To realize potential economic benefits from activities of discovering developing and producing oil and gas resources, the industry needs one important thing. A lot of competent and trained local people,
With massive deepwater natural gas discoveries and upcoming exploration and production projects, developing local experience is the best way to drive industry growth and stimulate economic and industrial development.
In reality, the shortage of a skilled workforce is the reason why major companies import workers from oversea to handle a job that East Africans could be trained and do.
If you don’t get East African people to be competent enough to fit into what oil and gas companies want, they will import people from oversea that we call them experts.
The hard truth is that one expert you bring into Tanzania can take the employment of about 10 people.
Because the cost of maintaining an international expert is relatively higher.
You need to offer experts very high salary packages, accommodations, school fees for their children and full-blown medical insurance for them and family. That causes capital flight which should be stopped.
From Local Champion to World Class Graduate.
Stakeholders understand that growing local capacity is vital for the successful local oil and gas industry.
Furthermore, oil companies have been offering internships opportunities. Our universities run oil and gas related courses. So, we produce a lot of graduates each year.
While these efforts are to be applauded, but the question lingered in my mind is how prepared are these graduates to meet the needs of the oil and gas industry?
How do you move graduates from local champion to world-class graduates who are responsive to the global oil and gas industry? There is a gap between the quality of what universities develop and the industry demand.
International oil companies have minimum standards in terms of technical capability and knowledge.
If your university fails to meet the standards. You can’t be engaged. To bridge the gap, you must collaborate. You can’t build local experience without strong collaboration.
The first partnership is between local universities with oil and gas curriculums. and international high ranking universities
The second type of collaboration involves private training providers, universities and operating companies.
I strongly believe that, when you look for a common solution to existing problems, you will benefit from collective wisdom and insights
Developing local Professionals to project leaders and project focal points.
As oil price stays low for while, oil and gas companies must reduce the cost of maintaining an international workforce. To bring value at $50 per barrel, you have to develop local experience, train people and move them from just follower to world-class professionals and leader. For example by training staff on how to do seismic acquisition design using his laptop at his office. Companies will save thousands of US dollars that are paid for seismic providers.
Increasing local experience and count on their experiences to lead the industry in their home country which will save a lot of money to use local experiences. But our time to start now or be in the same mess yet again.