Orient Energy Review editorial team met with the Chief Coordinator of PTI Consultancy Services, DR. ORIRI ASEMOTA OMORODION during the 2020 Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, which held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
The Chief Coordinator stated that the Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun, Delta State, is a Federal Government-owned institution that has been in training business for over 40 years, stating that in these years, the Institute has trained Nigerians for the middle manpower needs of the oil and gas industry. The Institute prides herself of producing highly skilled specialized and formidable workforce for the Nigerian oil and gas industry. Excerpts.
What makes PTI unique?
PTI is the only training institute in Nigeria and West Africa that has
i) A drilling rig and flow station for hands-on training
ii) Drillsim: 6000
iii) Dive tank, swimming pool and hyperbaric chamber for underwater operations training
iv) Refinery Simulator, Polymer Machines etc
v) Electron microscope scanners
vi) Filling Station that is dedicated to training Petroleum Marketers
vii) Fully equipped and functional workshops in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Welding Engineering and Offshore Technology etc.
With these facilities, PTI has been able to reduce capital flight by training Nigerians in core Oil and Gas processes.
In essence, PTI’s training services go beyond Nigeria
Yes. We have trained Nationals of Sao Tome Principe, Angola, Equatorial Guinea Benin Republic amongst others. Language is not a barrier to the training as they are taught English before the technical skills.
Currently, we have some participants from Niger Republic undergoing training in Petroleum & Natural Gas Processing. In this conference, countries like Mali visited us find out how they can collaborate with us in training their people because they would soon go into exploration of oil and gas.
Nigerian Content policy implementation in the oil and gas industry has yielded some incredible results, thereby leaving Nigeria with the ‘big brother’ role as far as local content development is concerned in Africa. How is PTI positioned to complement NCDMB’s efforts in the development of quality manpower needed both here in Nigeria and other African countries?
We have been empowered by the law, and by the developments, we have gone through all these years, we are rightly positioned to train the manpower for the industry in Nigeria and Africa, generally. However, there are constraints, which at least you know. Funding is one of our major constraints.
We would appreciate it if, from time to time, the oil and gas companies could help in funding some of our needs. We need up-to-date equipment for industry-standard skills training. They should also give us the opportunity to train some of their technical staff because we know that they take many of these trainees outside the country. We are simply asking that they come to our aid, fund some of our projects, and train some of our trainers so that we can do more for them.
There are quite a number of well-equipped private training centres offering similar services as yours here in Nigeria, how ready, equipped and confident are you about PTI’s ability to remain in the leading role in providing training services?
With the resource persons we have in the institute, we have the confidence that we will continue to train a highly-skilled workforce for the oil and gas industry. We have a number of highly qualified trainers. However, the trainer needs to be retrained from time to time so that we can meet the dynamic changes that are going on in the world.
PTI being a federal government organisation, of course, has some limitations in financing some of these training and equipment. However, I would like to use this opportunity to appreciate PTDF for giving us lots of equipment. But there was a gap that was created, in the sense that, these equipment were provided, the follow up of training those who will use it, and how to use it was not aligned. So, the synergistic effect has not been fully accomplished because there was no hands-on training for the resource persons who are supposed to operate the equipment.
The oil companies need to also challenge PTI with their capacity development training needs. They need to challenge us and say, “we have this need, can you do it?” Then we will now pass or fail. But they are not giving us the opportunity to do that. We are appealing that they should please come to our aid, look at our needs and help. We need a lot of exposure and training. Petroleum Training Institute is actually there to serve the industry by producing quality workforce. Let them know that to have the kind of workforce they need, they also need to develop that place that is producing this workforce that they really need.
What is the duration of courses at the PTI?
We have the two-year program for National Diploma and then we have another two years for Higher National Diploma. We are providing specialized courses for those people who are already in the field working that need to be retrained to develop more capacity for them to be more effective in their different workplaces.
Can you enumerate these specialized training?
These include but to mention a few:
i) The PTI Mud School
ii) The International Welding Practitioner Diploma of the International Institute of Welding (IIW)
iii) International Wellhead Control Forum (IWCF)
iv) Commercial Diver Class 1 & 2
v) Fitters and Machinists Training
vi) Liquefied Natural Gas Operations
Our Professional and Specialized Courses Brochure for the year 2020 is on our website www.pti.edu.ng
What are the requirements for a school certificate holder to gain entry for training in the Institute?
A school certificate holder would have to get five credits in the relevant subjects because we have Petroleum Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electronics and Electrical Engineering, Petroleum and Natural Gas Processing Engineering, Industrial Safety and Environmental Technology, Welding Engineering and Offshore Technology, Petroleum Marketing and Business Studies and Computer Science and Information Technology.
In the relevant areas, they must have five credits including Maths and English and then, they will write the JAMB entrance examination. For the HND, a candidate must have obtained a National Diploma in the relevant areas to be able to get admission into the HND programme.
As you know, most of the other training centres are privately-owned and they sponsor themselves for training and retraining, they mobilize the needed fund, how is PTI prepared to compete with such?
You see, those private training centres can use their resources to go buy their equipment, they can use their resources to go fund training of their personnel but sometimes they come to submit those jobs to us. Yes, they get those contracts and they come to us and then we do it for them. We have been doing that. You see as a federal government agency, all our funds come from the government and the school fees that these students pay, of course, it is highly subsidized by the government. It is not enough to take care of those training needs of our staff. You can see the difference. Because the fund coming from the federal government is not enough, we have these constraints, which l believe the oil and gas industry can take care of. Don’t give us the money, tell us to provide the staff and then with the list of equipment we need you to provide them for us, and get us trained too. We are and will continue to be there for them.
“PTI has all it takes to train the best manpower for the oil and gas industry”, is that your message?
What we are saying is that the financial help we do not get limits us but if corporate organisations can invest in the aspect of providing training for our trainers, we will do better.
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I am aware that many IOCs and even the indigenous companies collaborate with some of our tertiary institutions, would you not think that it is necessary to seek partnership with these companies?
That is what we want to do. The truth is that, like in Angola, there is a law stating that all oil companies should inform Angola Petroleum Institute of any new discoveries. Then the Petroleum Institute looks at it, develop a curriculum and research on that, and they now use it as a training tool for the country’s oil and gas industry workers.
But here, there is so much detachment of the Petroleum Training Institute from the Industry. In those days when l got into PTI, in the early 90s, l know that the oil and gas industry had some votes allocated for training PTI staff. It was there but over time, it just thinned out and so we were now left behind as what we get from the government cannot do that.
If we can get back to that period, it will help. That is why l am saying, do not even give us money, just provide the equipment, provide training and then ask us to give you what you want. There was a company called ASHLAND that came to open a laboratory for us. The laboratory was for petroleum analysis. They also trained our staff but that was so many years ago. Since then, no other company has come.
I agree that PTI has its own role to play in bringing this thing back but l plead with the IOCs to please take PTI as their TRAINING ARM and let us come together to say “okay what do we do” this is what we need to do and then we move on.