The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) was established by Act No. 25 of 1973 which repealed the Gulf Oil Company Training Fund Act. Prior to the establishment of PTDF, there existed the Gulf Oil Company Training Fund, the assets of which were transferred to the Fund upon promulgation of the Act setting it up. The legislation vested the Fund with the responsibility of training and educating Nigerians to become professionals and experts in the petroleum industry. The Fund existed only as a desk in the Department of Petroleum Resources until the year 2000 when it became a fully functional Agency of government.
The establishment of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund for the training of Nigerians to qualify as graduates, professionals, technicians and craftsmen in the field of Engineering, Geology, Science and Management in the petroleum sector was the first major step at institutionalizing the policy of local manpower development in the oil and gas industry. Prior to its establishment, the government had taken legislative actions mandating international oil companies to employ and train Nigerians such that after a given period, Nigerians will take over the running of the Industry from exploration to marketing. PTDF is therefore a special purpose Fund to train and make available skilled, competent and qualified local manpower for the oil and gas industry. It is also involved in developing and upgrading local institutions that are used in providing training and education to Nigerians to make them competent, capable and skilled to participate actively in the industry. Through research and adaptation of technology, PTDF strives to promote processes for the development of material input required by the industry using local raw materials and indigenous researchers.