Oil & gas: Nigeria loses $16bn to imports – PTDF

By Sunday Ojeme, Abuja Friday, 15 Oct 2010 


Nigeria is currently losing over $16bn to the importation of equipment and facilities in the oil and gas industry, as well as payment for the services of foreign technical personnel.According to the Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Mr. Muttaqha Darma, the amount represents about 90 per cent of the over $18bn spent annually by stakeholders in the industry.Determined, however, to reduce the amount being spent on the importation of facilities and payment of foreign personnel in the oil and gas sector, the PTDF is stepping up its training and research efforts.


The PTDF arrangement is to ensure that within the next five years, the Fund would have trained over 20,000 Nigerians to occupy various positions in the industry as petroleum engineers, geo-scientists, geo-physicists, chemical engineers and process engineers among others.Darma said in Abuja on Thursday, that it was necessary for the Fund to produce the necessary manpower, systems and institutions that would facilitate the takeover of the operations and management of the industry by Nigerians.


According to him, “Over 90 per cent of all goods and services used in the industry that spends more than $18bn annually are imported from overseas. The consequence is that Nigeria cannot be said to be deriving maximum benefits from its oil and gas industry in terms of employment, technology transfer and impact on their well being. “PTDF is determined to bridge the manpower and technology gap in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.”


Darma, who spoke as part of events lined up to mark the 10-year anniversary of the organisation, said as at September this year, the Fund had trained over 1,800 Nigerian scholars at both masters and doctoral levels in critical disciplines in the oil and gas sector at top universities in the United Kingdom under its overseas scholarship scheme.He said the fund had also completed the overseas training of select Nigerians to become internationally certified welding practitioners, specialists and technologists to form the core of other specialists to train welders in-country for the oil and gas industry.


He said, “So far, 500 Nigerians have been trained in-country in fillet welding as the first stage of welding and certification programme, while plans have been completed to commence the training of 300 underwater welders. “Having fully upgraded the facilities and faculty of not less than 16 oil and gas related departments in 16 universities across the country, we believe that the time has come to fully domesticate the training of Nigerians in Nigeria without compromising the high standard of education and competencies required for assimilation into the industry.”


He said it was the expectation of the fund that in three years’ time, it would stop sending scholars abroad for training to acquire master’s degree in oil and gas discipline, adding, however that training in specialised courses arising from the dynamic nature of the oil and gas industry, and for which the fund did not have the teaching facilities and personnel in-country would be exempted.


 “We are confident and resolute in achieving this objective, having made significant progress in upgrading the physical infrastructure and teaching facilities of some Nigerian universities offering oil and gas related courses as well as enhanced the teaching skills and competencies of faculty members of these institutions to a level that the universities can deliver the same quality of academic training as their counterparts abroad,” he added.





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