Energy companies reaching out to workers
As oil and natural gas producers expand their operations into new areas, they are facing increasing challenges in finding qualified workers.
Devon Energy Corp. is ramping up its operations in Canada's oil sands.
The Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas producer currently gets about 50,000 barrels of oil from its two Jackfish facilities, even though only one is fully operational.
Devon has received government clearance for another facility there, which is under construction.
The company also is developing a similar project with partner BP, so clearly it needs a lot of workers.
Kelly Hansen, operations manager at Jackfish 2, said Devon draws workers from all across Alberta, which is roughly the size of Texas.
Some also come from neighboring Saskatchewan and British Columbia, while one even flies in from Reno, Nev.
Hansen said Devon is developing a 10-year labor plan to ensure it has the people it needs to run its oil sands operations.
“The markets are essentially tapped out so we need to essentially reach out farther and wider to get quality people,” he said.
Devon isn't the only company that has struggled to find workers. It is a common issue when energy companies move into areas that have not traditionally been home to oil and natural gas development.
“When we enter a new area — particularly one without much previous oil and natural gas activity — we start by assessing the job candidate pool and adjust our recruiting approaches accordingly,” said Kip Welch, director of recruitment for Chesapeake Energy Corp. “In new areas we typically utilize job fairs to identify candidates for most positions, specifically those in the field.
“When we do have employees who are new to our industry, we have extensive training programs to help ensure that they are well-prepared to be successful in their jobs.”
SandRidge Energy Inc. has had to recruit workers from outside the area as it develops its acreage in parts of the Mississippian oil play, which extends from northern Oklahoma into southern Kansas.
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