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Oil & Gas: National Content Requires Strong Teamwork

Jim Walton, the Director for Local Content and Corporate Strategy at Flour, a California, US-based company with interests in engineering, fabrication, construction and maintenance services, says for local content to be successful, there must not only be strong teamwork between different stakeholders but also tradeoffs in order to strike a balance.
Uganda requires strong teamwork between government, oil companies, contractors and locals, to achieve enriching national participation in the oil and gas sector, experts have said.

This is the view underpinning the two-day Skilling and Local Content Forum ongoing in Kampala.

Uganda has confirmed 6.5 billion barrels of oil and up to 20 billion Shillings is expected to be injected into its development in the next few years.

It is against that background that concern is growing on whether Ugandans will partake of the huge monies, never seen in eastern Africa, by participating or will lose out to foreigners due to lack of requisite skills and capacity.

Jim Walton, the Director for Local Content and Corporate Strategy at Flour, a California, US-based company with interests in engineering, fabrication, construction and maintenance services, says for local content to be successful, there must not only be strong teamwork between different stakeholders but also tradeoffs in order to strike a balance.

 

Usually, the oil companies and contractors, which are mainly foreign, set the standards so high that locals rarely cope up. The high standards are used as a ploy to deny locals lucrative opportunities in the oil and gas sector which are then snapped up by foreigners.

 

Walton says government, especially the regulatory authority, oil companies, contractors and local companies need to work together in a cost-effective way.

 

He says local content opportunities, including who can partake of them, be it by local or foreign actors, need to be mapped out throughout the value chain and executed accordingly, drawing examples from the over 1,000 projects Flour undertakes globally annually, raking in USD 19 million in revenues.

 

According to Walton, since oil and gas projects, just like any infrastructure project, disrupts people's lives, it is important to emphasize participation by those directly disrupted, like communities in the Lake Albert Basin.

 

He said some business opportunities must be ring-fenced for what he termed "local-local micro and small businesses" as well as the involvement of local governments.

 

Catherine Sanchez, Total E and P Uganda's National Content Expert, listed many local content-boosting initiatives that need to be undertaken, like SME training and coaching, and training of trainers of technical and vocational skills.

 

Jessica Kyeyune, the National Content Manager of China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), said the National Oil and Gas Talent Register will make it easier for oil operators and locals to link up on job matters.

 

Alex Asiimwe, the Chair of Oil and Gas Sector Skills Council, said oil and gas provides a great opportunity for Uganda to generate jobs for its citizens.

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