Muscat: A new academy to achieve excellence in the oil and gas sector is set to prepare hundreds of Omani graduates for the ever-evolving industry.
The Sultanate's national oil company, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), has boosted its training programme to equip staff with the skills they need for a new hi-tech age in the oil and gas industry.
The company has introduced a new Graduate Development Programme (GDP) for all incoming Omani graduates, which will offer structured on-the-job training, monitoring and assessment. In the next two years, a total of 700 graduates will pass through the GDP which will imbue them with the necessary technical and operational skills for the rapidly changing exploration and production sector.
The new scheme is a direct response to the PDO's dynamic growth, and beyond offering a high-quality training regime, the GDP has been streamlined to reduce the average time it takes for a graduate to become a full-fledged employee from five to four years.
"Our sector is becoming more complex and is moving rapidly towards the digital oilfield age where there is a growing emphasis on technology to make faster decisions, gather data in real-time and monitor and control assets remotely to improve production and enhance safety," said PDO managing director Raoul Restucci.
Emphasis on honing skills
"This means staff must be confident and competent to use innovative technologies and engage in smart working practices to increase productivity and work in an integrated way as part of a multi- disciplinary team," he said, adding: "The PDO is growing quickly and so it is important that we offer an enhanced training system which resources the business with talented, well-equipped staff to deliver excellence day in and day out."
The Graduate Development Programme blends learning with outstanding on-the-job training, offers a structured career path and shortens the time it takes for entrants to progress from the graduate level to becoming a permanent staff member.
"We have always placed great emphasis on providing and supporting our personnel with the skills they need to thrive but this new scheme offers graduates greater consistency and structure in expectations, focus and progression," added Restucci.
The GDP began last summer in PDO's Well Engineering Directorate and Information Management and Technology Department and is expected to cover graduates in all aspects of the business by the end of July 2014.
To complement the emphasis on staff development, the company has unveiled a batch of modern training facilities, which are based at PDO's Learning and Development Centre at Mina Al Fahal. They include an internationally accredited Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Area complex to train and assess electrical and instrument technicians' competence for maintaining and inspecting equipment. The facility is the first of its kind in the Sultanate and the second in the Gulf region.
There is also a new state-of-the-art control room to simulate real-life emergency scenarios and responses and enhance in-house process safety awareness.
In addition, the PDO has built a multi-purpose hall for 250 people to organise workshops and conferences.
"To reach the next level, the company has ensured it has a first-class training framework to attract, nurture and retain Omani recruits and build technical expertise. This approach is further testament of PDO's In-Country Value strategy to build Omani capability and talent," added PDO's learning and development manager Hamed Al Hadhrami.