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Fri 16 Feb 2007 04:01 PM

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People are the challenge

Growth in the oil industry has made finding enough of the right kind of people a pressing issue.

Getting the right people is the greatest challenge facing the services sector of the oil industry at the moment, according to Nabil Alalawi, managing director of oilfield services company Almansoori.

Speaking at Almansoori's annual open day - an event that started out as an opportunity to show graduates what the company does - Alalawi said demand for oil field services is high, thanks to sturdy oil prices. Describing it as a people business, he said finding people capable of providing the quality of service clients demand was essential.

"People are now looking to get every drop of oil they can from fields that were uneconomical in the past, and they want to do it as fast as possible," said Alalawi.

"I may have ten times more work. But the question is, do I have ten times more people? Our challenge is to grow qualified, professionally trained people as fast as the industry is growing.

"We had felt traditional way was best. We would take a fresh graduate, put him in the field and he would tag along and learn the hard way, slowly developing skills and experience. This takes a long time, but you get good solid experience. Today that is not on, it's just too slow."

Almansoori thinks an accelerated training programme is the answer. It set one up using its sister company Gulf Technical and Safety Training Centre. Using a combination of classroom training and practice on sites such as disused wells, the programme has produced results in half the time of training in the field. However, Almansoori has found the approach doesn't instill a solid base of self-confidence in trainees. Subsequently it has introduced more supervisors, to help build the practical confidence of those new to working in the field. Alalawi feels that this method is the most effective way of getting more people into an industry that is crying out for them.

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