INFORMATION NEEDS AND SEEKING BEHAVIOUR OF OIL AND GAS COMPANY WORKERS IN BAYELSA STATE – NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

 This study investigated the information needs and seeking behaviour of oil and gas company workers in Bayelsa State. The descriptive survey design was adopted for this study. The population of the study is 2000 Oil and Gas Company workers drawn from Shell, Agip, ChevronTexaco, ExonMobil, NNPC and LNG Gbaran-Ukubie all in Bayelsa State. A questionnaire titled: Oil and Gas Workers Information Needs Questionnaire (O&GWINQ) was used as the instrument for data collection. As a heterogeneous group a proportionate random sampling technique was used in other to give each of the companies studied an equal opportunity of being represented. The questionnaire was face validated by three experts who read through and made necessary corrections to ensure clarity, proper phrasing, suitability and comprehensiveness of the questionnaire items and corrections made were carefully integrated in the final instrument for data collection. Copies of the questionnaire were distributed to the respondents with the help of two research assistants each from the companies who are also staff in-charge of duty roasters. The questionnaire was collected after five (5) working days. Data gathered was analysed using frequencies, simple percentage and mean. In all, 285 of the 322 copies of the questionnaire were returned and found usable for data analysis. Result revealed health and safety information, oil and gas E&P information, personal welfare and promotion information, surveys/seismic prospecting information as the major information needs of oil and gas workers in Bayelsa State. It also revealed that interpersonal communication with colleagues/expatriates, project Drawings/Data/Alignment Sheets, lecture notes and private diaries from seminars/conferences, suppliers/contractors manuals and field guide books, CD-ROMs and online databases via the internet were the major information sources the oil and gas company workers consults to meet their information needs. Lack of internet access in remote areas onshore/offshore, bureaucracy/difficult company policies on information access, lack of trust on the reliability of existing information sources are the major barriers the oil and gas workers encountered in accessing desired information. The study conclude that based on the findings made an effective information system can be designed which will not only meet the information needs of oil and gas workers in a way that can be understood and applied, but also to draw deeper learning from the findings as it relate to the kind of information oil and gas workers need, the factors that influence their information seeking, information sources they consult, the challenges they encountered in accessing desired information and the likely strategies that could enhance their access to desired information. The study recommend the need for oil and gas companies to provide wireless network services in remote areas for their workers so as to assist them carry out their exploration and production services in the highly remote areas of Bayelsa State. Also Oil and gas company libraries and corresponding information agencies should provide health, safety and emergency information to workers that will enable them to operate safely since this is the major information they need.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Table of content
List of Tables
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Research Question
Significance of the Study
Scope of the Study

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Conceptual Framework
Concept of Information Needs
Concept of Information Seeking Behaviour
Nature of Oil and Gas Industry Operation and Oil and Gas Companies in Bayelsa State
Information needs of oil and gas company workers in Bayelsa State
Information seeking behaviour of oil and gas company workers in Bayelsa State
Factors That Influence Oil And Gas Workers Information Seeking Behaviour
Sources of Information Consulted by Oil and Gas Company Workers
Problems facing Oil and Gas Company Workers Access to Desired Information
Strategies for Enhancing Oil and Gas Workers Access to Information
Review of Empirical Studies
Summary of Literature Review

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHOD
Design of the study
Area of Study
Population of the Study
Sample and Sampling Technique
Instrument for Data Collection
Validation of Instrument
Method of Data Collection
Method of Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS
Research Questions
Summary of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION
Discussion of Findings
Implications of the Findings
Recommendations
Limitations of the Study
Suggestions for further Research
Conclusion

REFERENCES

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
The oil and gas industry involve companies engaged in the exploration, production and distribution of petroleum and natural gas products to meet the energy demands of any given nation. The oil and gas industry involves the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting (often by oil tankers and pipelines) and marketing petroleum products (Majella, 2015). The industry is generally made up of the Upstream and Downstream sectors each with various professionals carrying out specialized services. The upstream sector is commonly known as Exploration and Production sector. Major workers in the downstream sector according to PetroStrategies, INC. (2015) includes chemical/mechanical/industrial engineers, human resource personnel/administrative assistants information technologists, analysts/traders, pipeline workers, plant operators, terminal operators and truckers – tanker drivers, service/filling station attendants etc. These diverse professionals generate and consume oil and gas information in their daily exploration, production, refining, marketing and distribution of petroleum and natural gas products.
The nature of information oil and gas workers needs is mostly scientific/engineering/technology based. This is because more than 65% of the major oil and gas workers are mostly scientists/engineers or technologists. Seventy percent of the workers of the Indian Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) according to Mahapatra (2006) are scientists/technologists and engineers who specialize in various fields such as geology, geophysics, geochemistry, production engineering, drilling engineering, reservoir engineering, petroleum engineering, finance, human resources and information technologists. Thus, oil and gas information is mostly science and technology based in nature.
Oil and gas company workers need information virtually in all areas of the exploration, production and distribution of oil and natural gas products. Oil and gas companies rely on truly vast amounts of information, such as seismic data, geological models, reservoir models, simulations, drilling logs, production measurements, intervention reports and process parameters, for their everyday operations (Hjelle and Monteiro, 2011). According to Srivastava (1995) petroleum industry workers need information on basic areas such as basin geosciences; surveys/seismic prospecting, geochemical prospecting; prospect evaluation; geological laboratory analysis; reservoir and production; drilling equipments/technology and engineering aspects applied to various drilling production operations; petroleum engineering/geology etc. Oil and gas workers also need health and safety information due to the high risk involve in oil and gas exploration/production. They need to access available safety information to stay safe and healthy during work hours. Dalzell (2004) rightly observed that staff must have access to sufficient information to do their job safely, affirming that knowledge is the greatest risk reducer. These and many others are some of the areas of oil and gas workers information needs.
The importance of information to oil and gas professionals is highly irrefutable. New advances are developed almost on daily basis in handling exploration and production. Most advances and development are mainly due to research activities undertaken by oil and gas research scientists/institutes which lead to the proliferation of oil and gas information.  Access to oil and gas information is therefore vital in responding quickly and effectively to the challenges of the oil and gas sector. Consequently, information has become an important element to support oil and gas operations decision making and policy implementation. Information is the key input to the modern exploration and production business in the present era of competitive open market economy (Mahapatra, 2006).

Information needs and seeking behaviour is an aspect of librarianship and information science that deal with the identification of various user needs and how they go about searching for desired information for maximum satisfaction. Information need is an individual or group desire to locate and obtain information to satisfy a given goal or need. While the behavioural patterns adopted by users to obtain desired information for maximum satisfaction is what constitutes information seeking-behaviour. Information needs and seeking behaviour of oil and gas company workers refers to a set of relevant data and information which they need to perform oil and gas operations and how they go about searching for this information. During the course of performing a professional task, the oil and gas workers identifies an existing gap in knowledge that aide their operations and expresses strong desire to obtain the desired information. This burning desire to obtain the needed information in other to fill the missing piece of knowledge is regarded as the information need of oil and gas workers. While the total actions/inactions taken by the workers to meet their information needs are regarded as their information seeking behaviour....... 

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