In a fast-paced and informative webinar, PESA President Leslie Beyer joined forces with Katie Mehnert, CEO, Pink Petro; Dr. Christiane Spitzmüller, Professor of Industrial Psychology, University of Houston; and author Josh Levs analyzed results of a University of Houston survey measuring the attitudes and opinions of energy sector workers regarding COVID-19.
The survey of 408 energy workers was conducted online in partnership with PESA, Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and Pink Petro, Dr. Spitzmüller said. Participants averaged 16 years work experience in the industry; 83% in the oil and gas sectors, with the remainder split between alternative energy, and the power and utility sectors.
PRIORITIES WITHIN THE OFS SECTOR
Beyer said PESA was particularly interested in engaging with this study since data-driven policy solutions are, “a significant part of the Association’s mission.” PESA encouraged Member participation to facilitate information sharing between companies and employees. Regulations and government policies won’t be in place quickly enough to help companies manage the crisis, Beyer said, so PESA is compiling best practices and recommendations for the industry while it continues to advocate for the OFS sector’s policy priorities.
Additionally, Beyer said several recommendations from the study were already the focus of PESA HSEQ and Human Resources task forces. These PESA working groups have been recommending widespread testing of the energy workforce because they are essential workers.
The business fundamentals of PESA Members are heavily influenced by supply and demand and survival becomes the imperative in moments of crisis, Beyer said. Companies should not lose sight of long-term goals, however.
[su_quote cite=”PESA President Leslie Beyer”]“Maintain focus on all the issues within ESG. Not just environmental, but safety governance, health, supporting your workforce and the community you work in, because these are issues survey respondents and the workforce care about.”[/su_quote]
PESA is committed to supporting those efforts and helping companies achieve short- and long-term priorities.
CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY DURING CRITICAL TIMES
A safe and reliable energy supply is paramount during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, Beyer told attendees.
“There is an intrinsic tie between energy and health care,” Beyer said. “It’s not just powering hospitals, rescue vehicles and transporting medicine. So many elements in health care are directly related to oil and gas and petrochemical products.”
In addition to powering solutions for the current crisis, the energy industry and its technology is instrumental to building a better future.
[su_quote cite=”PESA President Leslie Beyer”]“It is the only industry that will get us to a lower-carbon future. The innovation and technology at the magnitude and scale needed to meet the planet’s power needs will come from the OFS sector.”[/su_quote]
Beyer insisted that being technology providers is part of the ESG and energy transition context that cannot be lost in the pandemic.
An important aspect of leading the energy transition is the ability to attract the best and most talented individuals possible, Beyer said.
“How we take care of our workforce is how we attract the people we need to get us to a cleaner and more prosperous future,” she said. Even as PESA members face financial pressures, their dedication and investment in training and retaining talent has not dropped. In fact, many are encouraging employees and providing ways for them to learn additional skills in low cost ways. These kinds of investments will allow companies to succeed and be ready to swing into action when demand rises post-coronavirus.
In closing the webinar, Dr. Spitzmüller reinforced how the skillsets within the energy industry are universal – for example international experiences and project management have value in other industries. Mehnert remains optimistic as she has seen continued support in the development of the workforce and encouraged listeners to take on career-advancing skills.