The recent trend in the oil and gas industry has been towards oil and gas exploration in deep waters. The technology for deep water oil and gas exploration has witnessed tremendous growth. New and expansive reserves have been discovered in different parts of the world inclusive of the Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria is now a major player in deepwater oil and gas exploration and exploitation. The big players in the oil and gas industry – Shell International, Chevron, Total, Exxon-Mobil are all now involved very actively in deepwater oil and gas exploitation.
Though Nigeria has found itself as a major player in deepwater oil and gas industry, it is regrettable that there is a dearth of local manpower/skill in this industry. This is understandable, because deepwater technology is a fairly recent development. One of the benefits of this technology is that it seldom experiences environmental pollution hazards and community related problems associated with onshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation. However, it poses its own peculiar challenges as shown by recent blow out in the sea bed and subsequent massive oil pollution experienced by British Petroleum Oil Company in the Gulf of Mexico. This experience is a very compelling reason for priority attention to be given to building up local manpower in this area. In order to address the gross inadequacy of local manpower in this new and evolving technology, the Offshore Technology School (OTS) is established. The School facilitates the achievement of the Federal Government’s pronouncement on local content initiative aimed at developing human capacity at the highest level in the oil and gas industry. OTS is a tripartite collaborative effort. The partners being UNIPORT and academic partners (Cranfield University and University of Aberdeen) on one tripod, Industrial partners (Global Marine, Abercom Energy supported by International Oil Companies (IOC) on the second tripod, the third tripod being the professional body (Society for Underwater Technology). Offshore Technology Centre will be in the Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS). Course delivery will be handled by the participating partners in the following ratio Uniport: Collaborating Universities: Industry partner: 40%: 40%: 20%.
Society for Underwater Technology
The Society for Under Technology (SUT) which is partnering with the University of Port Harcourt to run the Offshore Technology School is a world-wide, multi-disciplinary, learned society that brings together organizations with a common interest in underwater technology, ocean resource and offshore engineering. The society was founded in 1966 and has members from more than 40 countries. The organization has comprehensive expertise and influences development of new techniques and tools to further explore and exploit the world’s ocean resources. The sub-Saharan African branch headquarters of the society is in Lagos and it has been carrying out awareness programmes in deepwater technology. Its objective is to facilitate the exchange of information and knowledge and to partner with higher institutions in the development of manpower in deepwater technology.
The Vision of the Centre
The Institute has the vision of creating a true centre for excellence in integrated oil and gas technology in Nigeria – a centre of international repute that will serve as national manpower and adaptive research technology development and resource centre for Nigeria in particular and West African sub-region and the international petroleum industry.
The Mission of the School
a) To be the Nigerian and West African Sub-Regional leader in the provision of high quality academic, managerial and professional training in deepwater technology to acknowledge international standards.
b) To be the Centre of choice for ambitious and skilled graduates in competency enhancement for Masters and professional certification in subsea technology.
c) To partner with appropriate government, non-governmental, leading commerce and oil industry operators and service providers in the realization of providing skilled and competent manpower resource at postgraduate and professional levels.
The Frame Work of the School
The School shall operate as a centre of excellence in the oil and gas industry providing relevant competency and managerial skills at MSc and higher levels in the following areas.
Level 1: Integrated specialist training for graduate engineers and scientists for Masters degree.
Level 2: Professional Development Competency Certification
Level 3: Specialist research and development programmes with emphasis on real-time knowledge and technology transfer to industry through collaborative effort, this could provide a frame work for Student-Centred PhD programmes.
The programmes will be organized in unique ways to offer competitive advantage through full-time and part-time format involving a combination of formal lectures and access to e-Learning facilities.
There will be a 12-month fulltime programme offering the following courses:
• Pipeline Engineering
• Offshore Engineering
The proposal is that the academic year will run in the modular format, with each academic year spanning 12 calender months
Academic Programme Assessment
The programme assessment will be a combination of – formal written examination, dedicated course work, continuous assessment, group design presentation and final project viva. Students who satisfy the examiners will be awarded the Masters Degree.
The Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) Programme
The Postgraduate Diploma Programme shall be in the same areas as the Masters programme. The academic calendar and assessment format is essentially the same as for the Masters except that the course content is tailored for those who are intent on upgrading the quality of their Bachelors degree to enable them aspire for admission into the Masters programme or to give them competitive advantage for employment in the oil and gas industry.
Professional Development Certification Programme
This will be a dedicated Continuing Professional Development (CPD) short-course competency certification training programme for Engineers and Scientists. The programme will be made flexible to allow candidates to access dedicated combination of courses under the specialist programmes listed for the Masters and PGD Certificates.
Admission will be offered to qualified candidates who will be required to fill application forms and must have a Bachelors Degree in Science and Engineering at a minimum level of Second Class Honours Upper Division. Applicants will be subjected to written test and oral interview by a panel constituted by IPS and SUT representatives.