Emerging opportunities appeal to workers seeking challenging, technology-driven occupations: report

Mario ToneguzziNew job opportunities are emerging in the oil and gas industry and replacing traditional occupations, says a new report by PetroLMI, a division of Energy Safety Canada.

The report A Workforce in Transition: Oil and Gas Skills of the Future, released on Wednesday, identified three key trends: federal and provincial government current and proposed regulatory changes; the adoption of automation and data analytics technologies; and, the implementation of advanced manufacturing processes in the development of resources.

“Many of the new or emerging opportunities will be appealing to workers who are seeking challenging, technology-driven occupations, such as directing automated rig equipment, mapping paths for autonomous trucks or managing large amounts of technical data. Workers will be required to support energy diversification and efficiencies, designing and building wind or solar installations. Meanwhile, strong communications and stakeholder relations skills will be essential for consulting with the public or working with Indigenous partners to create economic development plans,” said Carol Howes, vice-president of communications at PetroLMI and Energy Safety Canada.

The report said occupations not traditionally considered oil and gas jobs will be more in demand – such as data management and analytics specialists, instrumentation technologists and software engineers. Increasing numbers of natural science professionals and environmental service workers will also be required. Meanwhile, field workers will be expected to have both mechanical and digital skills, as they use increasing amounts of data analytics for decision-making.

“New government regulations governing major energy project approvals will require a greater need for expertise in Indigenous traditional knowledge, public health specialists, biologists and economic development specialists,” says the report. “Meanwhile, communications and consulting abilities will be heavily relied on to earn and maintain public support for these projects.”

“A new climate strategy agreed to by the federal and most provincial and territorial governments that includes a reduction in carbon dioxide and methane emissions will increase demand for skills in measurement, mitigation and reporting requirements. There will also be a requirement for expertise in other forms of power, as the industry looks to reduce its emissions by adding battery technology, wind or solar to its own energy needs.”

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

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