By Andrew Hobbs

INVESTMENT in project management skills is growing across the oil and gas industry as companies look to increase efficiency and improve productivity, according to the local representative of management consultancy firm Kepner-Tregoe.

The group’s Western Australian managing consultant Vince Connelly told Oil & Gas Australia that this investment reached far beyond works on mega projects.

“I mean the skills of mid-level managers to deliver minor projects on time and on cost,” he said.

“When a workforce have the right skills to deliver all those minor projects that contribute to the strategy, it means that the company can meet their objectives.”

“To be able to make high quality, risk based decisions, especially as part of a group, is an essential capability that our middle level managers need,” he said.

Mr Connelly urged companies seeking to moderate costs to invest in their employees and their ability to deliver more efficient operations, rather than reducing staff numbers and deferring projects.

“I’m not suggesting that hasn’t been a necessary activity in a lot of cases, but what it doesn’t provide is lasting efficiency,” he said.

Instead, companies should invest in embedding skills in project delivery, problem solving and decision making.

“Coupled with a strategy that clearly articulates how the company will win within the new environment, these skillsets are the key to unlocking lasting value,” he said.

The group offers workshops, on-site training and leadership development programs focusing on problem-solving skills and smart project planning skills.

Mr Connelly said the oil and gas industry was already quite process driven, which helped in the development of new methods of management.

“We’re increasingly now being asked to help oil and gas firms in Australia but also internationally to address not only those short term cost-reduction initiatives, but also the longer term efficiencies,” he said.

“The pathway is a combination of process improvement in the most critical areas and development of the skillsets at mid-level management.”

“That means projects are delivered on time and on budget, critical decisions are well made and problems are solved to avoid ongoing loss.”