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«MANNING THE RIGS: A STUDY OF OFFSHORE EMPLOYMENT IN GHANA’S OIL INDUSTRY AUSTIN DZIWORNU ABLO DEPARTMENT OF GEOGRAPHY UNIVERSITY OF BERGEN SPRING ...»

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MANNING THE RIGS: A STUDY OF OFFSHORE

EMPLOYMENT IN GHANA’S OIL INDUSTRY

AUSTIN DZIWORNU ABLO

DEPARTMENT OF GEOGRAPHY

UNIVERSITY OF BERGEN

SPRING 2012

MANNING THE RIGS: A STUDY OF OFFSHORE EMPLOYMENT IN

GHANA’S OIL INDUSTRY BY

AUSTIN DZIWORNU ABLO

A THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF GEOGRAPHY IN PARTIAL

FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE AWARD OF

MASTER OF PHILOSOPHY DEGREE IN DEVELOPMENT GEOGRAPHY

Spring, 2012 DEDICATION To my mum Rebecca Dutenya and my late dad Geoffrey Worlanyo Ablo for their love and care i

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I thank God for His grace and mercies in my life.

I am grateful to my supervisor Professor Ragnhild Overå for her insightful comments, and support throughout the writing of this thesis. I am also grateful for her facilitation of my field support grant. I also thank Peter Andersen and Tor Halfdan Aase, for their critiques during my presentations which helped shape this thesis. My studies would not have come this far without the support of the Norwegian Government through Lånekassen. I am grateful for the opportunity to study at the University of Bergen. To the Faculty of Social Sciences, thank you for the field support.

I am also thankful to the Nordic African Institute (NAI) for the study grant to use their library and interact with other researchers. Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), I am grateful for the study space and opportunity to interact with students and researchers. To Ivar Kolstad I thank you for making time to comment on my thesis. My thanks also go to Dr. Akosua Darkwa and Professor Agyei-Mensah for your advice during my fieldwork. To my mentor Dr. Joseph Yaro, your continuous advice and guidance has been helpful in bringing me this far. God richly bless you.

My fieldwork would not have been successful without the support of the management and staff of the oil and gas service companies and the international oil companies. Mr. Bonney, Mr. Braimah, Tuffic, Mawuli, Bethel and Gladys thanks to you for all the help you gave me during my fieldwork. Mr. Hanson, you made the necessary calls, and opened the offices for me. I thank you very much for being my gatekeeper during my three months stay in Takoradi.

I am thankful to all the Ghanaian rig workers. Without you this study would not have been possible. You spent time with me, granted interviews, invited me to your homes, shared drinks with me; God bless you all especially Mr. Kotoku and other executives of the rig workers association. I also want to thank Mr. Francis Sallah for your time. The Western Regional Chief Labour Officer Madam Elizabeth you made time out of your busy schedule to respond to my questions; thank you.

–  –  –

I also want to thank my family especially Elorm, Mark, Joshua, Godson, Prosper, Evans and Adams. Your words of encouragement and phone calls were helpful. To my mum Rebecca Dutenya and my late dad Geoffrey Ablo, words cannot describe how grateful I am. Your sacrifice and dedication is what has brought me this far. How you do it I cannot tell but one thing I know is your sacrifice and love is what keeps me going. Thank you.

Soteria, I have known you for many years now and you have been encouraging, supportive and most importantly loving and caring. Thanks so much.

To all who have helped in diverse ways thank you.

iii ABSTRACT Since the discovery of oil in Ghana, expectations for the oil to stimulate economic development are high. Essential to economic development as an outcome of resource exploitation is local participation. This study examined Ghanaian participation in the offshore sector. The general objective of the study is to explore the offshore employment opportunities, challenges and outcomes for Ghanaians in the emerging oil and gas industry. The specific objectives are to examine (a) the processes involved in getting recruited to a rig (b) employment opportunities available for Ghanaians (c) how the employment opportunities are gendered (d) which categories of Ghanaians get employed (e) the role of social network in the employment process and (f) how offshore employment made an impact in the lives of rig workers.

To achieve the research goals, I used conceptual frameworks derived from theories of social networks (Granovetter 1983, 1995), labour markets (Fields, 2011; Fevre, 1992; Loveridge and Mok 1979) and gender (Padavic and Reskin, 2002). The concepts of ‘strong ties’ and ‘weak ties’ within social networks theory is used to identify and analyse how rig workers get to hear about employment opportunities. It has been found that access to information through social contacts influences the types of jobs they get. Using gender and feminists, theories the study found that ideologies of gender appropriate work influence the employment opportunities of both men and women. The concept of intersectionality identified that, people face multiple challenges in their search for offshore jobs. From a labour market perspective, the human capital difference between men and women influence the demand for their labour and their career decision.





A sample of 70 informants comprising 59 men and 11 women were interviewed. Findings from the study include the following: (i) the employment opportunities available for Ghanaians are in the low echelon jobs, (ii) employers prefer to recruit people with previous offshore experience, (iii) men have better chances of employment and career advancement than women—socio-cultural structures and beliefs of gender appropriate work limits women’s offshore employment opportunities. Social networks have been found to be crucial in the employment process and outcome; it influenced the type of work people get and is gendered.

These and other empirical findings are discussed in details in the thesis.

