With the current reality of poor receipts from oil revenue and the impact on funding of its capacity building programmes, particularly the Overseas Scholarship Scheme, the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) has stepped up the domestication drive of its education and training programmes in-country.

The implication will be that a greater percentage of beneficiaries of PTDF Scholarship Scheme will undergo their studies in the top Nigerian Universities and Centres of Excellence upgraded by the Fund.

Although PTDF has over the years been implementing a gradual domestication policy with the award of local scholarships to deserving students in the universities it has upgraded, the Fund is speeding up the process through the effective utilization of some of the Institutions it developed from scratch. The Fund is also evolving strategic partnerships and collaborations with local and foreign universities, training and research institutions, and curriculum development service providers.

One of the Institutions being proposed for this phase of PTDF domestication drive is the National Institute for Petroleum Policy and Strategy (NIPPS), currently being developed by the Fund in Kaduna, North West Nigeria.

The Federal Government approved the development of the Institute as part of the infrastructural and human capital development programmes of the Fund to provide state of the art training facilities and learning environment, and for the development of research, technology, skills and relevant manpower for the industry.

With a Technology Development and Management wings, the Institute is specifically designed to undertake industry related trainings for Executive and Senior Management personnel in the oil and gas industry, provide training for fresh graduates in oil and gas related disciplines to improve their employability in the petroleum industry, and host a one-stop analytical laboratory for effective research and development activities. The Institute on completion will, in addition, explore collaboration and partnership with reputable indigenous and international institutes to offer MSc and PhD programmes, welding and fabrication training programmes, development of relevant skills in gas technology, and promotion of research in renewable energy sources.

It is against this background that a delegation of the Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, United Kingdom paid an exploratory visit to PTDF Office Complex, to determine how most effectively the Institute can engage with PTDF in realizing the objectives of setting up the National Institute of Petroleum Policy and Strategy, Kaduna.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Professor John Harper said with the long standing relationship between PTDF and the University, the current partnership consideration for domesticating the Fund’s Educational and Training programmes using the National Institute for Petroleum Policy and Strategy, Kaduna as a test case “ is very much a case of re-engaging at the senior level with Nigeria”. According to him “it’s an opportune moment to look at how we engage again, how to take us to the next 10-15 years bearing in mind the change in the economy, oil and gas and the needs of the Nigerian population”.

He expressed satisfaction with the facilities put in place by PTDF for capacity building in the oil and gas industry and particularly its renewed vigor to domesticate its training programmes with a view to retaining its value in-country which he described as the best approach in line with economic realities in the oil and gas industry.

 “Robert Gordon University has a long standing working relationship with PTDF way back to 2001 and over that period, we have been involved in training a lot of students and have been involved in other projects. The University has in the last couple of years been re-looking at its entire strategy for the oil and gas industry due to maturing nature of it and economic challenges. I thought this visit will offer the opportunity to understand the demand situation in Nigeria today to make sure that we can see further opportunities, not just continue doing what we are doing , but to meet the new agenda for Nigeria because that very much resonates with some of the new initiatives and development that the University is embarking on” .

The Acting Executive Secretary, PTDF, Ahmed Galadima Aminu, told the visiting delegation from the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen that whereas the Fund has developed and upgraded several educational facilities across Nigeria, the Institute in Kaduna has great potentials to drive the Fund’s training and domestication programme. “We have a number of facilities but NIPPS in Kaduna is almost completed and we hope it will serve as platform for the domestication of multifaceted education, training and research programmes”

He said that rather than sending students abroad, the Fund intends to use the facilities it developed in-country to train more Nigerians locally without  compromising standards and certifications and this will be done in partnership with training providers and local universities.

The renewed domestication drive is tied to government’s initiative to look inwards and build in-country capacity in-line with the spirit and intent of Nigerian Content.

Kalu Otisi Esq.

Head, Press and External Relations, PTDF

September 22, 2016