By Margaret Nongo-Okojokwu
The President of the Oil and Gas Trainers Association (OGTAN) Dr. Mayowa Afe and the Vice Chancellor, Niger Delta University, Professor Edomiekumo G. Samuel and other Vice Chancellors drawn from the benefiting Universities were also present.
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and Danvic Petroleum International have begun the training of 18 lecturers of Geology and Geophysics on OpendTect Seismic Interpretation Software. The Software is widely used by operating companies in the oil and gas industry and it enhances the discovery of hydrocarbon resources.
The training opened in Abuja this week and the participating lecturers were drawn from six universities, three each from Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State; Federal University of Technology (FUT) Owerri, Imo State; Federal University of Technology (FUT) Minna, Niger State; Federal University of Technology (FUT) Akure, Ondo State; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State and University of Maiduguri, Borno State.
The scope of the training include Software training, Hardware maintenance and Data processing and Interpretation. In his welcome address, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote stated that Danvic Petroleum and her oversea partner, dGB Earth Sciences Netherlands provided the OpendTect Software free of charge. He noted that the cost of this software for the six universities amounted to over US$1.2m. The Executive Secretary who was represented by the Director, Planning Research and Statistics, NCDMB, Mr. Patrick Daziba Obah confirmed that ExxonMobil supported the programme by donating workstations that would hoist the software in three universities -NDU Bayelsa, FUT Owerri and ABU Zaria. Similarly, Chevron donated the workstations for FUT Akure while Sapetro donated the workstation for FUT Minna. He stated that the training and donation of the software and workstations falls within the NCDMB’s Adopt a Faculty (AAFac) Initiative. According to him, the AAFac programme seeks to link academic institutions with the oil and gas industry through deliberate interventions in the areas of infrastructure development, learning and knowledge exchange, alignment of curriculum to industry needs and research and development. Obah stressed that “academic institutions provide the ecosystem for manpower development and innovation required to drive exploration and production activities in the oil and gas industry.”
This he said underscored the importance of establishing sustainable collaboration between academia and industry operators under a structured programme. To check the redundancy or under-utilisation of these equipments, Obah requested the international operating companies to provide live data to schools for processing and onward utilization by operators, carry out scheduled maintenance programme for the workstations and replace workstations with modern versions as well train and retrain at least three lecturers on the use of the workstations and software.
He also charged the universities to fully maximize the software packages to drive the enhancement of Geoscience education in their institutions. The Managing Director of Danvic Petroleum, Dr Mayowa Afe expressed optimism that knowledge of the software by the university lecturers will enhance the training of students in Geology and Geophysics, thereby making them more employable and relevant to the needs of the oil and gas industry after graduation. He noted that such programmes would also help to address the scenario where oil and gas companies prefer expatriates to graduates produced by Nigerian universities because of the knowledge gap between the two groups, particularly in specialized areas of the oil and gas industry, where exposure to update to technology is necessary.
He added that the training would “increase the employment potential of students after graduation thereby reducing their exposure to violent and criminal activities, validate skills and knowledge of lecturers for effective training and teaching of future geoscientists and achieve deeper specialization with a widely used automated tool in the oil and gas market.” Afe charged the Federal Government to invest more in Nigerian universities rather than only sending out graduates for overseas studies. He also highlighted the need to review the curriculum of universities to reflect current realities and needs of employers, so as to increase the employment potentialities of graduates. The Vice Chancellor of Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State, Prof. Samuel G. Edonmiekumo stated that the assistance by NCDMB and the oil companies would help bridge the technology gap between universities and the oil and gas industry. “This will impact generations of graduates,” he added.