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Consultant Partner Programs – A Competitive Advantage for Oil & Gas Projects

The worldwide energy industry is experiencing explosive growth, but small projects ($500K-$4MM) are often ignored. For the super-majors this can create a significant backlog.  For mid-majors, pioneering independents, engineering and construction firms, and oilfield service companies, these projects can be a key enabler for the growth of their company. The challenge with so many projects being available is that most companies don’t have enough employees to cover them, and these projects are typically not a fit for an Engineering, Procurement & Construction firm due to their overhead. This leaves energy companies without a readily available solution. This is the perfect opportunity for experienced independent contractors and “boutique” consulting firms to step up, step in, and handle the work.

Many consulting firms and independent contractors are not taking full advantage of this situation.  For the independent contractor, working alone may result in shorter-term assignments, a greatly reduced pay rate to be competitive against another contractor for the same job, or spending their own time and money to get the required business insurance and training to be eligible for a project. The boutique consulting firm has many of the same issues and also wants to reduce overhead.

To solve these problems for the contractor community and at the same time create a solution for oil and gas companies, contractors and consulting firms should adopt the Energy Industry’s culture of cooperation. By partnering together, they can create the critical mass to not only engage and complete the initial projects, but also enable future business opportunities for each participant.  Here are three reasons why contractors and consulting firms should partner together.

Faster Access to Project Opportunities 

For the super-majors, and mid-majors, a Consultant Partner Program can be a much needed clearinghouse for small projects giving them a solution to their small project backlog. For pioneering independents, engineering and construction firms and oilfield service companies, this is a critical enabler for their growth. Client companies with a Consultant Partner Program relationship can contact that firm first in order to staff their smaller projects versus sourcing independent contractors or consulting firms directly. This combines company-referred independent contractors with vetted consulting firms already in the program.  The result is a Partner Project Team that can not only fully staff the company’s project with the right experience and ‘know-how’, but can also take project management responsibility. The combination of staffing with project management as a single cost is a competitive advantage for utilizing Partner Project Teams, and can create up to 40% or more in savings.

Project-Based Work Optimizes Knowledge and Experience 

Typically, independent contractors and boutique consulting firms are often hired on an assignment basis, which may mean they work for just a few months and then move onto their next contract. However, with the current demand in the industry there are many benefits to partner and align for project based opportunities rather than an individual assignment. Working on a larger project usually means longer-term employment and can result in a portfolio that showcases work on a project level, not an assignment level. Projects by nature have a balance of risk and reward and often can be more financially attractive; paying more than an individual assignment as the value of knowledge optimization is recognized. Successful partners are sought after because of their known accountability and predictable results. There is also the incentive for additional bonuses, such as completion ahead of schedule, maintaining safety compliance, coming under budget, etc. Consultants can also keep the identity of their small company and have their brand recognized.

Partner Programs Reduce Overhead

A Consultant Partner Program can work toward reducing redundant overhead costs for the project team.  For example, most oil and gas companies require special insurance for offshore projects, which can be a huge cost or even financially impossible for an individual contractor or boutique consulting firm to obtain.  The partner program may also provide a client specific single source that ensures for items such as:

  • HSE Compliance
  • Drug & Alcohol Screening
  • Background Checks
  • Client Company Billing and Collections

For small consulting firms acting on their own, the above not only takes time and effort, but can represent a large part of their revenue. Working with a Partner Program allows consultants to focus on their work, instead of being preoccupied with such business details.

A Culture of Cooperation

There are a host of new oil and gas companies that can benefit from a Consultant Partner Program and Project Teams that are cost-effective and vetted.  This is a winning situation for experienced professionals and consulting firms where banding together can mean more projects and earning more money with less stress and overhead.

Clover specializes in placing professionals in the oil and gas industry. If you are an Operator seeking to augment Project Teams, contact Jeff.W@clovergs.com

If you are an experienced professional looking for opportunities in the Upstream Industry (Alaska, Eagle Ford Shale Play, Bakken Formation, Deepwater Gulf of Mexico), send your resume in complete confidence to Chris.S@clovergs.com 

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