| Written by David Gordon

FPSOs are one of the main drivers in exploration and investments in the offshore industry. The competition for scarce resources and assets goes further than funds and licences: the workforce on an FPSO is a critical element of operation success.
FPSO labour market

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The future for FPSOs is bright. According to 2022 forecasts and beyond, large investments in the Oil & Gas sector in the coming years are expected (Wood Mackenzie's Global Upstream Outlook for 2022 sees a 9% increase in investments next year, totalling more than $400 billion). Due to the global decarbonisation efforts, electrification of operations and low-carbon deepwater projects will dominate greenfield investment decisions.

As global supply chain disruptions, rising commodity prices and a less experienced workforce (Great Crew Change and its impact on offshore safety), overall costs are putting pressure on corporate profits. The shrinking margins will add investment risks to projects, especially with regions with higher labour and regulative costs.

Flexible projects and moveable assets are key to reacting to market demands and conditions. Expenditure for deepwater exploration and production are expected to rise once more as oil prices remain high. The flexibility of movable assets exploring, drilling and exploiting reservoirs is a game-changer for the offshore industry. The waters around Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, Namibia and South Africa are once more the focus of the FPSO flotilla.

As the demand for FPSO units and crew increases, the experienced workforce gets harder to find. Competing labour markets (e.g. offshore wind energy), the image of being a "dirty" industry and open questions about a life-long career in this sector pull people away from offshore Oil & Gas. Continuous training, better payment and higher working standards will help stop the bleeding. Safe working conditions on board (offshore HSE) play an additional role in the job decision process. The best crew will go there where payment, working and safety conditions are the best to support their families onshore and after their career. Nobody wants to stay at sea forever, split from his or her loved ones.

The workforce is the main capital but also the future of the FPSO industry. To improve working and living conditions is a must to stay attractive for talented people.