OPITO, Oil Companies Cooperate to Build Strong Oil & Gas Workforce

OPITO International, founded in 2009 to lead the drive for common global oil and gas safety training standards, has seen its business completely transformed in the last year. The overseas arm of the industry’s skills and training body has become the trusted adviser to Governments, international and national oil companies in their quest to develop indigenous oil and gas workforces.

Following a landmark agreement with the Iraqi Ministry for Oil in 2011, OPITO has now been awarded a contract with Shell to support the development of training for workers on the Majnoon project and to improve vocational training centres in Basra. OPITO’s intervention will ensure that these centres train Iraqis to industry expectations and OPITO standards.

In addition, OPITO is working with all the international oil companies in Iraq to design a framework for delivering suitably qualified Iraqi oil and gas workers to help the country fully exploit its emerging oil industry and transform the economy of the war torn country.

A similar agreement with Petronas in Malaysia will see OPITO standards become part of the national oil company’s mandatory safety training programme. The newly signed memorandum of understanding between the two organisations will result in the transition to BOSIET (Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training) standard as a minimum requirement for all workers offshore Malaysia in the same way as it is compulsory in the North Sea.

Through a framework being developed by OPITO, hundreds of technicians will be trained to recognised industry qualifications, allowing them to work wherever Petronas operates in the world. This will increase the global mobility of the individuals and give Petronas the confidence in the competence of their technicians.

David Doig, OPITO Group chief executive, said: “These contracts represent a step change for OPITO International and underline the esteem in which we are held globally. The trust placed in us by governments, IOCs and NOCs around the world is truly transforming OPITO International’s business model. We take huge pride in the fact that the safety and competency standards pioneered in the North Sea are now being recognised and desired by oil and gas provinces the world over.

“The North Sea industry has to be credited for revolutionising offshore safety following the Piper Alpha tragedy through its investment in the creation of OPITO and for its on-going commitment to the evolution of the organisation which is now a focal point for skills, training and workforce development in oil and gas.”

To deliver the increasing international scope of work, OPITO International has doubled the size of its offices in Dubai and increased its international workforce to 22 with a further four positions to be created in the next 12 months.

Former director of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), John McDonald, has been appointed as director of international workforce development for OPITO. McDonald will lead the work with Shell and Petronas and build future agreements with governments and industry, which are currently in the pipeline, in places as far-ranging as Oman and East Timor.

During his time at SQA, McDonald led the development t of new products and services and created new markets in Asia and the Middle-east. He worked at ministerial level in several countries on capacity building projects in education and training. Before joining OPITO, he was a director of ACTVET, the government body charged with creating a vocational education and training system in Abu Dhabi.

Press Release, March 11, 2013

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