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“$80 per barrel by November” by Piers Johnson

I have a hunch that the Brent crude oil price will be back above $80 per barrel by the end of November 2015. And I am not so quietly confident, that I’ve started telling people this; and judging by the lack of people contradicting me, I am not the only one to think that the oil price will recover over the next six months!

Oil GraphWhat makes me so bullish?  I’ve been in meetings with many major global oil businesses in the last two months and they all have a similar view.  While you may say “they would say that wouldn’t they”, since its low of $49 in January, Brent Crude is up above $65 at the start of June.

What is interesting to note is the impact that employment legislation has on the relative flexibility (or lack of it) that the oil companies have in workforce restructuring. This flexibility has a direct effect on when these oil businesses are forecasting an increase in the use of outsourced technical expertise from companies such as OPC.  For example:

Houston/USA – has highly flexible labour laws and oil companies made significant head-count reductions early in 2015.  Business is already picking up for OPC due to a demand for work that needs to be undertaken, but now with a diminished work-force within these companies

Europe – provides protected employment rights and most oil businesses are undertaking redundancy exercises now.  I am told that demand for technical services will pick up by the end of the summer.

Norway – has strong employment law and work-force consultations are still going on.  Many expats are now leaving and some Norwegians may eventually lose their jobs (which is very unusual). Demand for expert technical services in Norway may not pick up until late 2015 or early 2016. .

Most companies have told me that they will need support at some stage, possibly sooner than the management may like (or realise) – and they cannot re-hire too many permanent staff again in the short term – so the future for technical consulting companies that take a long term partnership approach will be very positive.

Do you agree with Piers, or have a different view?  Join the discussion on the OPC LinkedIn Group