teaming up

Houston software company taps new Norwegian partnership to advance energy transition

A Houston company is hoping to make an impact on Norwegian companies navigating the energy transition. Photo by Pavel Danilyuk/Pexels

A Houston-based human resource tech platform has announced a new partnership that hopes to help Norwegian energy companies that are navigating the energy transition.

Kahuna Workforce Solutions has teamed up with Norwegian operating services provider PXO AS to provide operations readiness and assurance infrastructure to Norway’s energy sector. Both companies reportedly have Norwegian customers already, and Kahuna brings its software platform while PXO has technical and field experience.

“PXO represents everything we look for in a partner as we strive to ensure successful and rapid adoption of competency-based training and development programs,” Jai Shah, CEO of Kahuna Workforce Solutions, says in a news release. “As a company that works with many of the same customers as PXO, we’ve seen their expertise firsthand. It is clear they are the right partner to help us not only address the current needs of the energy industry but also pioneer innovative solutions that will shape the future of competency readiness and assurance in Norway.”

Both companies reportedly have Norwegian customers already, and Kahuna brings its software platform while PXO has technical and field experience.

“Just as we serve as a bridge between project and operation phases, Kahuna equips enterprises with validated competency data,” Leif Olav Moe, CEO of PXO, says in the release. “By uniting our technical and operational expertise with their cutting-edge competency management solutions, we are delivering a unique solution unlike anything the market has yet to provide—signifying our commitment to building a more skilled and competitive workforce to ascertain safer and more efficient operations.”

Reuters reports that in 2024, Norway is expected to see $22 billion in investments from oil and gas companies. The partnership between Kahuna and PXO hopes to capitalize on this opportunity and support "streamlining skills validation and aligning operational standards with expanding ESG initiatives and emerging technologies," per the release.

“When you combine our capabilities with PXO’s extensive experience in supporting operations with strategic training and competency services, there is no other competency management solution that comes close to building a skilled, safe, compliant, and competitive workforce," Shah adds.

Last year, Kahuna closed a $21 million series B funding round led by Baltimore-based Resolve Growth Partners. At the time, the software-as-a-service company reported that it would use the fresh funding to continue product development and hire across sales and marketing, product development, customer success, and engineering. The company also will grow to support global customers.

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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