The petroleum industry needs persons with a wide variety of skills for its efficient operation. A catalogue of these skills is therefore very useful to any entity, be it country or company, entering the petroleum industry. This paper describes the human resource needs of the industry on the basis of the value chain of the industry.

The petroleum value chain starts with activities aimed at searching for and finding petroleum and ends with production and sales of crude oil and natural gas to refineries and end users. The technical needs for each section of the value chain are depicted by a model that describes the skills required from the technician to the professional level in addition to the specialist skills. These specialist skills are not always at the professional level. For each section of the value chain the technical skills are built around a particular discipline such as geoscience or petroleum engineering.

The final result is a three dimensional model with ‘technical complexity’ represented in one dimension, ‘value chain variation’ represented in the second dimension and the different entities in the industry represented by the third or ‘entity’ dimension. Along the ‘entity’ slice of the model e.g. for the regulator, the base skills of the disciplines for each section of the value chain are modified or tuned to the needs of a regulatory body such as the ministry of energy for all sections of the value chain. By way of example, under the prospect generation section of the value chain, the regulator requires geoscientist skills aimed at awarding acreage for exploration, the operating companies require geoscience skills for planning and executing exploration programmes and the service companies focus on the skills for providing exploration services.

The model develops a complete catalogue of skills required to meet the needs of all entities involved in the petroleum industry. This catalogue provides universities and training providers with skills which need to be developed in students in preparation for jobs in the industry.

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