Germán Pineda
View from the Top

Developing National Human Capital for a New Mark

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 14:36

Q: How is ARHIP working to bring together educational institutions and oil and gas companies?

A: I think the balance between industry education and government has improved greatly over the last five years. We now have a very good connection among the government, educational institutions and companies, but this continues to be a great opportunity for Mexico as a country. Companies are trying to find the right balance between experienced staff who have left PEMEX or who lost their jobs in 2014’s oil price downturn and newly graduated university students. If we can mix that talent in the right way we will have a very successful Energy Reform.

If this is not possible, we will see many people coming from other countries to fill jobs. Current geopolitical instability means skilled workers are coming from Venezuela, where they have an uncertain future, or from Brazil, which is a mature market. Now is the right time to get something done. Although we have companies operating in the field, specifically in deepwater, we have another 10 years to train students to face that challenge. If we can make a concerted local effort, staff will ultimately be cheaper than having to constantly bridge the gap with expats. This continues to be a great opportunity to close the circle between industry, universities and the government. The Ministry of Energy also has many programs and has been working hard in this regard, so I am confident for the future.

Q: What would you say to people interested in engineering to convince them to enter the oil and gas industry?

A: I think transfer of knowledge will be the name of the game in the future. New generations, open to new tools and new technologies especially for deepwater, will be key. For that reason, I think it is very important to provide students with opportunities now, so we can be ready in the next four or five years. Within this time frame, it is vital that local talent be able to access short and long-term assignments in Houston. We are very lucky to have a mature market like Houston so close. I think it is a very good time to invest in talent, especially for new generations that are hungry to gain international experience. It is also a good time for people who have parted ways with their previous employers to contribute with their experience to incentivize knowledge transfer.

Q: Should the government be involved in job training and where do you think the funding for this should come from?

A: The Ministry of Energy and CONACYT already have some programs and they have been investing aggressively in education at universities in cities such as Aberdeen and Houston. Of course, the government is interested in supporting these efforts but it is time for companies to also invest in their main asset: their employees. Implementing a new educational model requires an effort not only from the government but also from universities and companies so we can generate the best talent for the future. Now is the time for companies to invest.

Q: What skillsets are required now and in the long term by the oil and gas sector?

A: More than technical skills I would point to theoretical skills such as problem-solving and English. Such soft skills complete the candidate profile for these kinds of companies, keeping in mind that six or seven years ago the only operator to work for in Mexico was PEMEX. These skills were not necessary then but now, with an open market, companies like Shell, Chevron and Statoil will be looking for people who can compete with any candidate globally.

Q: How has the relationship between PEMEX and the sector in general evolved with regard to human resources?

A: PEMEX is very open to contributing. For example, it participates in the salary survey that we conduct every year. It is obvious that companies coming to Mexico will be looking for candidates and the main pipeline of candidates comes from the NOC. It is important for PEMEX to share information if it wants to retain the best talent within the company