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Gas Prices on the Rise Due to Skilled Labor Shortage

If gas prices are higher the next time you fill up the tank, one of the reasons there will be less money in your wallet is a shortage of skilled craft professionals along the Gulf Coast.

Reuters reports that refineries in the region have been forced to postpone some scheduled maintenance due to a lack of skilled craftspeople needed to complete the jobs.

Industrial Information Resources (IIR) “estimates that the coastal region from Brownsville, Texas to New Orleans - the largest U.S. refining region - will be short roughly 37,400 craftsman needed to complete all of the planned capital projects in 2017.” Postponing the upkeep of these plants, in many cases, means slowing production or having to deal with unscheduled outages. Unexpected outages in the past few months have already taken “hundreds of thousands of barrels off the market,” causing a rise in gas prices.

Exacerbating the issue of too few skilled craftspeople in the Gulf Coast region is that, “Refiners are also competing for workers with a broader range of power companies, pharmaceutical firms and industrial manufacturers nationwide, which are also preparing for a spike in maintenance projects in 2017, according to IIR.”

In an attempt to draw in more skilled workers, refiners and contractors are increasing wages and per diem. According to a recent AGC poll, “more than 60 percent of the respondents said they bumped up salaries to attract more skilled craft workers.”

Although pay is increasing, so are the risks on these refinery jobs. According to an industry safety expert,"Putting off work definitely affects the safety of the refinery."

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