02 September 2014, Abuja – The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) has said its investments in various researches in Nigeria’s petroleum industry are expected to bring about innovative breakthroughs in oil and gas industry operations.
Executive Secretary of PTDF, Olufemi Ajayi said at the peer review of the 2014 PTDF annual oil and gas research grant competition in Abuja, that the agency was committed to funding purposeful researches in the petroleum sector.
According to him the funds are expected to solve specific industry problem and contribute to the oil and gas value chain in the country. “In view of critical challenges emerging in the sector, PTDF is committed to funding research for sustainable development,” Ajayi said.
He also stressed the PTDF was commitment to minimise the enormous skills gap in the industry and had thus carried out structured skills gap audit to indentify existing and potential skills gaps.
Ajayi said the PTDF had in the last three years, trained qualified personnel and technocrats for the upstream, midstream and downstream petroleum sectors, adding, “from 2011-2013, 351 graduates have been trained locally in Nigeria.”
He added: “ The 761 scholars have graduated overseas with M.Sc including refining and petrochemical related disciplines, 116 in Ph.D in various disciplines while 368 and 287 will graduate respectively at the end of the year.”
Aside from expending funds for training of people with formal education, Ajayi also stated that certified welders had been trained by PTDF within the International Welders Certification Programme (IWCP). He explained that training in underwater welding in France for the oil and gas industry was included in the scheme to enable graduates carry out pipeline fitting and machining activities.
He said, in partnership with Heritage Bank, PTDF designed empowerment scheme to equip beneficiaries of its trainings with requisite financial resources to set up shops, maximise knowledge they had gained as well as become economically self-sufficient.
Under the scheme, 120 graduate of the special training and educational scheme of the post-amnesty and rehabilitation exercise will have the opportunity to undergo further training in financial management leading to their grant of soft loan to start-up their chosen business ideas.
The total loan package of N500 million will however be administered in batches of 20 people by Heritage Bank, at a single digit interest rate. The bank is also expected to constantly evaluate the progress of these beneficiaries in line with extant rules of engagement.
– This Day