Vanguard (Lagos)

12 February 2013

Africa: Expatriate Oil Workers Highest Paid in Africa

Expatriate workers in the Nigerian oil and gas sector are the highest paid in Africa and 11 most paid in the world, with an average annual salary of N22.246 million ($140,800), according to a global oil and gas salary survey.

The survey, titled, 'Oil and Gas Global Salary Guide 2013,' published by Hays, a global recruitment firm, also revealed that local workers in the Nigeria's oil and gas sector are the second highest paid in Africa, after South Africa and 26th in the world, with an average salary of N8.706 million ($55,100).

The survey, released weekend, which was based on the responses of 25,000 people working in the oil and gas industry across 53 countries, reported that South Africa's local workers in the country's oil and gas sector are the highest paid in Africa, with an annual average salary of $75,300 (N11.897 million).

The survey showed that local workers in Australia's oil and gas sector are the highest paid in the world with an annual average salary of $163,600 (N25.849 million).

The report also stated that expatriates in Australia's oil sector are the highest paid globally, with an annual average salary of $171,000 (N27.018 million) per annum.

Salaries in other African countries

In the eight African countries sampled, Angola's local oil workers were the third highest paid workers in Africa with an annual average salary of $53,700 (N8.485 million), followed by Algerian workers with an annual average salary of $45,200 (N7.142 million) and Libya, with average annual salary of $42,200 (N6.668 million).

Others are Egypt, with average annual salary of $41,900 (N6.62 million); Ghana, with average salary of $40,500 (N6.399 million) per annum, while Sudan trailed with $31,100 (N4.914 million) average annual salary.

In an analysis of the survey, Hays said, 2012 was a good year for many in the oil and gas world with an increase in salaries, benefits and conditions. The same cannot be said for too many other industries and it would not be stretching the truth to state that more wealth has been created in the oil and gas industry than any other over the last 12 months. With nearly every country around the world striving to secure its own energy future, either through exploration, increased production or developing infrastructure, demand for the oil and gas professional, in all its guises, was most definitely high.

"Our headline figure for the average base salary has once again grown to now sit at $87,300*, showing an 8.5 per cent increase on the previous year. Such an increase now accounts for a 14 per cent rise in base salary in two years alone.

"That is significant for an industry employing some five million people worldwide. There were numerous developments contributing to this rise through 2012, not least of which was a proliferation of non-conventional field developments. This was seen by many nations as the route to energy independence and saw a wave of hiring. Indeed many countries eagerly embarked on this path only to discover that the skills didn't exist, at least not in their own country."

"At the top of this year's table we once again see Australia and Norway. Both countries have limited skilled labour pools and significant workloads; the result is very high pay rates, although both would appear to have met some sort of ceiling. Completing the top five on local salaries, we also see New Zealand, Netherlands and Canada.

Where imported salaries are concerned, it is once again the frontiers of the industry that are pushing the upper limits of pay. Representing a mix of danger money and hardship allowance in these base salaries, we find Russia's arctic exploration driving imported skills, and China's drive on non-conventional skills also pulling in experts on premium rates. Along with Australia, the Caribbean hub for oil and gas, Trinidad & Tobago, rounds off the top five importers by salary level.

"The major headwind in the world economy in late 2012 was the slowdown in growth within the Chinese manufacturing sector. It is therefore somewhat surprising that their local and imported salary figures exhibit such growth.

"However, taking a closer look at the market this is clearly a reflection of their quest to become self reliant on energy in the future driving exploration and infrastructure development, than any immediate increase in domestic energy demand. Other countries showing big increases include Iraq, Nigeria, Thailand and Argentina. The first two reflect significant project demand; Argentina is playing catch up on the previous year's sluggish growth; and Thailand is increasingly home to many oil and gas professionals on rotation on offshore facilities in South East Asia or North Western Australia," the report concluded.

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