By Kiana Wilburg
Deficiencies in a country’s education and training systems can be major barriers to the participation of locals in the oil and gas sector. But petroleum companies can be called on to play an instrumental role in addressing these issues.
This was noted by the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA). Headquartered in London, IPIECA develops, shares and promotes good practice and knowledge with oil producing nations.
The Association said that by investing in local education and training institutions, oil majors are actually able to reduce the requirement to provide basic training internally. IPIECA said that this approach also has the added advantages of supporting wider skills development in the local economy and promoting the company’s long-term reputation as a good corporate citizen.
It stressed that company investments in these areas can even enhance rather than replace statutory funding.
To further cement its argument, IPIECA showed how Russia was able to benefit substantially from mandating that companies invest in the development of its training and educational institutions.
It pointed out that Norwegian multinational energy company, Statoil, now called Equinor ASA, invested substantially in building the capacity of educational institutions in North West Russia.
IPIECA said, “Statoil has invested significant resources in developing the capacity of local education institutions in North West Russia—a region of growing importance for the company. At Pomor State University, Statoil has contributed financially and in the form of technical assistance to the development of a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree focusing on petroleum management.”
The Association continued, “Developed in collaboration with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), this programme also receives funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Emphasis is on building the skills and capacity of Pomor University itself. The first two groups of BBA students have recently graduated. Statoil also helped to initiate a technology transfer programme between the Arkhangelsk State Technical University (ASTU) in Russia and the University of Stavanger in Norway.”
As a result, in 2007, the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association said that ASTU expanded its curriculum to include technical courses in advanced drilling technology, offshore technology, and seabed and underwater technology.
Using this as its premise, IPIECA concluded that oil companies can be called upon to take a leading role in making meaningful contributions to a country’s educational institutions, which would result in the participation of more locals in the oil and gas sector.
It said that emerging oil producers like Guyana can learn from Russia and certainly demand same of operators here.
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