The 33rd International Geological Congress (IGC) held in Lillestrøm, Norway, began this week. The event runs from August 6 to August 14 and will address a number of issues that are critical to the geosciences community.

Interestingly, one of the critical concerns for geoscientists happens to be one of the concerns for the entire industry - a lack of people, particularly young people seeking careers in oil and gas.

StatoilHydro CEO Helge Lund spoke at the IGC on Wednesday, August 6, urging attendees to cultivate stronger scientific communities and encouraging more youth to study science.

A StatoilHydro press release quotes Lund: “As the world thirsts for more energy, securing sufficient supply is imperative. This puts pressure on you, because you are the ones who know how to find it. Without your expertise, there would simply be no oil and gas industry.”

The fact is that the entire industry, from the far upstream to the refineries, needs more people.

There has been some talk that there actually is a sufficient number of qualified people in some areas of the world, namely China and India, and that the issue is really one of logistics. Countries where skilled workers are needed have to figure out how to either import this talent in the form of immigrants or find ways to take advantage of the skills through partnering arrangements with Chinese and Indian firms.

Somehow, I doubt the problem will be solved that easily.

Lund probably is on the right track encouraging more emphasis on science education to ensure a steady supply of geophysicists and geologists. Unfortunately, his answer isn’t one that will solve the problem in the near term, and that is the primary concern of every facet of the oil and gas industry.

Hart has taken a look at some of these issues in the form of a supplement called “The Great Crew Change,” which will be published in September, and another supplement, called “Best Energy Employers,” that examines recruiting and retention practices. These resources will no doubt help companies in our industry to find some of the answers to the personnel issue.

The hard truth, though, is that there is no silver bullet, and we will have some tough going until we collectively come up with solutions.