The US rig count has almost doubled during the last 10 months and upstream spending is on track to increase up to 30 percent this year, but the workforce recovery is much slower, according to Moody's Investors Service.
Since bottoming out in May, 357 land rigs have gone to work in onshore US activity, about 48 percent in the Permian Basin, and the increased drilling activity has raised some concern of whether there will be enough workers to run the rigs after massive layoffs during the recent downturn.
“We have heard from many E&P companies that they have openings and they have job postings for months – in Texas, in the Permian Basin, in particular – where they are not able to match the talent with the salaries,” Moody’s analyst Sajjad Alam told Rigzone.
“Folks who were making a certain amount of money two years ago have left the industry, and they are not quite willing to come back at the salaries being offered.”
Driven by increased spending and drilling, most of the returning jobs are expected on the upstream side, Alam said.
However, as that activity ramps up, more oilfield services opportunities will open.
Sounding a cautionary note, Alam said: “Companies have learned over the last two years to do more with less. They have automated some functionalities and they simply do things much faster. They’re [now] drilling with 40 percent greater efficiency. You just don’t need that extra set of hands to maintain or drill extra wells.”