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Reshaping the O&G Body of Knowledge

Whether you agree on what the contributing factors are, there is no denying that the Oil and Gas (O&G) Industry workforce is approaching great challenges ahead. If we are to face and overcome, we must broaden our perspective and begin to think differently. Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Let us explore new avenues and share what we know today so that future generations don't repeat the same mistakes.

Growing up in an oil and gas (O&G) family gave me a glimpse into what it means to be a member of "The Oil Patch". I never intended to have a career in this industry (how I ended up here is a story for another time), but when the opportunity came and despite my early exposure to this worldwide community, I was still uncertain how to navigate my career.

Looking back, there were not many resources available other than peers and colleagues. Therefore, your knowledge and expertise depended mostly on your theoretical background and the experiences gained from working with those around you. If you were fortunate enough to find good mentors, you were most certainly ahead of the curve.

Fast forward eleven years later, and the situation has not changed much. Nowadays, you hear about the impending doom of "The Great Crew Change", made worse by unfavorable market conditions eroding job prospects. A simple glance at social media these days will most likely include a notification to "congratulate" someone on their new position only to find they are seeking for new opportunities. There has been a vast exodus of knowledge and expertise from our industry in the last few years, and unless we do something to address the problem this time around, future generations may have to re-learn it the hard way when (and if) the market does turn around.

When faced with a wall standing in your path, you only have four choices:

  1. Give up and turn around.

  2. Do nothing and hope the path clears itself.

  3. Outsmart the wall and go around it.

  4. Muster the strength and break through the wall.

There are those who think this is just another downturn and there is nothing to be done. "We will just keep on doing what we have been doing for decades and we will be fine! Been there, done that." I may be wrong, but I personally feel it is different this time. Technology is changing at a faster pace than ever before with an increasingly negative perception of the industry as a whole. So how are we going to entice the best new talent and adequately prepare them for a future in "The Oil Patch"?

I am not sure there is a clear answer, but I do have a theory where we can start. Albert Einstein is credited for phrasing "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results." Said a bit differently from a systems engineering perspective, you cannot improve the output of a system without improving either the inputs or how the system operates. As an experienced systems engineer with a passion for elevating the operational baseline, I believe that in this case broadcast knowledge sharing helps others know what we wish we knew when we first started so they do not have to make the same mistakes we and those before us did.

This is one of the missions of this blog: to share the knowledge I have gained (and will continue to gain) throughout my career with those who are looking for alternatives to outsmart or outright drive through the walls in front of them. I welcome your input, and hopefully by collaborating with you we may help reshape our industry's body of knowledge so we and future generations do not repeat the mistakes of the past and can better adapt and evolve for the challenges ahead.

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