• 6 minutes Corporations Are Buying More Renewables Than Ever
  • 17 minutes WTI @ 67.50, charts show $62.50 next
  • 23 minutes Starvation, horror in Venezuela
  • 13 hours Permian already crested the productivity bell curve - downward now to Tier 2 geological locations
  • 2 days Desperate Call or... Erdogan Says Turkey Will Boycott U.S. Electronics
  • 1 day Renewable Energy Could "Effectively Be Free" by 2030
  • 2 days Saudi Fund Wants to Take Tesla Private?
  • 5 hours China goes against US natural gas
  • 2 days Mike Shellman's musings on "Cartoon of the Week"
  • 2 days Venezuela set to raise gasoline prices to international levels.
  • 3 days The Discount Airline Model Is Coming for Europe’s Railways
  • 2 days Pakistan: "Heart" Of Terrorism and Global Threat
  • 2 days Are Trump's steel tariffs working? Seems they are!
  • 13 hours Hey Oil Bulls - How Long Till Increasing Oil Prices and Strengthening Dollar Start Killing Demand in Developing Countries?
  • 3 days Scottish Battery ‘Breakthrough’ Could Charge Electric Cars In Seconds
  • 1 day Why hydrogen economics does not work
Bears Are Back In The Oil Market

Bears Are Back In The Oil Market

In the midst of an…

New Rechargeable Battery Could Accelerate EV Adoption

New Rechargeable Battery Could Accelerate EV Adoption

University of Michigan researchers have…

Lack of Personnel in Government Holding Back Oil and Gas Development

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that a shortage of talent in government positions is holding back the oil and gas industry. The U.S. Department of Interior, responsible for permitting oil and gas projects, is suffering from inadequate hiring as well as difficulty retaining key staff.

The report finds that Interior struggles with a brain drain for two reasons: lower salaries relative to its peers in private industry; and a slow hiring process compared to private companies. In particular, the GAO report concludes that Interior has “ongoing difficulties filling vacancies, particularly for petroleum engineers and geologists.” And with the huge gap in salary between what a petroleum engineer can earn as a government regulator compared to what he or she can earn working for an oil company, many staff leave for the industry.

Related Article: Will the U.S. Follow the U.K. Into Power Shortages?

For fiscal year 2012, GAO finds that the attrition rate for petroleum engineers at the Bureau of Land Management (a key office inside Interior) was 20%, more than double the average for offices across the government.

The personnel problem, GAO concludes, makes it difficult for Interior staff to carry out oversight activities. For example, without enough people, government inspectors have carried out fewer inspections of drilling sites. The problem is acute in certain field offices in busy areas, such as North Dakota. The offices cannot keep up with permit applications and inspections, which can lead to delays.

Congress has given authorization to Interior to pay higher salaries for certain technical positions like petroleum engineers. However, Interior has not received any additional funding to make that possible. Therefore, the problem does not seem likely to go away. Congress is unlikely to single out Interior for more funding, and so it will be difficult to substantially raise salaries for regulators.  

By Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News