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CEO claims technology drive may be thwarted by skills shortage

13th March 2014

ExxonMobil CEO claims that the technology drive that is driving energy growth may be slowed by a growing skills shortage

According to Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer at ExxonMobil new technologies, techniques, and visionary projects have made it possible to unlock vast, new supplies of energy. But that growth may be challenged by a lack of skilled workers.

“We live in very challenging times,” he said. “Over the last five to six years, the investments and projects of the US energy industry have been one of the only consistent bright spots in our national economy.

Since the recession began in 2007, employment is up 40 per cent in oil and gas fields. And in every one of the 10 states where hydrocarbon production is on the rise, overall employment growth has outperformed the rest of the nation.”

He says one of the most important innovations is the integration of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, which has unlocked new sources of oil and natural gas from US shale and tight rock. “For years, engineers and geoscientists knew about these resources, but they were not economically accessible,” he continued. “Today, they are. And these resources are now creating both economic and environmental benefits that are reshaping not just America, but the global energy landscape.

“As we look to the future, we see other challenges on the horizon. And as we identify and discuss those challenges, it is clear we must build on our past cooperation. As you know, there is a great shift change – not just in my industry but across America.

“Our nation faces tremendous challenges as the US workforce ages and Baby Boomers retire. We must find a way in the years ahead to replace skilled workers – whether they be scientists and engineers or electricians, welders, and technicians. This means we must think of the future – and anticipate how we equip workers to be successful.


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