BHP Billiton recruits for Eagle Ford Shale

Dianna Wray

April 2, 2013 at 10 p.m.
Updated April 2, 2013 at 11:03 p.m.

Alfonso Gonzalez stood in the foyer of the Victoria Country Club, staring at a stack of resumes.

Gonzalez was one of more than 300 people who attended the BHP Billiton hiring fair Tuesday evening in the hopes of getting an oil-field job working the Eagle Ford Shale.

"It seems like a good opportunity," he said. "It's going to be here for a long time, and the pay is great."

The Australian-based company became the biggest outfit working the Eagle Ford Shale play when it bought Petrohawk in 2011.

Petrohawk was one of the initial developers of the Eagle Ford Shale play, unlocking shale oil with slant drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Since buying Petrohawk, the company has been in competition with other oil companies to get the best employees, spokesman Jaryl Strong said.

"The Eagle Ford is such a strong development that it's challenging getting the quantity and the quality of people we need to fill all of the positions," Strong said.

The company invests in natural resources providing energy, with holdings in uranium mining and off-shore drilling rigs. Investing in the Eagle Ford and other shale plays, including some holdings in the Permian Basin in West Texas, made sense for the corporate business model, Strong said.

"We plan on being in business here for a long time to come," he said.

The company currently employs about 1,800 people in the Eagle Ford. By the time they open their Eagle Ford offices in 2016, they anticipate having about 3,000 employees, Strong said.

"We're thinking in decades, not years," he said.

The Victoria Country Club was buzzing with eager voices as men and women filled out applications and talked eagerly with BHP representatives after a slideshow presentation. They were applying to fill between 80 and 90 jobs overseeing construction, working as mechanics, operating technicians, drilling supervisors and completion supervisors.

A raffle ended the two-hour job fair. One applicant grinned as he strode out the door, unsure of a job but holding a new fishing reel.

Gonzalez works in the industrial field, but he is hoping to get hired in the oil-field business because he has a son in college.

"It's a better opportunity and better pay," he said.

He adjusted his baseball cap and looked at the stack of resumes on the table in front of him. It was almost a foot high.



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