Abu Dhabi ready for burst of activity

NES Global Talent's Neil Mellin on contractor growth

Neil Mellin
Neil Mellin

The oil and gas market in Abu Dhabi is readying itself for new burst of activity, with billions of dollars of investment set to boost production capacity and pave the way for significant contractor growth.

However, as the UAE looks to reduce its reliance on importing gas and meet the needs of its growing energy demands, the raft of projects expected to get underway over the next 12 months may pose a challenge when it comes to attracting skilled talent.

Globally, the oil and gas industry is facing an ever-shrinking talent pool as older, more experienced employees retire. The UAE itself has suffered from skill shortages for more than two decades with companies operating in the region often finding it difficult to entice nationals to pursue a career in hydrocarbons.

To understand just how significant a challenge, we need to look at the scale of the projected upsurge in activity going forward. It is well reported that state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has plans to raise oil production capacity to 3.5mn bpd by 2020.

We are also seeing a number of exploration wells being drilled as part of Hail Gas and Shuweihat developments as Abu Dhabi looks to bridge the gap between domestic demand and gas that is already committed for export.
Meanwhile, in Dubai, new wells are being drilled onshore for the exploration of gas and in the Emirate of Fujairah an liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal is being constructed to once again reduce the reliance on Qatar for gas imports. All in all, it is a very exciting time for the development of gas projects in the UAE.

As planned projects come online, we expect Abu Dhabi to be a key area for contractor growth during the coming 12 months. The ability to attract and retain the best in local and global talent will be key.

Neil Mellin is divisional manager at NES Global Talent. Based in Abu Dhabi, Neil is responsible for growing the company’s contract business across the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

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