Competition for workers shortening offshore assignments

HOUSTON — Four weeks on and four weeks off has been a traditional way of life for offshore workers. But that’s changing as competitive pressure grows for those who spend their working lives working on drilling rigs and other off-shore vessels.

New companies have come on the scene and to get the workers they need, they’re offering two weeks on and two weeks off, said Whitney Brady, oil and gas division manager for Faststream Recruitment Group in Houston. Others are offering a three week on, three week off schedule.

“It’s a very small world,” said Brady. The competition is so specialized that if one company makes a change, other companies find they have to follow suit or face the chance they’ll lose the workers they need to staff their rigs and platforms.

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The change is driven in part by younger workers who want more time onshore and prefer a shorter rotational schedule, said Mark Charman, chief executive officer for Faststream, who, along with Brady, is visiting the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

Companies also are improving the amenities they offer on board to differentiate themselves, said Charman. Improvements include single occupancy cabins, on-rig cinemas and five-star dining.

But as things change, some  long-time industry players are finding it difficult to adjust their month on, month off schedules, said Charman.

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