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Training and Upskilling for oil and gas sector: how far is Uganda?

The oil and gas Industrial Baseline Survey released by international oil companies placed huge technical and financial demands on the government to meet conditions for the country’s population to benefit from employment opportunities in the sector.

This week, the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum ( UCMP) 90 Days of oil and gas campaigns delves into the efforts aimed at skilling Ugandans for opportunities.

In 2014, the international oil companies published the Industrial Baseline Survey report which showed that the Lake Albert Basin Development project will create between 100,000 and 150,000 jobs through direct, indirect, and induced employment.

The objective of the survey was to assess the potential demand of the oil and gas development phase, the supply capacity of the Uganda market, and to recommend action where there are gaps.

The oil companies want the government to make available required talents, goods, and services that not only meet international oil standards but also satisfy their demands. This is because of the government’s policy and legislation of ensuring that nationals are given priority in any available opportunities within the sector to ensure lasting economic and technology transfer values long after the oil and gas resources have been exhausted. 

Since the Final Investment Decision (FID) was arrived at in February 2022, oil companies have been awarding various contracts and subcontracts for services that move forward the realization of the first oil.  Contracts worth $ 6 billion have already been awarded.

According to the report, 13,000 workers will be required in the construction phase and a plateau of 3,000 permanent jobs in the oil production phase. Of the human resource required, 15% are engineers and managers, 60 percent are technicians and craftsmen and 25 percent are unskilled workers.

The survey report recommended that government works in partnership with the oil companies to ensure that the education system produces qualified graduates for the industry. This involves financing the training programs and setting up curriculum standards as well as provision of learning facilities.

In addition, the government had to ensure that the graduates are certified to enable them to work in the oil fields as an international practice. This entails graduates undergoing apprenticeship after university to get hands-on training.

The oil companies will need petroleum engineers, geoscientists, civil engineers, electrical engineers, and mechanical engineers to oversee refinery construction and operations, construction of oil pipelines, oil production, transportation, drilling, and construction of infield facilities.

Following oil companies’ demands, the government came up with a  Workforce Skills Development  Strategy and Plan for the Oil and  Gas (WSDSP) sector in Uganda. The purpose of WSDSP is to maximize the quality and quantity of employment opportunities for Ugandans in the oil and gas and other related sectors. The total estimated cost of the plan that runs between 2015 and 2025 is £120 million.

The production phase, according to the Industrial Baseline Survey report has created the demand for goods and services with some sectors undergoing a complete transformation in order to be at par with future needs. The transport and logistics sector for example required large trucks of at least 20 tonnes carriage capacity.

In addition, the manufacturing industry is required to increase the production of items like steel, iron products, and cement for roads, pipelines, and refinery infrastructure.

Upon completion of the upstream projects ( Central Processing Facility, camps, feeder pipelines, access roads), the companies would have invested between $12 billion and $15 billion, inclusive of the cost of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) extending from Hoima in Western Uganda to Tanzania’s port of Tanga.

“To this end, and in order to reduce as much as possible imports of goods and services from international suppliers, it will be crucial that both the government, private sector, development agencies, and oil companies embark on concrete measures to implement the recommended actions,” read a joint statement by China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) and TotalEnergies EP. 

The WSDSP objectives

-To enhance coordination and joint working between Government, International Oil Companies, Training Providers, and other stakeholders. 

-To ensure that all Oil & Gas related skills training within Uganda is accredited and meets a pre-agreed set of international quality standards. 

-To enhance communications and information sharing on Oil & Gas Skills requirements including the development of improved labour Market Information relevant to the needs of the sector.

To ensure that all additional Level 1 jobs created in Oil and Gas and related sectors go to Ugandans between 2015 and 2025. To ensure that 10,000 Ugandans secure industry relevant and recognized Level 2 qualifications by 2025. 

– To ensure that 2,000 Ugandans secure industry relevant and recognized Level 3 qualifications by 

2025.

– To ensure that 1,000 Ugandans secure industry relevant and recognized Level 4 qualification by

2025.

– Ensure that adequate funding and financing mechanisms are put in place to achieve objectives 1 to 7 of the WSDSP.

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