2017 is expected to be a pivotal year for Canada’s oil and gas industry.
That’s according to PetroLMI, who released its Labour Market Outlook 2017-2021 report yesterday.
The report highlights two different scenarios, both depending on if the price is higher or lower than $50 US a barrel.
If oil prices stabilize well above this year, the industry is poised for a modest five-year job recovery with more than 17,000 new workers being hired.
“We’re expecting around 6,000 additional workers required the next year and another 11,000 by 2018,” said Carol Howes, VP of Communications with PetroLMI.
She adds the first quarter of 2017 is trending towards higher prices. Andrew Botterill with Deloitte’s Resource Evaluation and Advisory group tells Mix News he’s predicting prices for 2017 to hover around $55 US a barrel.
However, the report notes, if oil prices drop back for any length of time the industry is expected to shed additional jobs in 2017 and overall employment growth will be slow, only creating 6,700 new jobs over the next 5-years.
If this is the case, we could lose 8,000 jobs this year if oil continues to stay under $50 US.
“There is going to be a recovery in 2018 and it will be swift, re-hiring will happen at a faster pace because we will have lost so many workers in the meantime,” added Howes.
She says in both scenarios there will be growth but oil prices will determine how much.
There will be challenges over the next few years. The report highlights the possibility of around 4,000 workers retiring which would result in the loss of skilled workforce.
Howes notes the skills needed will also be different as the technology continues to upgrade.
“It will require a lot more understanding of technology.”
The addition of robots is also causing some problems and solutions for the workforce. Some areas could be losing jobs while opening the doors for different positions in the industry.
At the end of last year, an estimated 174,000 worked in the oil and gas industry, down a quarter from its peak in 2014.