A broad discipline, geoscientists study the Earth's structure and formation, analysing rocks to explore their natural mineral and energy resources. Geoscientists are often involved in the discovery and development of commercially viable and exploitable reserves of natural resources, such as oil, gas, minerals, and water, while others work in areas such as seismology, volcanology, environmental protection, land reclamation, or oceanography.
Recognising that geoscientists perform vital roles in the oil and gas sector, which in one way or another affects everyone on this planet, produced revenues of some $3.3 trillion in 2019 and comprises some 3.8% of the global economy. Operations Geoscience International Competency Assessment (OGICA), a UK-registered, not-for-profit collective of experienced energy industry professionals has created an online self-assessment tool to benchmark individuals' skills and identify skills gaps within the international operational geoscience community.
The tool was developed by OGICA in association with the digital learning and assessment specialists eCom Scotland and is intended principally for those working operationally in upstream oil and gas geosciences.
Having introduced the system to geoscientists in Europe and then outlined the system to geoscientists in North America - via the Canadian GeoConvention, held online, last September - OGICA's Christine Telford is scheduled to speak about the online assessment tool in a webinar on 22 March for Esanda Engineering, which is based in Australia.
Telford explained, "The online assessment is a cost-effective universal tool for all operations geoscientists to assess their skills and identify skills gaps. This is available online at any time to geoscientists around the world.
"Historically, employers and professional organisations appraise practitioners' abilities based on education, references, continuing professional development (CPD), and work experience, together with organisational membership.
"While these are important components of a Competency Management System (CMS), they don't validate the proficiency for the practitioner. OGICA believes what's needed to begin this process is an impartial technical skills assessment. In fact, given the importance of geoscientists' work in the oil and gas sector and therefore, their significance in maintaining safe operations, this objective self-assessment tool is just the impartial technical skills assessment that this profession needs."
The system's three modules are an online booking management system; the online self-assessment system itself, powered by eCom's online assessment system, eNetAssess; and the third module, powered by eCom's digital micro-credentialing tool, eNetBadges, which issues candidates with a digital badge to recognise their learning experiences and achievement. This badge has metadata embedded in it, with details of the issuer and the skills levels the candidate has achieved.
So far, oil companies and service company employees, independent consultants, and one major oil and gas company in the Middle East are using the assessment framework in house, and several major international operators are currently exploring how the framework can support their activities.