New institute to improve oil, gas management skills

Wednesday August 7 2013

By Ismail Musa Ladu

Kampala

With the shortage of management skills evident in the oil and gas sector, particularly among indigenous companies, an institute has been established to help plug the skills shortage. According to the Private Sector Foundation Uganda, the establishment of the institute was long overdue given that the country is left with just a few years to start commercial oil production.

The establishment of the Institute of Petroleum Studies in Kampala will, unlike previously, afford Ugandans the opportunity to study management courses without spending millions of dollars abroad. “Our courses take into account the Ugandan context,” Mr Patrick Ruharuza, the chief executive officer of the Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPSK) told Daily Monitor in an interview last week.

He said: “There is need to train leaders and managers who will steer the industry forward, and this is exactly what we are trying to do; empower Ugandans to better manage the sector.” “If we don’t take the lead and prepare our people in oil management, then our contribution in the lucrative sector will be really minimal and worthless,” he said.

Mr Ruharuza’s argument is based on the fact that there is little space, if any, that the majority of Ugandans can largely reap from the complex technical aspects involved, such as the science of exploration, drilling and refining.

“We think the high technical aspects involved in gas and oil industry is not for us at the moment, except in areas of plumbing, welding and other hands on aspects, which will also be part of the training that we will provide in partnership the with Norwegian Petroleum Academy.”

However, technical aspect of law, including detailed studies of oil and gas contracts, negotiation skills and dynamics, business and management of the industry, and marketing skills will be among the areas that will be taught in details.

The expertise to handle the courses and other technical aspects have been met from both within and beyond Uganda. The PSFU executive director, Mr Gideon Badagawa, said the move was good for Ugandans as the country prepares to exploit commercial oil. He said: “This being a new sector we need management skills to manage the sector, we also need technical competence especially for our engineers.”

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