Huge demand for TT nationals in oil and gas
By CECILY ASSON Saturday, August 18 2012
There is a huge demand internationally for Trinidad and Tobago nationals in the field of oil and gas drilling.
This was revealed yesterday by Managing Director of Tucker Energy Services Limited, Roger Packer. Packer who is also the President of the Energy Chamber was addressing a function yesterday at the NESC Skills and Technology Centre at Point Lisas in Couva to welcome a second batch of Nigerian students, who are enrolled in a six month skills training programme at the recently established NESC Drilling School in Ste Madeleine.
Packer told his audience, “When you travel the entire world including Nigeria, you will find tremendous amount of our nationals working in Nigeria, and every corner of the world. When you meet these people, in about 80 percent of the cases, these people started off on the land and offshore fields in Trinidad and Tobago in the drilling aspect of our operations.” According to Packer, because Trinidad has some of the most challenging oilfields, it has become the best training area in the world. He went on, “It’s a nightmare for geologists, a graveyard for geologists, it is one of the best training areas in the world. There is no better training ground.” He said while Trinidad “is a brand”, enough nationals are not being trained in the sector.
“What we haven’t done in the past ten to 15 years is train enough young people to enter the market, and learn the skills,” Packer went on to say. The opening of a drilling school is a dream come true for him, and also the energy chamber. “I always tell young people to look for a field where there is a huge demand,” he continued.
“A lot of people may see degrees as being very attractive, or skills training sound very nice and very attractive, but at the end of your education, there is going to be a demand out there for these skills. The reality is that in the area of drilling workovers, and all aspect of the upstream industry there are huge demands worldwide. There are huge shortages of these skills.”
Packer said the development of a drilling school will provide more opportunities, not only locally, but abroad.
Packer further added, “Trinidad has been exporting services all local companies in Trinidad and Tobago. We have travelled to East and West Africa, we have travelled to South America and our neighbours in Suriname and Cuba and what we found is a huge demand for our companies to work internationally, because of our track record, however, what is limiting us from expanding into the world market, is the lack of skills. We can’t achieve our goal unless we train a significant amount of our nationals,” he added. Also addressing the gathering yesterday was Tertiary Education and Skills Training Minister Fazal Karim told the batch of 70 trainees that drilling schools were becoming popular worldwide.
“This is due to the vast demand for skilled technicians in the field of oil and gas drilling,” he said.
In his address, President of Petrotrin Khalid Hassanali said based on current level of activities within his organisation, there was a shortage of persons with drilling skills. “It is extremely heartening to be able to participate in training of locals as well as guests from Nigeria and other parts of the world, in developing these skills which are required locally and internationally.”
Meanwhile, High Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria Mosa John Jen told the students the partnership with Trinidad and Tobago will go a long way in ensuring the economic success and well-being between both countries.