The “Great crew change” was when the industry thought a significant number of personnel in the geophysical industry would retire, without replacements! New blood to the industry had been decimated by its cyclic nature and a lessening attraction to the industry for graduate personnel.

Acquisition contractors have done a good job of attracting the younger demographic into their companies. They have also suffered significant reductions and fluctuations in capacity which has redistributed personnel within the industry.

The consultant QC, Client Site Representative (CSR) and associated consultant support niche has seen many stay on past what would be considered retirement age, their services still in demand. It has always been a challenge getting younger personnel into the consultant side. You cannot get twenty years of experience into a thirty year old, and it is rare in a forty year old. It is the career experienced personnel that provide the blend of knowledge, experience, character and authority that is needed. But the niche no longer attracts the transfer from contractor and operator employment of persons who have gained experience and competence in the industry. The steady reduction in rates has reached a stage when very often the day rate offered to a consultant is, once rationalised, less than the remuneration of the contractor personnel that consultant is monitoring. What would be the attraction? More responsibility, more answerability, a position that tests courage and integrity continually but less money and no promise of where the next project and pay check may come from.

The O&G industry is a strange place, and the geophysical niche that much stranger. We often liken it to the military; you get travel, great equipment, and significant challenges, but without the drill bashing and requirement to shoot people and bomb places. It attracts and keeps a certain type of person who has independence, determination, and tenacity. A type of person capable of working out on a limb having to make the best of things. A person with ingenuity and initiative. Not the easiest of careers, but certainly one that can be rewarding and a lot of fun and satisfaction. It gets in your blood.

However, the independent knowledgeable monitoring and oversight, the due diligence, of operations is critical and beneficial to operator and contractor alike. Consultants provide that service and they should never be considered or treated as a commodity.