The Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission, Mr. Egbert Faibille, has disclosed that as part of the government’s local content agenda in the petroleum sector, the Commission is to sponsor a 10-month training course of 150 technicians at the Takoradi Technical University.
Mr. Faibille made this known yesterday during an event dubbed ‘Around the World Series’ at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, USA.
Mr. Faibille is part of a government delegation led by the Minister for Energy, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh. Others include senior officials of the Ministry as well as heads and senior managers of various energy sector agencies.
Tracing the background to this development, Mr. Faibille stated that in the Commission’s engagements with International Oil Companies (ICOs) on local content engagements, it had emerged that there were deficiencies in the skill sets and qualifications of the mid-level technicians that the Commission sought to get engaged by the IOCs.
He stated that the Commission, under the leadership of the Ministry of Energy, was seeking to reverse this by rolling out a number of training programmes for high-end international certification for Ghanaian youths and that in the instant case, the 150 candidates had been selected from a total of over 2,000 young Ghanaians who had been examined.
Speaking on this issue, the Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of Energy, Mr. Kwasi Obeng-Fosu explained that, these candidates will on the completion of their training be issued City and Guilds certification and come out as process technicians, instrumentation technicians, and mechanical technicians.
He quoted Mr. Fabille, “When we started our journey, we were looking at the high-end engineering and geoscience training. But over the period, we forgot, possibly, that we would have FPSOs in our waters, for which you would still need mid-level specialist technicians to perform key roles, just as a hospital needs both doctors and laboratory or dispensing technicians,”
The result, he noted, was that when the FPSOs came, in a certain deficiency came to light, and the idea now is that if a person is coming into the country as an expatriate technician for say 2-3 years, then by the time the person leaves, there should be in his or her place a Ghanaian technician ready to take over who has understudied the expatriate and has been trained up to their standard both in terms of certification and practical experience. Ultimately, he noted, this would drive down the cost of running the FPSO.
Touching on service provision and in-country spend as part of the local content conversation in the sector, Mr. Faibille stated that this hovered around 67-70% and lauded international oil companies like Tullow for their commitment to this. However, he called for diversification of the supply base, noting that it is the same companies that supply the same services for the same oil companies. This he called a market failure.
“Tullow and others must be more welcoming of other suppliers so that the chain of monopoly is broken, else the local content story will remain stagnant, he remarked.
This year’s OTC, which started on Monday 16th August 2021, will end today.