Qualified people essential to meeting future energy demand

Hiring and keeping good employees is one of the frontiers oil companies must conquer in order to meet global energy demand in the new century, says Stephen M. Cassiani, executive vice-president of Exxon Exploration Co.


OFFSHORE TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE, HOUSTON�Hiring and keeping good employees is one of the frontiers oil companies must conquer in order to meet global energy demand in the new century, said Stephen M. Cassiani, executive vice-president of Exxon Exploration Co., at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston May 3.

Finding and keeping employees with the knowledge and creativity to embrace and use industry change is as big a challenge as finding new reserves in conventional areas, establishing new finds in unproven basins, and leading the charge into deepwater.

Cassiani said rumors of the oil and gas industry's demise have been greatly exaggerated and predicted that oil and gas will provide 50% of total energy supply at least until 2050. True, fields are depleting, he said, but technology is finding more reserves in more places.

Three quarters of production in 2020 will come from fields not yet developed and, in many cases, not yet discovered, said Cassiani. Yet many in the public at large, including potential workers for the industry, feel the exploration, development, and production of hydrocarbons is "old technology" when it is really very high-tech. That misperception alone may turn aside some of the best and the brightest.

Cassiani acknowledged that the industry is not retaining workers, either. "We must be more forward-looking. [Companies must] get out of the commodity mindset."

Finding reserves, much less developing and producing them, is still expensive. Collaboration between oil companies, service companies, and governments is very important. And, in the final analysis, making a field cost-effective calls for creative and cooperative people as well as good technology, Cassiani concluded.

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