–  –  –

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

ABSTRACT……………………………………………………………………..…………….iv LIST OF MAPS

LIST OF FIGURES…………………………………………………………………………...ix LIST OF TABLES…………………………………………………………………………….ix LIST OF PLATES…………………………………………………………………………….ix ABBREVIATIONS……………………………………………………………………………x CHAPTER ONE: Introduction.…………………………….…..……………...…………1

1.1 Introduction

1.2 The Study Area

1.3 Problem Overview

1.4 Research Question………………….….………………………………….………………..6

1.5 Organisation of the Study

CHAPTER TWO: The natural resource paradox, local content policy and employment in ghana

2.1 The paradox of natural resource abundance in Africa

2.2 Ghana’s Local Content Policy

2.3 The Employment Scenario in Ghana

2.3.1 Changing gender dimensions of employment

CHAPTER THREE: Theoretical Framework

3.1 Labour Market theories

3.1.1 Neoclassical labour market theories………..…………………...…….……………14

–  –  –

3.1.3 Segmented labour market critique of neoclassical labour market……..…….….....16

3.2 Gender and work.

3.2.1 Gender roles………………...…………...……………………………………………20 3.2.2 Persistence of segregation from feminist/gender perspectives

3.2.3 Persistence of segregation from human capital/neo-classical perspectives............. 23 3.2.4 Persistence of segregation from institutional perspectives

3.3 Intersectionality

3.4 Social network theory

3.4.1 Strong ties and weak ties

3.5 Conclusion………………………………………………...……………………………...33 CHAPTER FOUR: Methodology

4.1 The first phase of fieldwork

4. 2 Role and status during fieldwork: outsider and insider perspective of research............... 37

4.3 Sample population

4.4 Methods of Data Collection

4.4.1 Interviews

4.4.2 Group Interviews

4.4.3 Participant Observation

4.4.4 Photo Elicitation

4.4.5 Case Studies

4.4.6 Data Analysis

4.5 Ethical Issues in Research

4.6 Validity and Reliability of Data

4.6.1 Validity…………………………………..…………………………………………………….52

–  –  –

CHAPTER FIVE: Offshore employment process and job opportunities available for Ghanaians

5.1 The Recruitment Process

5.1.1 Regionalization of recruitment

5.1.2 Variations in the conditions of service provided by recruitment companies............ 60

5.2 Offshore Employment opportunities for Ghanaians.

5.3 The Ghanaian rig workers

5.4 Social networks used in getting offshore jobs

5.5 Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………..69 CHAPTER SIX: Rig work and employment outcomes

6.1 Women's work and men's work....…………………………………………...…………...70

6.2 In a Man’s World: differences in access to jobs

6.3 Do men and women have equal opportunities for career advancement on the rig?........... 75

6.4 Economic impact of offshore employment in the household

6.5 Business opportunities for rig workers wives

6.6 Challenges in offshore employment

6.6.1 Labour conflicts

6.7 Offshore employment gender roles and marriage

6.7.1 Increase responsibilities and change in child care roles

6.7.2 Offshore work and marriage

6.8 Conclusion……………………………………………...………………………………...84

–  –  –

7.1 Getting a rig job

7.1.1 Offshore employment and labour market perspectives

7.1.2 Segmented labour market perspective

7.2 Contacts, information and offshore employment

7.2.1 The role of social network in offshore employment

7.2.2 Forms and consequences of social networks used in offshore employment............. 91

7.3 Men and women on the rigs

7.3.1 Gender ideologies

7.3.2 Gender division of jobs

7.4 Intersectionality and offshore work

7.5 Gendered consequences of offshore employment………….……………………………..96 7.5.1 Child care responsibilities in the household of rig workers

7.6 Conclusion……………………………………………………………..…………………97 CHAPTER EIGHT: Summary and conclusion

8.1 Summary of findings

8.1.1 The Recruitment Process

8.1.2 Gender-intersectionality and work

8.1.3 Social networks

8.2 Conclusion

References

APPENDICES

APPENDIX ONE: Questionnaire for rig workers

APPENDIX TWO: Interview guide for employers

APPENDIX THREE: Interview guide for expatriates and officials of rig companies.......... 117

–  –  –

LIST OF MAPS Map 1: A map of Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis……………………………………………….4 Map 2: A regional map of Ghana showing the catchment area of the offshore labour market ………………………………………………………………………………………………...59

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1: A conceptual model of social networks in offshore employment: strong and weak ties…………………………………………………………………………………………….32

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1: Profile of expatriates interviewed………………………………..………………….42 Table 2: Profile of Ghanaian officials interviewed…………………………………….……..43 Table 3: Profile of rig workers surveyed……………………………..………………………45 Table 4: The most common occupation of Ghanaians……………………………………….63 Table 5: Background of rig workers surveyed…………………………………………….…66 Table 6: Social contacts used in access to jobs……………………………………….………68

LIST OF PLATES

Plate 1: Participant in an executive meeting with the rig workers association………..…...…40 Plate 2: A pre-departure briefing for rig workers……………………………………………..47 Plate 3: A prayer section prior to rig workers departure offshore…………………………….47 Plate 4: A training section of the rig workers association………………………………….....48 Plate 5: Student mopping floor on a rig………………………………………………………48 Plate 6: Student with some rig workers after interview…………………………..…………..48 Plate 7: Student during observation on a rig…………………………………….……………48 Plate 8: Ghanaian roughnecks assisted by expatriate toolpusher………………….………….49 Plate 9: A dishwasher getting the mess ready for breakfast on a rig.…………...…...….……70 Plate 10: A chef serving supper on a rig…………………………………….………..………70

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