Darren Grainger, NES Managing Director of the Middle East, gives his predictions for the energy sector for the region, including the likely vacancy hotspots for oil and gas and power.

Oil and Gas

2017 saw many oil and gas companies focus on consolidation, with many of the national oil companies looking to join assets. Grainger expands by saying:

“ADNOC is now exploring the option of combining efficiencies with ZADCO and ADMA-OPCO and has identified key projects with macroeconomic objectives. Oman is planning to diversify its oil and hydrocarbons into the downstream sector, with mega-industrial cities being highlighted and defined for design, procurement, and construction in areas such as Duqm”.

The UAE has focused on gas exploration with new power stations in the pipeline, but has also seen a huge drive towards renewables. Oman has also identified gas as a key objective for 2018 and there are a number of either new gas plants or extensions to existing gas plants forecast. 

Saudi Arabia is also a key growth area with multi-billion dollar spend on LTAs (Long Term Agreements) with Aramco contracts that will allow global engineering, procurement, construction, and installation services for upstream field developments to acquire new investment opportunities and improve onshore and offshore assets.


“Increased capacity has been targeted at 3.3% year-on-year, so there is definitely further growth required for the power industry in the Middle East. The first nuclear projects will be commissioned and become operational in the UAE, but there are also talks of a nuclear power plant in Saudi Arabia- another first for the country" says Grainger.

Compared to regions such as Europe and parts of East Asia, the nuclear sector is still very new in the Middle East, which is bound to be a challenge for the region over the coming year. However, Grainger believes this will be an opportunity at the same time: "The Middle East’s population is growing rapidly, which presents an abundance of talent for new infrastructure projects, power stations, shared power grids and much more.”

The region's clean energy targets are influencing the activity in nuclear and renewables, but gas will remain the largest power contributor, generating over 60% of the total power, solidifying the need for further gas projects.

Energy Job Hotspots in the Middle East

Finding local talent will still be the primary concern for most companies, but there is a new hunger for knowledge-transfer in the new industrial cities such as Jazan (Saudi Arabia) and Duqm (Oman).

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company's recent five year plan for growth highlighted maximising value by leveraing synergies. Grainger explains that "The national oil companies are going to be right at the forefront of implementing efficiencies and targeting new growth opportunities. I think this indicates not only a push for local talent but also a reliance on the wider regions, such as Asia, Europe, and the US. There is a real opportunity for these regions to get involved with the Middle East’s developments in 2018.”

NES Global Talent is working with Middle Eastern energy companies to diversify the downstream oil and gas sector, and providing staffing solutions to the power and renewables sectors for both existing and new projects. Click here to browse NES Global Talent’s latest jobs.

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