Raymundo Platas Merino

Measures to Ensure Availability of Talent

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 10:31

In the Americas, there exist several free trade agreements, such as NAFTA and FTAA, meaning that the region becomes an interesting opportunity for production and export, but negotiating the technicalities and forming cross-border alliances can become problematic for many companies. The Latin American Oil and Gas Association (LAOGA) was founded to address this issue, fostering links between oil and gas players across the Americas and providing them with a means of creating effective partnerships. The association also focuses on integrated education programs, with the implementation of seminars and courses.

After the Energy Reform, LAOGA initiated a course on this topic, which CEO Raymundo Platas Merino believes experienced great success. The association has also made alliances with universities such as UNACAP, Universidad de Juárez, Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, the Houston Technology Center, and the University of Colombia. “We were also able to videoconference our speakers, such as Juan Carlos Zepeda, David Madero, and Enrique Ochoa, to all these sites,” boasts Platas. “That certainly sets us apart from the competition, as we are contributing so much content to the industry and to the different sectors.” LAOGA has also launched a course in Procurement for the players invested in Round One, and is currently working on Commercialization and Distribution, as well as Storage seminars. “We are also working with PEMEX on procurement and supply chain training, as well as new, private players,” Platas says, alluding to a partnership with the parastatal. 

In terms of improvements to the system, Platas believes in the merits of exclusive licensing agreements. Secondly, he argues that PEMEX should move faster in terms of allocating the tenders in Round Zero, since regardless of the implications of the Energy Reform, at the moment PEMEX remains a main determinant of the economy. Finally, the allocation of funds by CONACYT and the Federal Government for provision of education within the industry should be accelerated, according to Platas, and this is currently one of the association’s priorities. “I believe the most important aspect is allocation of these funds, since the human capital is the lynchpin that holds the industry together, and failure to address this component of the system could create delays in implementation of the reform,” warns Platas.

One of the main future challenges for PEMEX is going to be a shortage of human capital, but LAOGA has a strategy for negotiating what can be viewed as a considerable challenge. “This can be seen as a substantial opportunity for anyone studying engineering, whether they are in public or private university, and especially for the new generations,” he says. When the students graduate in four years’ time there is the potential for the oil prices to have somewhat recovered, and there may be even more lucrative opportunities available for them. Several opportunities will be presented in terms of pipelines with CFE, as there has been a boom in installation due to a government investment of US$4 billion. This could create a plethora of jobs in engineering and pipelines, so there exists a significant opportunity for the education segment over the next few years, according to Platas.

Every year, approximately 800,000 students graduate from university and college in Mexico, and the majority are engineers, which constitutes a completely separate market and pool of human capital for these companies. LAOGA is working with several colleges, as well as collaborating with the Institute of Energy in London and Rice University in order to adapt the qualifications required by them to the Mexican student body. Another step being taken is the launch of an application geared toward human capital, meaning that résumés can be uploaded to the LAOGA webpage to enable more efficient recruitment practices. Bearing in mind that members come from Europe, the US, and Latin America, this system has created global opportunities for Mexican engineering graduates. “Meanwhile, PEMEX must optimize its budget in order to accommodate properly for this education, and the University of PEMEX is eagerly anticipated by the industry,” Platas claims.

LAOGA also expects to continue working on its education programs, and its two courses in oil and gas and electricity will be launched next year. Many new regulations are being released, so the association is maintaining contact with members on the points in order to provide feedback to the regulatory entities. “CNH, CRE, ASEA, and other regulatory agencies must inform and educate the industry, so LAOGA acts as a vehicle to do so,” says Platas.