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Project engineers, estimators, planners and schedulers with FEED experience, cost engineers and boilermakers have been listed as the top five skill shortfalls for the first half of 2020, according to a Hays jobs report.

The report states that a focus on upgrades and improvements is creating high demand for project control professionals, specifically project engineers, estimators and cost engineers.

Hays also reported that planners and schedulers with pre-FEED and FEED experience are in demand.

In Western Australia, Woodside Energy is accelerating its upgrade plans for Scarborough to bring the export trunkline to the Burrup Peninsula. Drilling is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2020, adding to vacancy activity.

A focus on maintenance in the oil and gas sector is creating demand for boilermakers, welders, operators, fitters and HPU technicians, the report added.

Hays also found that skilled operator maintainers are required to carry out operation, production and maintenance activities on active production plants.

In exploration, geologists, drillers, company representatives and rig crews are in high demand.

Hays stated that the West Erregulla (Warrego and Strike Energy joint venture) will be the discovery to watch and was predicted to overtake Cooper Basin supply by 2024.

For new project and upgrades that have innovation as a focus, project engineers and cost and planning engineers will remain in demand in Australia as construction and upgrade project commence, and oil and gas companies compete with mining and construction companies for transferable skills.

In the downstream segment, Hays reported there was an increase in demand for skilled construction candidates and technical engineering professions with experience in major projects.

In line maintenance and engineering services, demand exists for engineering service manager, technicians and mechanical fitters.Engineering consulting firms also require mechanical, electrical and control systems engineers.

Pipeline engineers are sought in response to ongoing works with existing pipelines and infrastructure projects.

Hays outlined energy and gas traders were another area of demand, due to a shortage of suitable candidates. Given the recent focus on production, organisations are leaning more towards commercial supply of products.