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Aker Energy supports skills devt

BY: Charles Benoni Okine
 Mr Egbert Faibile (2nd left), CEO, Petroleum Commission, interacting with other dignitaries after the forum
 Mr Egbert Faibile (2nd left), CEO, Petroleum Commission, interacting with other dignitaries after the forum

Norwegian oil giant, Aker Energy, has provided a total of $4.5 million to help the government to build the competencies of about 1000 Ghanaians in various competencies in the oil and gas value chain in the country.

This forms part of the government’s flagship programme in the fledging sector christened, “Aspirated Oil and Gas Capacity Building Project” meant to build the capacities of Ghanaians to be able to meaningfully take part in the sector.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Petroleum Commission, Mr Egbert Faibille, who announced this at a special SME summit in Houston, Texas, on Monday said the training had started and noted that “something dramatic will happen in that space in the next few months.”

The summit, organised by the American Chamber of Commerce, Ghana, Petroleum Commission, Ghana Houston Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Energy, was attended by a large crowd of players in the oil and gas sector from across the world. It was on the sidelines of the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) which is in its 50th year.

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Mr Faibile, who was answering a question from the floor regarding the building of capacity and internship programmes for the young graduates, said even before the government’s capacity building programme, the commission was also undertaking a project dubbed: the ‘Ghana Upstream Sector Internship Programme’ where a significant number of Ghanaian youth had been exposed to various internship opportunities for young graduates.

He said many of such graduates were now working with some of the big oil and gas companies such as Tullow and Kosmos in the country.

While acknowledging the desperation of the young graduates to get employment right from school, he urged them to be patient enough to take up roles from the lower ends and gain the experience over time.

“You need to be patient to rise because right from school, no company will employ you to a high position in management because you do not have the experience.

Many of our big guys you see in big positions rose through the ranks and gained a lot of experience so you also need to flow same,” he said.

Onshore policy

With regard to opportunities in the onshore oil exploration space, he said the commission would soon consider the development of a policy paper for the consideration of cabinet.

That, he said, was to help guide the prospects in the onshore space adding “presently, what we have is more tilted towards offshore exploration.

Company registration

In clarifying a question on the registration of companies in the oil and gas space, he said, there was the need for the companies to specifically state what business or area their companies were registered to do.

That, he said, would help the commission to track their progress and also help them to stay focused.

“We are, however, open when companies want to add on by expanding their scope so do not try to hide anything because we will not stop you from adding on.

All we want is to see exactly what you are doing,” he said.

Engineering JVs

Mr Faibille expressed regret that some Ghanaians who were supposed to be doing the engineering joint ventures (JVs) were not doing so.

“We are asking them to employ engineers of their own. We see some engineering experts providing just administrative support and that is not helping much to build capacity,” he said.

However, he said gradually, after some intervention by the commission, the situation was reversing and urged the Ghanaian companies in that sector to do more because by so doing, they would be helping to transfer knowledge.

Encouragement

The president of AMCHAM, Ghana, Mr Joe Mensah, asked Ghanaians in the diaspora to venture into the oil and gas sector irrespective of the challenges.

“Some of us came into the country and have succeeded and so we know you can also succeed if you want to,” he said.