Nigeria’s oil & gas industry ‘ready for a new era in safety’

Nigerian government officials and representatives from the country’s oil and gas sector have joined forces in Lagos on OPITO’s one-day seminar to discuss how to make the country’s energy sector a safer place to work.

Over 70 attendees heard from speakers including Onyebuchi Sibeudu, head of safety and environment at the Nigerian government’s Department of Petroleum Resources; Mohammed Dewu from the Petroleum Technology Development Fund; Musa Rabiu from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company; and Amadi Amadi, S & E technical manager, Shell Nigeria.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer and employs around 12.5 percent of the region’s labor pool. OPITO, an international oil and gas skills organization whose safety training is taken by 250,000 people every year, was approached by the Nigerian government and oil and gas producers with the aim to improve the skills of local workers and develop the technical competence needed to carry out their roles safely.

As part of the event, oil and gas training providers looking to become OPITO-approved centers heard how they can train workers in Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (BOSIET) and International Minimum Industry Safety Training (IMIST), two of OPITO’s standards used by international and national oil and gas companies.

OPITO’s group chief executive David Doig said: “There is an increasing awareness in Nigeria of the value in ensuring the competency of the offshore workforce and the benefits of improving the levels of safety for each individual.

“At the event, we discussed the importance of standardising training across the oil and gas sector in Nigeria, as well as hearing how employing a successful OPITO-approved competency management system has helped to maintain and improve workforce skills, drive efficiencies and deliver cost benefits across a business while making a positive contribution to the local economy.”

He added that there are three training providers in Nigeria approved to deliver OPITO’s standards while another seven companies signed up for the workshop showing a commitment to adopt OPITO standards.

“This interest coupled with that of the government and international firms operating in the region sees Nigeria’s oil and gas industry ready for a new era in safety and competency,” Doig stated.

The country’s oil and gas sector is under attack by a militant group known as Niger Delta Avengers. The group recently blew up Chevron’s platform in Nigeria’s oil rich Niger Delta.

Furthermore, oil giant Shell in May reportedly evacuated most of the workers from its Eja OML 79 offshore platform, and some of its workers from the nearby Bonga field, offshore Nigeria, following a security threat.

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