September 30, 2016 The oil and gas sector is still trying to get to grips with the doom and gloom surrounding the energy industry after the incredible tumble of oil prices of 2014. With layoffs and cuts at major energy firms in Malaysia and around the region, it might appear that the sector has fewer opportunities at the moment. However, job seekers should not overlook one of the country’s largest revenue streams. Despite a falling annual share since 2010, it is still a significant source of government income. Malaysians can still view oil and gas as a viable longer term career path and here are two clear signs that are showing just that. The industry is focusing on recovery and a stronger future Oil and gas is a cyclical sector and Malaysia, like the rest of the world, is currently experiencing a downturn. What is now a painful period of trimming costs and operations is in fact an exercise on improving efficiency and preparing for a long-term plan. The stage is set in late 2016 and onwards for price rallies, increased demand (due to the current lower supply) and leaner, more efficient structures. This will lead to companies restructuring their departments, while Malaysia’s vibrant merger and acquisition market should acquire more personnel to drive improved structures. To the job seeker, this could mean more opportunities and more jobs in the near future, especially considering that there are more than 3,500 oil and gas companies in Malaysia (source: Malaysian Investment Development Authority). Projects that have been on hold are taking off In Malaysia, the Petronas-owned refinery and petrochemical integrated development (RAPID) complex in Johor reached its halfway stage in mid-2016, preparing for full start up in 2019. Once it starts operation, Malaysia is expected to be producing European standard energy products for the increasing demand in the Asia and Pacific region. In the same period, Petronas also signed a deal with JX Nippon Oil & Energy for liquefied natural gas (LNG), acting on rising LNG demand owing to economic growth in the region. The deal will see the Japanese company investing some $550 million in an LNG plant in Sabah, due to begin operations as early as next year. And of course, in Miri, Sarawak, the “oil town of Malaysia”, opportunities are already starting to emerge. A simple search online for Miri job vacancies will show a healthy percentage of oil and gas related careers looking to be filled, with Petronas committing to train more Sarawakians to fill vacant positions. Assistant Minister for Tourism, Datuk Lee Kim Shin, noted that the move was apt as “Sarawak is the home of oil and gas industry.” These and other positive developments for the oil and gas industry hint at greater promise and better opportunities in Malaysia whether you are a first-time job seeker or an experienced worker looking to switch career paths.