This paper will discuss how and Exploration & Production Companies / National Oil Companies (NOCs) can leverage global Information technology services companies from India (or other talent surplus countries), to virtually expand the existing talent pool of the Industry. Exploration & Production industry trends, contrasts between the developed and developing markets such as India, capability of Indian IT services sector, and areas where IT services can make a contribution will be discussed. Based on the above factors, the potential of the IT services sector to build IT Solutions and create new talent for the industry will be analyzed.

Outsourcing of services to Oilfield Service Providers has been one of the strategies used to solve some of the people shortage problems in the industry. This has also allowed E&P companies to focus on their 'core competency' which is the exploration and production of oil and gas. A similar strategy which global Exploration & Production companies are tending to adopt in Information technology is IT Services Outsourcing. This helps the companies use their existing manpower, reduce costs, as also to let IT service companies do more of the 'digital' type work in E&P. Although IT outsourcing may have started purely based for cost reduction, IT outsourcing now has the strategic advantage of better access to talent and capabilities 1. IT service providers can help in areas like Remote management of operations, basic collaborative operations, problem solving, leveraging associated Knowledge Management, and real time Data Management - which require a mix of Exploration & Production industry domain and IT experience. An increasing number of people with such experience would be required by the Industry with the increasing importance of IT function as a strategic part of business, and with the 'Digitization' of many functions.

The combination of a growing Exploration & Production Industry, Operators, NOCs as well as Vendors combined with the growth of the global software services sector and the availability of a large labour force in developing countries has the potential to contribute IT solutions and create an extended talent pool of professionals who can serve the global Exploration & Production industry and help solve the looming 'crew change' crisis.


The E&P industry has been through workforce reduction in the 90's that has resulted in a severe shortage of professionals to lead the young generation of professionals in the future. There is also a shortage of engineering workforce to replace the retiring professionals.

Many major oil companies have also to face local and global resistance largely due to the global environmental impact of the business. This makes it hard for the industry to recruit talent to the industry as a whole (not specific to any particular position). There is also shortage of specific skillsets e.g. geologists, geophysicists, petroleum engineers etc.

The global Exploration & Production industry is confronted with several challenges in satisfying the growing energy needs, especially of growing economies like China and India. The following are some of the current trends:-

  • Deepwater assets and harsh environments

  • Unconventional resources (tight gas, CBM, tar sands)

  • Regulatory environment (e.g. reserves reporting)

  • Shortage of experienced and fresh talent

  • Increasingly Multidisciplinary and collaborative environments

  • Huge increases in volumes of data

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