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Petroleum Skills Uganda Ltd.

Image: Petroleum Skills Uganda logoPetroleum Skills Uganda Ltd (PSU) was recently established in Kampala to provide oilfield operational health and safety training services. The company’s two British directors have a combined 35 years’ experience of operational roles in the onshore and offshore oil industry.  Two Ugandan investors are shareholders in the enterprise.

The directors say they hope to increase skills in the region, enabling the Ugandan oil industry to grow while achieving the ‘national content’ aspirations of Uganda’s 2008 Oil and Gas Policy.

Oilfield service companies need trained staff who can operate safely.  Some established oilfield service providers have the facilities to provide at least some training in-house. However, even for companies with this capability, outsourcing further training to Europe or the US can be very costly, and this provides a market opening for specialist, local trainers.

Still in its early stages, the company plans to offer training in core areas considered essential for oil industry staff to meet the high standards that the industry demands.  These are:

HEALTH AND SAFETY  All companies operating in the oil and gas industry must comply with international health and safety standards. Often this demands a significant investment from local service providers in improving their systems to meet requirements. Health and safety courses include: Emergency First Aid, Fire Training, Manual Handling Skills, Risk Assessments, Working at Heights, and Lifting Operations.

ENVIRONMENT PSU offers training in environment awareness and waste management, and expects to build on this portfolio in future.  The directors emphasise that, while the environmental considerations for any oilfield development are considerable, the location of Uganda’s oilfields in the ecologically diverse and sensitive Albertine Graben calls for particular attention to environmental risk mitigation.

OPERATIONAL  These activities encompass basic, non-drilling activities on the oil site. Training is available for roles such as Banksman/Slinger, Forklift Operations, Telescopic Handler Operations, Mobile Scaffold and Defensive Driving.

OIL AND GAS  This training concerns various aspects of drilling and well control. Well control is a technique used in drilling, well workover, and well completions to maintain the fluid column hydrostatic pressure and formation pressure, thereby preventing influx of formation fluids into the wellbore. This involves estimating fluid pressures, the strength of the subsurface formations and the use of casing and mud density to offset those pressures.

LEADERSHIP  The directors emphasise that supervisors need to know how to turn a written policy into workplace reality, and how to communicate to staff the importance of working safely.  PSU, they say, can provide training in this area from incident investigation to major emergency management.

Each course offers a mix of theoretical instruction and practical lessons.  Many of the courses can be tailored individually to the client’s specific needs.

Local training content

Petroleum Skills Uganda is in the process of increasing its own training capacity, and plans soon to employ more Ugandan trainers to conduct the courses. Currently, to ensure that the courses meet the highest standards, the company draws on its network of experienced consultant trainers, but it expects to have four Ugandan trainers by the end of 2012.

Meanwhile, PSU is soon to begin building a training centre in Hoima.  In the first phase of construction, four classrooms will be built. After a second phase, the centre is expected to consist of 8-10 classrooms for formal classes. Within the grounds of the training centre, full-scale simulation infrastructures will be built, to facilitate more practical instruction.

As well as training, PSU offers Fire Reviews & Risk Assessments, Training Needs Analysis, and consultancy services to deliver ISO 9001, 14001 & OHSAS 18001 standards.

Clients to date have included Weatherford, GCC Services, local logistics companies and various UN agencies. As opportunities for locally owned and registered companies grow, the demand for safety and vocational training services will also increase. PSU aims to meet this demand professionally, efficiently and locally.

For more, see the company websiteReport by Chantal Sirisena