x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Abu Dhabi's Gasco to offer 1,800 jobs in big expansion

Abu Dhabi Gas Industries hopes to hire hundreds of engineers and technicians as part of a major expansion ahead of large projects.

The Al Ruwais refinery. Gasco awarded two  project contracts worth AED 4 billion to develop Habshan and Al Ruwais refineries. WAM *** Local Caption ***  7ab0907d-dd8c-4993-9a5c-3ec5ff0df796.jpg
The Al Ruwais refinery. Gasco awarded two project contracts worth AED 4 billion to develop Habshan and Al Ruwais refineries. WAM *** Local Caption *** 7ab0907d-dd8c-4993-9a5c-3ec5ff0df796.jpg

Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (Gasco)is recruiting hundreds of engineers and technicians as part of a major expansion.

The company hopes to recruit some 1,800 staff over the next 18 months, increasing its workforce by about 40 per cent.

Gasco, a unit of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, is on the verge of starting several major projects, including expansions of existing plants as well as the installation of new gas processing facilities at various locations. A dozen projects worth more than US$13 billion (Dh47.74bn) are at various stages of execution.

Once those projects have been completed, Gasco will be one of the world's largest gas processing companies.

The initiative comes as data suggest Middle East oil and gas companies are hiring again after dramatic cutbacks at the height of regional unrest in recent months. According to a job index by Monster Gulf, listings for jobs with oil and gas companies declined 31 per cent between November and April.

But Mark Guest, the managing director of OilCareers.com, said the number of projects hiring in the region could increase as much as 60 per cent this year over last year. He said his site "has definitely seen a growing trend since the beginning of 2011, with visits to the site, CVs uploaded, jobs posted and applied for consistently climbing month on month".

At the same time, recruiters say Gulf companies are struggling to find enough qualified people.

"We've had a lot of requests for specialised persons, including in oil and gas. But the problem is with the supply, because now there is difficulty in finding the right people," said Panos Manolopoulos, the managing partner of Stanton Chase International in Dubai.

One reason for this, he said, is that the economies are improving in countries that have historically sent labour abroad, such as India.

"People are finding equally good conditions in their own country, so they don't necessarily want to emigrate," said Mr Manolopoulos.

Wassim Karkabi, a Stanton Chase managing partner, said the difficulty was particularly being felt in the search for executives, in part because many multinational companies had drastically scaled back pay packages.

"Companies are not paying what they used to be paying before the crisis happened," Mr Karkabi said. "There's been a lot of correction on the packages."

Gasco is seeking employees across a number of categories and said it intended to adopt more creative recruiting methods to find them.

"We are looking at different ways of doing it but we are not lowering our standards," said Ken Nikolai, an adviser in the company's human capability division.

Gasco participated in a recruitment fair in Dubai on Monday in an effort to identify potential talent and will conduct interviews elsewhere in the UAE at weekends to accommodate other job seekers. Mr Nikolai said the company would also send recruiters to South America, Europe and Asia.

Abu Dhabi's Integrated Gas Development project, valued at about $6bn, includes developing offshore drilling platforms, gas processing plants and a pipeline capable of carrying 1 billion cubic feet a day of gas from the big Umm Shaif oilfield in the Gulf to Habshan, the location of the emirate's biggest onshore deposit. The company is building a plant in Habshan to strip valuable liquids from the gas.

Gasco has awarded contracts for a plant to be built at Ruwais, the industrial port in the west of Abu Dhabi, which would split the gas liquids into products such as propane and butane. Both have markets as petrochemical feedstock.

In January, Gasco awarded $1bn of contracts to build a sulphur granulating plant near Ruwais. Sulphur is an important by-product of oil and gas production in the Gulf.

* additional reporting by Tamsin Carlisle

nparmar@thenational.ae