The development of indigenous manpower for the oil and gas industry received a boost last Friday as 40 engineering and geosciences graduates passed out from a one-year internship programme organised by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) operated Joint Venture and Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), a group of indigenous oilfield service companies.
The milestone occurred on the same day that SPDC JV performed the ground-breaking ceremony of its Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) domestication initiative, whereby the manufacturers and their Nigerian partners have been allocated land to set up local assembly plants and service centres at the Shell Industrial Area in Port Harcourt.
The internship programme introduced by SPDC JV in 2014 to support manpower development in critical disciplines equips graduates with vital industry experience for employment and continues with another batch of 40 graduates who are now attached to 20 PETAN companies.
In an address at the ceremony, Managing Director of the SPDC and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Osagie Okunbor, said: “I’m pleased at the successful completion of the programme by the first batch of 40 graduates who worked with 12 PETAN member companies. I’m even more pleased that, as envisaged, a number of them have been employed by the partner companies and others.” The MD was represented by SPDC’s General Manager, Projects, Toyin Olagunju.
Guy Kent, Senior Procurement Manager, Shell Upstream Nigeria said: “We are committed to developing Nigerian capability not because it feels good, but because it also makes good business sense. The partnership with PETAN is about giving the right people the chance to learn and actually start to contribute to the industry. It is the first rung of the ladder of development.”
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) represented by the Deputy Manager Human Capital Development, Mrs Michele Aiyegbusi, commended the SPDC JV for the internship initiative. She said: ‘What we see here today is the sort of thing that NCDMB will want to see in the industry—the collaboration between the operators and the service providers. NCDMB also runs an internship programme specifically in the earth sciences.”
Meanwhile, three foreign equipment manufacturers and their Nigerian partners participated in the ground-breaking ceremony. In 2012, SPDC entered into an agreement with the original equipment manufacturers and their Nigerian partners. Subsequently, land was allocated to them at the Shell Industrial Area in Port Harcourt. The ground-breaking ceremony marks site readiness and construction of the first three assembly and service facilities for valves, low voltage electrical panels, switch gears and instrumentation equipment.
“The ground-breaking ceremony is a significant head start towards the development of mini industrial parks,” said Mr. Okunbor at the ceremony. “It is a major milestone in our aspiration to domesticate our sources of supply as part of our Nigerian content journey to keep them closer to our operations and benefit from the shorter supply chain.”
The Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr. Denzil Kentebe, said: “SPDC was one of the first stakeholders to obtain approved from the Board for the OEM domestication programme. The vision ties into a similar plan by NCDMB to establish industrial packs in Yenagoa, Owerri and Calabar.”
The General Manager, Nigerian Content Development of SPDC, Mr. Chiedu Oba, in his remarks described the internship and the OEM domestication initiatives as a demonstration of “the long term commitment of Shell Companies in Nigeria to Nigerian content development. It is a key sourcing principle that is woven into the fabric of our business”.