Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil firm is looking to employ laid-off American shale workers in order to jumpstart its own fledgling fracking division. Bloomberg reports:
The state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co., also known as Saudi Aramco, is posting new job ads online aiming to snap up experts in extracting oil from shale as the country seeks to become a leader in that rapidly expanding effort. Tens of thousands of U.S. workers have been fired since November as oil prices plunged because of oversupplies, driven in part by an OPEC decision supported by Saudi Arabia.That’s now giving Saudi Aramco a better chance to lure experienced workers to its own shale formations. Difficult living conditions had previously made the country a hard sell, said Tobias Read, chief executive officer of Swift Worldwide Resources, a recruiting firm.
On one level, there’s the conspicuous irony of the country that has been angling to shrink the American shale industry—and thus, indirectly, to get these workers laid off—making a bid for market share and then trying to recruit those same workers. But not only is this a shrewd business move, it’s a signal that the Saudis are not content to keep relying solely on their conventional reserves (Riyadh boasts control over a whopping 16 percent of the world’s proven reserves).Like every other crude producer, Saudi is waking up to smell the shale, and securing top talent is a smart place to start. Of course, as Poland, the UK, Russia, China, Australia, and most recently South Africa can attest, replicating the American fracking boom is a lot easier said than done.