Consultant insight: Terry Noble

29 July 2016

With a backdrop of low oil prices and no sign of immediate recovery, coupled with political upheaval in the UK, investor confidence isn’t a present feature within the oil and gas sector. Terry Noble discusses the state of the market and how interim talent can help. 

The current state

The oil industry has gone through a difficult time with prices as they are, and it continues to bear this weight. There has been a lot of cost cutting over the years to make the sector more efficient, and it’s fair to say it’s working harder as a consequence.

Political uncertainty around the globe has created challenges for the oil and gas sector for many years, and particularly in the last decade. This, coupled with capital pressures which are not new, have meant that the industry has come up with more innovative solutions, one of which is the use of interims.

The market for talent

It’s natural that individuals seeking permanent positions want to see long term plans, however most businesses can’t make future promises based on current balance sheets.

Consequently, despite the low price of oil, there are opportunities for interims to work within corporate functions in the sector. As the sector continues to get leaner, I see increased collaboration with other sectors. Being able to draw comparisons, improvements and best practice can easily be drawn, and talent transferred.

Working to place talent is a priority, but it’s also about taking a long term view when these businesses may not necessarily be able to. Splitting time between Aberdeen and London to build relationships within the sector is a must, as when the market comes round, it will be all hands on deck to bring talented individuals back into the industry.

The forecast

With the new Government now in place it’s a time of change: Brexit is gradually becoming a reality, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has been dissolved and there is talk of another Scottish referendum. While it’s too early to tell the precise effects of these decisions, one thing is for certain; the potential for a second referendum is casting a cloud over the industry, due to the question marks about what this would mean for the North Sea. Consequently, investors don’t feel secure enough to invest in the North Sea. Until we have clear direction on these issues, it’s incredibly difficult for business to work around it.

There’s no doubt that the next 12-18 months will be tough, but with the price creeping up slowly, we should start to see more stability. While it’s unlikely we will see a big boom in the sector, businesses will demand a lot more of their partners, and we are best placed to deliver the talent that they need.

Terry Noble is a Consultant within the Interim Commercial practice, focusing on the Oil & Gas sector to place Executive level interim professionals in positions such as: board & CEO, human resources, IT management, financial management, procurement & supply chain and sales & marketing positions.


Categories: Energy, Manufacturing & Infrastructure

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