After Ending US Shale Jobs, Saudis Look to Hire 'Em

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 3/18/2015 01:30:00 AM
Soon they'll be leaving North Dakota for...Saudi Arabia?
You've got to hand it to the Saudis: this tactic of driving down global oil prices to eliminate marginal shale producers in the United States seems to be working. There's been a non-stop drop in the number of oil rigs operating Stateside as the OPEC bigwig's decision to keep pumping despite falling oil prices has worked as intended. Being endowed with massive foreign exchange reserves, the Saudis could play a game of chicken for much longer than debt-dependent shale producers. We now know who's blinked first.

But wait a minute: the plot thickens. Since there are now legions of unemployed workers with shale production expertise, the Saudis are now looking to hire them. Saudi Aramco is not exactly known for homegrown expertise in cutting-edge extractive technologies, preferring to hire foreigners to get the job done. So it is now decreed that, having seen the potential of shale drililng, the Saudis are looking to get into the game. What better way, then, other than to hire Americans laid off by its price wars? This is quite rich, but there are apparently takers for Aramco's "help wanted" ads. They've even hired headhunters to pick off Americans who've presumably lost their jobs in the downturn in oil prices induced by the Saudis:
In February, Saudi Aramco posted several new ads on websites including Rigzone and LinkedIn that focused on shale expertise. One recent LinkedIn listing for a petroleum engineer with shale experience drew 160 applicants in a month, according to data from the professional networking website. “Consider the opportunity to join our team and help shape the future of key global unconventional resource development,” the ads say, referring to shale-rock exploration that’s led to a renaissance in U.S. oil and natural gas production.

Additionally, since the start of the year, Saudi Aramco has added an “unconventionals” category to its recruiting website, where 35 job listings require specific experience in shale. A recruiting company, Whitney Human Resources, has also written directly to prospective employees on Saudi Aramco’s behalf. 
The thing to remember is that the Saudis do not necessarily have anything against unconventional sources of energy. Rather, they have something against others using these sources against them. So, why not turn the expertise others have developed to one's own advantage?
Saudi Aramco’s shale recruiting efforts are akin to a Chinese factory running a U.S. factory out of business, then trying to hire the unemployed workers to improve operations in China, said Michael Webber, an associate professor at the University of Texas and deputy director of the Energy Institute. After watching the U.S. shale revolution collapse on low prices, Saudi Aramco is seizing the opportunity to bolster its own expertise in shale.

“They don’t want to start from scratch,” Webber said. “They have no experience with shale and they have to hire outside workers. It’s a way to leapfrog.”
Dare I say it but the Saudis look to have put not just one but now two things over the Yanks.