Technology to Create More Jobs (than it Destroys) in the Middle East Energy Sector Over Next Decade
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Technology to Create More Jobs (than it Destroys) in the Middle East Energy Sector Over Next Decade

Technology to Create More Jobs (than it Destroys) in the Middle East Energy Sector Over Next Decade

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Technology will create more jobs than it will destroy in the Middle East Energy Industry over next 10 Years, according to the clear majority of those polled in a Gulf Intelligence Survey on the eve of the Oman Energy Forum which will seek to answer the question on how the future of work will be impacted by digital disruption.

The challenge isn’t insignificant, for despite the optimism expressed in the GIQ survey results on the ability of technology to create jobs, the challenge may rest in not having the required quantity of talent available to fill these new positions created as 90% of those polled said industry and academia weren’t aligning fast enough to ensure the right skills will exist for the energy jobs of the future.

More than 200 of Oman’s oil and gas industry stakeholders will gather in Muscat on Nov. 28th, including the leadership of Petroleum Development Oman, Occidental of Oman and Shell Development Oman, to identify the best strategies to adapt to prepare the energy sector for the arrival of such disruptive technologies as artificial intelligence, robotics and automation.

“While the ongoing technological innovation will lead to a supply-side step-change – with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity - this revolution could yield greater inequality, particularly in its potential to disrupt labor markets,” said Raoul Restucci, Managing Director, Petroleum Development Oman, which employs close to 9,000 people. “However, we can be victims and debate threats from downward circles, or we can focus on the radiating possibilities and opportunities this revolution will bring,” he said Restucci.

The commemorative 5th anniversary of the Gulf Intelligence Oman Energy Forum, which will also be supported by S&P Global Platts and Oman Trading International, will seek to aggregate views on how the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution could transform the employment requirements of the Industry over the coming decade. The recommendations harvested will be compiled into a whitepaper and presented to Oman’s Minister of Oil & Gas His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al-Rumhy for consideration as a roadmap to inform new policies.

In such a rapidly evolving industry landscape, the ability to anticipate and prepare for future job requirements is increasingly critical for all stakeholders involved in Oman’s energy industry. Identifying what new skills will be required, while also mitigating the risk of potential disruption to Oman’s workforce, is vital for the profitability of companies and for the socio-economic development of the Sultanate.

“There are a huge market and business opportunities arising in Oman and the region, and I believe these will offset and spawn from the automation substitutes, thus creating more jobs,” Mr. Restucci commented in response to the results of the GIQ Survey, which polled some 500 Oman energy stakeholders over the last week.

“To ensure this happens, we need to increase our ability and speed to adapt.  Integral to that is the constant real-time re-assessment of our development and training needs so that leadership and our people can embrace the change and are skilled and able to redirect employment in this fast-changing world. Closer collaboration and alignment with other stakeholders on matters ranging from regulatory enablers to the proficient deployment of new technologies will also be essential,” said the Managing Director of PDO.

The fifth edition of the Oman Energy Forum will present a progress report on the Oman Energy Master Plan 2040 and the launch of the Oman Energy Industry-Academia R&D Protocol – an uber-like digital platform for industry, academia, and government to connect on research and innovation. The annual industry gathering will also host the OXY Oman Student Awards 2017 for the Advancement of Post-Graduate Education in the presence of H.E. Dr. Muna Bint Salim Al Jardani, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Manpower.

The Forum will be supported by GlassPoint Solar and the Oman LNG Development Foundation.