INFORMATION NEEDS AND SEEKING BEHAVIOUR OF OIL AND GAS COMPANY WORKERS IN BAYELSA STATE – NIGERIA
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, Chevron, Texaco, 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.