Guido Van Der Zwet
Manager Americas
IPS Powerful People
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View from the Top

Investing in Blue and White-Collar Talent

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 11:48

Q: How does the success of CNH’s licensing rounds impact the opportunities in the Mexican market?

A: Mexico became an exciting destination through its various licensing rounds and is one of the few oil and gas markets where things are actually happening, while markets in other countries continue moving at a slow pace. The winners of the licensing rounds definitely see opportunities and we were pleasantly surprised by the success of the deepwater round, which attracted investments of US$41 billion over the next 10 years. It has proven that Mexico is top of the list for oil and gas companies.

Q: How is IPS harnessing the knowledge of laid-off PEMEX employees?

A: IPS’ doors are always open and we receive resumés from a wide variety of candidates. The people who used to work for PEMEX will need to be trained to international standards but their knowledge of operations in the Gulf of Mexico will be very useful.

Q: What role will foreign talent play in the development of Mexico’s deepwater sector?

A: Foreign expertise will play a big role. Especially at the beginning, foreign crews will be brought to Mexico to start operations. The key will be knowledge transfer between international crews and local teams, a process that takes a couple of years. As deepwater operations start, we expect to see an 80-20 split between foreigners and Mexicans. This should slowly become 20-80 over the following years.

We bring in people who are experienced in finding deepwater candidates. There are some key differences. Extra skill sets are needed when semisubmersible rigs are used instead of jack-up rigs, for example, because they require personnel such as Dynamic Positioning Operators (DPO) to ensure the rig does not move. This talent already exists to an extent in Mexico because Grupo R operates Centenario-2 and Seadrill operates West Pegasus, both semisubmersible rigs.

Q: What talent does Mexico need to invest in as Big Data becomes more widespread in oil and gas operations?

A: Digitalized solutions require new and different skills sets but companies should be clear on what they are looking for. They either need to seek out experienced people or provide their own training facilities. Automation is important but there are many ways of doing it, so companies need to be very clear about what they expect.

Q: How do developments such as the successful results of Round 1.4 impact salary expectations?

A: The main effect of Round 1.4 is on market supply and demand. A report highlighted that Mexico lacks 120,000 experts in oil and gas. The fact that PEMEX has paused up to 60 percent of its platforms means that there are a lot of people on the market but more are required. The next discussion surrounds how employees want to earn their money, either in US dollars or in Mexican pesos. There will be different rules for each contract because operations in shallow water will be carried out under the Mexican flag but semisubmersibles that are further out to sea could have international flags. This could affect the currency its workers earn in.

Q: How important is Mexico in IPS’ overall global portfolio and what are your goals in the country?

A: IPS’ Mexican branch is responsible for 10 percent of the company’s global turnover. Our goal is to increase this to 20 percent in the next four to five years. We want to work with the winners of every licensing round. We are also expanding to the US, so we are especially interested in helping American companies recruit blue-collar and white-collar workers in Mexico. We have a database of more than 100,000 engineers and people related to offshore oil and gas operations. We intend to keep up our safety and transparency standards. IPS has all the relevant compliance certificates and operates with an open-book policy, so there are no hidden charges in the way we work.