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The near future offshore employment: The majority of new oil exploration and production happens in very deep water. Therefore floating drilling, production, and storage units will increase in numbers. These do not need many long pipe lines at the sea bottom, which would be expensive and difficult to maintain. So employment on FPSO tankers and SPAR-rigs will increase, which means more ballast operators. A SPAR-rig is like a big floating drum with some ballast to keep it up-right and then the machinery on top.
During 2010-2017 the majority of deep water development is expected to take place in offshore West Africa and Brazil, later in the period followed by Indonesia, Malaysia, and India. Deepwater is defined as over 1.000 feet, while ultra-deepwater is over 5.000 feet. The majority of new deepwater exploration during this time period is expected in West Africa.
During 2012-2016 offshore deepwater capital spending ( investments ) is expected to increase from 15 to 20 + % of total offshore spending. Most deepwater locations are more remote from the "civilization", which can mean longer periods on duty on the rigs.
Fixed platforms will continue to exist for some time ( with their pipelines ) but getting older and needing more underwater maintenance. Therefore the need for ROV and UUV operators and technicians is increasing.
The number of seismic research vessels and ROV support vessels are strongly rising. Between years 2007 and 2010 the offshore oil-gas industry needed worldwide (estimated) new personnel:
2.000 new watch keeping deck and engine officers and crew on construction and diving support barges / vessels, floating drilling rigs. In addition to ballast operators.
800 additional personnel in connection with saturation diving.
1.000 new survey and inspection personnel.
1.200 additional ROV personnel.
There will probably be some new developments in the North Eastern part of the UK North Sea sector - close to Shetland Islands. These will, however, not increase the needed work force. They can merely reduce number of jobs likely to be lost. Trainee roustabout jobs are therefore hard to come by.
In the UK North Sea sector there are more applicants than vacancies. If you are British it's better to look farther away from home, for instance Norwegian and Canadian North Atlantic areas have some new installations coming up, including employment on construction barges. Then the areas north of the Arctic Circle - ( Barents Sea and the continental shelf north of Alaska ) - are under close study and will soon be opened up for exploration / production. In extremely severe conditions.
The total number of roustabouts on any one oil field is not great. The number varies depending on the current amount of exploration and production work. Normally the roustabouts are hired locally at different geographic locations depending on where the rig / MODU is.
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