Kenya has a glaring skills gap in the oil and gas sector. Currently Kenya imports welders and coaters from abroad (Nigeria, South Africa, Lebanon and China) to build our pipelines. The Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC) spends more than Sh3.6 million per month to import manpower from as far away as Nigeria and South Africa to weld and coat the ongoing Mombasa–Nairobi pipeline alone.
This skills gap is also present within the oil and gas sector by and large remains a major challenge as Kenya prepares to exploit its newfound resources. The evident skills gap has denied Kenya several mega projects, with most of its people confined to menial labour in the oil and gas sector.
However all that is about to change with the recently established Morendat Centre of Excellence for oil and gas pipelines which has been set up with the aim of developing human resource capacity for Kenya’s partner states in the areas of oil and gas pipelines management, operations and maintenance to reduce the expenses incurred on hiring expatriate workers. The centre has been setup by the Kenya Pipeline Corporation. The new centre is a welcome development and is set to open next month helping Kenya position itself strategically for economic prosperity.
The Morendat Training and Conference Centre (MTCC) is based in Naivasha and is the brainchild of the heads of state of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. During the Third Heads of State Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, on October, 28, 2013, whereby member states agreed that Centres of Excellence for capacity building be created to support the Northern Corridor Integration Projects. Among the centres proposed was KPC’s Morendat Training and Conference Centre.
The institution is the first one in East Africa and the third in Africa after Sonatrach based in Algeria and Transnet in South Africa. The Morendat Centre of Excellence will offer competence-based technical courses in pipeline maintenance, project management, pipeline technology, operations, safety, quality control and legal and regulatory frameworks.
The KPC is the only white pipeline operator in the region with over 1,300km of pipeline network. As the region embarks on large-scale oil and gas exploitation, experts estimate that more than 2,700km of pipeline will be developed to coincide with this significant growth. This will require more than 2,500 technicians, up from the 700 in the region, all of whom work in the KPC. These are the demand dynamics and strategic institutional linkages that the Centre of Excellence will address. The institution opens its doors next month.
Despite the fact that Kenya has the most educated population in the region, unemployment is high. Some companies struggle to hire adequate qualified talent. The new institution aims to build local content in the neighbouring countries enabling them to manage, operate and maintain oil and gas pipelines and reduce dependence on expatriate labour
-Source: The star,