In its first Summit as a training association in the oil industry, the Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN) held its first summit. Dr. Mayowa Afe, president of the OGTAN in his welcome address reveals that the training association aims and objective of the local content initiative is well known. According to him “quite a lot has happened since the initiation of this initiative. Today, I am proud to state that we have made progress and have made significant achievements towards the Nigerian Content Development (NCD) though as the saying goes many more grounds to cover. The Egina Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading unit (FPSO) is a testimony to this assertion.” Afe posited that the Egina FPSO is the largest FPSO ever installed in Nigeria where six locally fabricated modules will take place in country. This is a first for Nigeria and indeed Africa.
Speaking at the conference Afe made it known that the purpose of the gathering is to look for new ways to solve old problems with the aim of sustaining and improving on the modest achievements of the Nigeria Content Development. The OGTAN president said, “In this room today, we have assembled all the critical stakeholders that could help provide new insights and solution to the ever constant issues and challenges facing our education system thereby making our graduates employable in the oil and gas industry after graduation.” The only way to sustain the initiative of the Nigerian Content Development is to keep enhance the drive. Afe said the commitment of OGTAN which is to build capacity in the country and ensure the sustainability of the NCD.
OGTAN commences categorisation of its member companies in line with international standards. It also solicits the cooperation of all stake holders in this regard. Issuance of Guidelines for Standardization of Training and establishment of National Occupational Standard (NOS) in conjunction with NCDMB. It Fosters collaboration between regulatory bodies, Academia and the oil and gas industry; to help close the gap between the university theory and the practical of the oil and gas industry. It also pursues profitable local and international partnerships. Afe discloses that OGTAN has signed a corporation agreement with the European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers (EAGE) to bring more internationally certified trainings to Nigeria. And today we will sign a cooperation agreement with our Ghana sister association in furtherance of regional cooperation. This will help business growth we are exposing our members to funding opportunities by building OGTAN house that can act as training center for its member companies.
The president remarks that the workshop will be an annual event with focus on contributing to national topical issues and holding a day to the commencement of our annual conference. The association also recognizes the transformational initiatives and excellent performance of the current of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Local Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Engr. Simbi Wabote with the “Local Content Development Award” and also present her first ever Fellowship award to Prof Mike Onyekonwu and Mrs Adetayo Wonuola for their outstanding contribution to the association and the Nigerian Local Content Development.
Speaking at the Summit Chairman Planning Committee, of OGTAN Augutine Uzoma Ogu described the Summit as “Auspicious gathering; which is a well-thought-out plan to stem the tide of brain drain among Nigerians in the oil and gas sector. As head of the planning committee, I have been astounded by the sacrifice and resourcefulness of colleagues in the Oil & Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN) who have made today a reality. We are grateful to everyone who has contributed in one way or another.”
The Chairman believed that the desire and determination to address a major issue currently face the industry must be taken serious. According to him “This Summit provides an opportunity for us to strategize how to tackle the challenges as well as explore the prospects of sustaining local content through quality education and training. I am confident that we shall achieve our objectives at the end of the day.”
He asserted that the association was formed with the support of the Nigerian Content Division of the NNPC to address manpower development needs of the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry. It is a mandate that should be carried out since being established by the NCDMB in 2010. Ogu reacted to the movement of funds out of the country comes by way of Nigerian residents buying up dollars with their Naira and moving it offshore and “For a long time now, the Nigerian economy has endured huge financial haemorrhage with politicians, corporate bodies and foreign investors moving funds massively out of the country as well as from Naira to dollar. So also do professionals like us, who prefer to spend our money on overseas trainings and capacity development.”
The Committee Chairman stated further that Capital flight has led to the depletion of Nigeria’s foreign reserves, thus weakening the Naira. A 2014 survey of payments made by the CBN revealed that a total of $22.1billion went out of the country in five weeks, an average of $4.5 billion a week. This resulted in the crash of the Naira exchange rate which had remained stable before the election and the crash of the international crude oil price. The situation is not any better today, even if somewhat stable.
“OGTAN has earmarked today as the day we proffer specific solutions that will address capital flight in the area of capacity development for our young people. Hence, the concentration on the institutions of higher learning as you would soon find out in this Summit”, he added.
The summit is used to review performance of the universities’ curricula, local content development, and international collaborations. It also touch on the legal perspective as well as funding options. While Ogu pointed out that “There is no better time to look at capacity building for our teaming young Nigerians than now. We must develop competence in the oil and gas industry and make our graduates employable. Let’s say “No” to capital flight and “Yes” to local content.”