Oil industry, oil prices…and me


When all my friends were opting for computer and electronics engineering as their career options, I opted for the most unconventional branch,Petroleum. It had only 30 seats in the state of Maharashtra so I thought getting a job would be much easier. However, the most important reason was that I didn’t want to be the part of 1000’s of computer engineers who would end up coding!!! When I told my friends that I had opted for petroleum engineering, they mocked at me and said, “if you won’t end up getting a job, at least you can own a petrol pump”. I knew I was taking a risk, a big risk…

Oil industry in India isn’t as blooming or famous as it is in USA. People in India don’t know about the Oil industry hence are scrupulous to send their kids to this stream. In 2003 the Indian scenario was totally bad, there were very few private players and the national oil was not paying much so people didn’t want to enter this field.

However, by the time I reached my last year of Engineering, the oil industry in India was blooming. Companies such as Shell, Schlumberger, Reliance, Cairn, Halliburton, Baker Hughes were hiring people in a lot!!! I too got hired in a campus recruitment drive . I was on cloud 9, I was happy that the seed I sowed (risk) has resulted in a fruit.

In 2009, the world was hit by recession and so was the petroleum industry. My friends were getting fired, it was a depressing scene. Everyone used to talk about their back up plans. Some were single, a few were married and some had their household responsibilities. Overall it was an awful year for the people in the industry as well as students. There were only 2-3 companies who had come for recruitment at our college campus. It took 3 years and the advent of shale gas exploration technology for the upturn in the industry trend. People were going for offshore assignments, there were more than one job for graduates, the Oil industry was blooming.

It’s 2015 and the industry is again hit by recession. The oil price as of 20th August was $46, which slumped down from $120 last year. Almost everyday I get a call from someone informing me about his/ her company policy. Schlumberger has already fired around 11000 people, shell has geared to fire up to 9000, same is the story with BP, Halliburton, Exxon and others. With the nuclear deal with Iran I am sure the oil prices may hit abysmal. It will be difficult for the companies to operate at lower oil prices. On one hand the companies are suffering and on the other we!! We are stressed, depressed and can’t concentrate on their work. Many of my close friends were laid off, I can hardly imagine their mental and economical (??) situation . I won’t say economical as Oil industry pays enough to survive without job for at least 2-3 years. However, the industry changes the lifestyle and then the money that can be used for 2-3 years, is spent in 2-3 months. (from Addy’s experience)

Today, while writing this I am extremely tensed. I don’t know what will happen to my job. I don’t know whether I would be able to survive the lay off season. I don’t say job is everything for me, but I do know that my job has given me something very important, my identity.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Reader says:

    Madhavi it’s good article. At certainly some points I am competely disagree. It’s not only oil industry, whole world is gradually moving towards recession. A big recession !! IT firms are sitting without any major projects. We are the key drivers. If we fall, eventually every one will.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Madhavi, its a phase. We will sail through it

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Manager with a few years of experience at a company you listed above says:

    Hi Madhavi,

    Its human nature to react when things are looking bad. But always remember don’t let your thoughts control your actions. Oil and gas industry has always a cyclical industry. You party when oil price is high and you work harder when it is low. It’s your attitude and courage that will help you pull through. Do the best, be the best at what you do and you will never have to worry about your job anymore (recession or no recession).


    Liked by 2 people

  4. Diogenes says:

    In this side of the world has been a nightmare for many ppl I know. I’m really grateful for still having a job… Thank u for reminding me that life is made of ups and downs, with happy endings. Wit love 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anon says:

    You sure do write well. Being with Sperry, I sure can relate with your write up. People, with whom I shared half my work life, my next seat colleagues have all been let go. Its surely a very depressing scene in service companies, more so with Sperry. When I read through this, I feel depressed that the industry has slumped so bad, that good people were let go. Many left with bitter memories and tears ! I sure do not have a plan B.

    I don’t know if I could thank the almighty enough for giving me a good rotation for 15 years, for giving me salary that was above par with some of my peers.

    I am on the verge of losing my job, however the only regret is I wish I had not given so much priority in life to making money at the cost of my family, my friends.

    God, if only I could be more humble and more human …if I get the oilfield opportunity again !


    1. Thanks for reading the article and also wish you all the very best!


  6. You will survive i am sure !! Don’t worry !!

    All the best !


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