Continued falling oil and gas prices have caused extensive challenges for the energy sector. This obstacle affects all segments of the industry because the market prices achieved don’t allow for profitable exploration, production, research and development.
Understandably as businesses look to review all costs and become as lean and efficient as possible, travel is one of the first areas to be assessed. Whilst we’d all agree that getting people to where they need to be is business critical, there are always ways to be more efficient.
Lowering spend and cutting costs are the realities of doing business in difficult times. And issues that can increase costs come under more scrutiny. That means that the time and accuracy pressures associated with having the right people in the right locations becomes ever more important.
In fact, whilst many of our clients in the oil and gas sectors are looking to reduce their travel costs, they are also looking for greater expertise and intelligence in order to be more efficient in the future.
The nature of offshore travel is that it has many complexities, handles the logistics of mobilising hundreds of crew members and essential workers on a weekly basis and deals with a huge amount of last minute departure changes. If you don’t have a seasoned expert handling this area of your business it is of course, going to get expensive.
A late arrival of a crew member, or rig personnel without the right visa or training, can cause a project delay. Critical workers not being in the right place can cost much, much more than the price of an airline ticket.
Working with a specialist travel management company (TMC) who understands offshore travel does, in fact, mean that you can take advantage of many tools that will help with driving down costs. Technology that integrates with your HR systems ensures that only crew that already hold the right passports and visas, inoculations or qualifications can be added to a rota. When rotas are finalised, there is no additional requirement to tell your TMC, they can book the travel logistics or renew visas that due to expire without waiting to be instructed.
An offshore travel specialist also understands, and plans for, the risks involved in moving people around to some of the most remote locations in the world. Having contingency plans to be able to rebook onward journeys when bad weather prevents helicopter take off or a rig needs evacuation is just scratching the surface.
The management information from comprehensive reporting tools allows energy businesses to track areas of high travel expenditure in their business. A TMC can identify areas for more efficiency or provide recommendations on policies that enhance cost control. Until you have the clear facts, it is very difficult to make sensible cost reducing plans that won’t impact your ability to strive for greater production or exploration.
The oil and gas sector is well versed in handling dramatic price swings and in planning for a stronger future. A more strategic approach to travel is just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle to drive efficiencies that will work for the long term.
Gary Pearce is the Houston-based chief commercial officer of ATPI Griffinstone, a specialist division of the global travel and events business, the ATPI Group, powering the shipping, offshore and energy sectors. ATPI Griffinstone is the result of the acquisition of Griffin Travel by the ATPI Group in November 2014.
Image from ATPI.