiting Consultant for HireStrong LLC, an affiliate of Sanford Rose Associates, told Rigzone that, “for the most part, oil and gas professionals are not worried about AI”.

“It is a tool, just like email or a phone,” he said at the time.

“AI will help make some jobs easier, some work easier, etc. but it cannot accomplish the true engineering tasks needed across the world,” May added.

“There are too many variables and we will always need engineers and technically competent people to execute on the work and knowhow to fix a problem. AI is just a tool to make everyone else’s lives a bit easier,” he continued.

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