Court delays construction at ConocoPhillips' oil project
A weekend court ruling has temporarily blocked winter construction at a huge ConocoPhillips oil project on Alaska's North Slope, according to a Reuters report.
U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason issued an order Saturday barring ConocoPhillips from starting planned gravel mining and gravel-road construction at its Willow project, the report states. With an estimated 590 million barrels of oil and the potential to produce 160,000 barrels per day, Willow would be the westernmost operating oil field in Arctic Alaska. First oil is planned as early as 2024, according to ConocoPhillips.
Gleason's injunction came in response to an environmental lawsuit claiming the Trump administration’s Willow approval failed to properly consider wildlife and climate-change impacts. The judge last week rejected environmentalists' request for a more sweeping injunction.
ConocoPhillips has major ownership interests in two of North America’s largest oil fields, both located on Alaska’s North Slope - Kuparuk, which the company operates, and Prudhoe Bay. Additionally, ConocoPhillips operates the Alpine Field, located on the Western North Slope.
Significant oil exploration and development opportunities still exist on the North Slope of Alaska, with 75 percent of the company’s exploration portfolio undrilled. Additionally, the company acquired the Nuna discovery acreage, expanding the Kuparuk River Unit.
ConocoPhillips recently recorded a full-year 2020 loss of $2.7 billion, or ($2.51) per share, compared with full-year 2019 earnings of $7.2 billion, or $6.40 per share, and a Q4 loss of $0.8 billion.
Ryan Lance, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: “There was nothing easy about 2020, but the lessons from the year served to strengthen our conviction that ConocoPhillips offers the right value proposition for this volatile business - free cash flow generation, a strong balance sheet, commitment to differential returns of and on capital and ESG leadership," he said.
"As we enter 2021, our ability to lead the sector in value creation is enhanced by the recent Concho acquisition that creates a best-in-class competitor of scale to thrive in the new energy future."
Concho Resources is one of the largest unconventional shale producers in the Permian Basin, with operations focused on oil and natural gas resources.
Apprenticeships can bridge skills gap says Autodesk director
The UK construction industry needs 216,800 new workers by 2025 to meet rising demand, according to the Construction Skills Network published by CITB.
Even before Covid-19, it was estimated it needs to attract 400,000 new recruits each year to meet the UK’s infrastructure needs.
But given one in three current construction employees are over 50 there is predicted to be a 20-25% decline in the available workforce over the next decade. And with end of the free movement of people from the EU, it has further limited access to skilled talent.
Mike Pettinella, Director, Autodesk Construction Solutions EMEA, believes the solution may be one that is hardly new, but might have taken a back seat during the pandemic.
"Apprenticeships could help us bridge the construction skills gap and meet this rapidly rising demand, and attract a new crop of younger talent to the industry," he said.
"Apprenticeships benefit everyone. For candidates, it’s an opportunity to learn valuable skills without incurring thousands of pounds of student debts. For employers, it’s a chance to train up employees in the competencies that are really needed – combining technical knowledge with collaboration and team work, which are equally important as you enter a new industry. And if you’re a larger company and already required to pay the apprenticeship levy, it makes sense to ensure you’re benefitting from the scheme too."
Marshall Construction recently took on nine new apprenticeships covering various roles. "Some of our previous apprentices have left and started their own businesses, which sets them up for life," said Chairman Robert Marshall. "Most of our current managers came from organic growth within the business whom we have trained to our own standards." Firms such as Barnwood Construction and Keepmoat Homes are also advertising and supporting apprenticeships.
According to the CSN, most English regions will experience an increase in construction workers by 2025, with East Midlands (1.7%) and West Midlands (1.4%) forecast to lead demand. Scotland (1.4%) and Wales (0.7%) are also predicted to fare well. The only region forecast to see a slight decline in workforce is the North East (-0.1%).
Major projects such as HS2 are driving growth in some regions and infrastructure (5.2%) and private housing (6.7%) should see the healthiest pace of expansion by 2025.
The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the future shape of work will be profound. Modelling by the McKinsey Global Institute on the effects of technology adoption on the UK workforce shows that up to 10 million people, or around 30 percent of all UK workers, may need to transition between occupations or skill levels by 2030.