Adriatic Oil Drilling and the Great Jobs Myth

February 10th 2015
Oilman Becomes Milkman as Norway's Best Jobs Disappear

The headline from today’s bloomberg.com article says it all. With the drop in the oil prices, Norway’s aging wells and decreasing production, Norway is anticipating further job loss in the oil industry where, “As many as 40,000 jobs could disappear out of about 250,000 nationwide.” Workers in the UK and France are also experiencing the pains of this cyclical industry. The worldwide jobs toll in the oil industry has already topped 30,000.

Will this give Ivan Vrdolak and Barbara Dorić something to think about as they continue to promote black gold as the economic saviour of the Croatian economy, turning Croatia into a “Little Norway”. Is their optimism even realistic?

Recently Barbara Dorić stated that the contractors for the oil exploration and exploitation will be giving preference to hiring a ‘local workforce’. The truth (the actual contracts) state that job preference is to be given to EU and Croatian workers, same for any required equipment.

So what jobs will be available for Croatians, of whom 20% are currently unemployed? What about the unemployed youth, with an unemployment rate hovering close 50%? None sadly.

According to Commodity Appointments a staffing agency that caters to the oil industry commenting for an Energy World article, “Oil & Gas is also one of the few industries where people in their 50’s are highly sought after. You don’t entrust a 35 year old with a project costing billions of dollars”.

Most employers take a degree of comfort hiring someone who has begun their career in a supermajor such as Shell, Exxon, BP, Conoco, etc.

Even taking into consideration the next 30 years of exploitation, how can Croatians expect to fare when competing against other European nationals. Again, low expectations. According to this European Engineering Report Croatia has one of the lowest rates of engineering graduates. And when Croatia’s youth are measured against the rest of the world for aptitide in science and engineering, their scores are also well below the European average.


With thousands of experienced oil professionals being let go by the big players in Europe, it seems there will be more than enough experienced workers to staff the rigs. The likelyhood of “two drilling rigs constucted for each exploration block and built by Croatian shipyards” as claimed by Ivan Vrdolak, also hovers around a less than 1 percent chance of actually happening.

While optimism can be an admirable trait in some cases. The promises of the politicians that fail to factor in reality, should be considered completely unethical. They are purposely misleading the public with their false claims, and the news organizations and political organizations that continue to repeat these statements without performing any type of verification should be shamed as well.

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