Sasol seeks oil, gas worker training in Mozambique

The recent hydrocarbon discoveries in Mozambique have resulted in a significant increase in mining and exploration activities. But with the nation's energy sector experiencing a lack of skilled local resources to sustain these projects, Mozambique's government is now prioritizing skills development and capacity building, officials said on Monday.

The national initiative was given a major boost when the managing director of Sasol Petroleum, Ebbie Haan, announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Eduardo Mondlane University. 

The announcement was made at the Getenergy Workshop in Maputo on on February 25, where representatives of the Mozambique government, together with oil and gas companies, and a number of education and training institutions, gathered to discuss requirements for bridging the skills gap and for developing a platform on which partnerships can be built going forward.

The workshop was sponsored by Sasol, the main sponsor, as well as by Getenergy, co-sponsors and the event organizers, Anadarko, NExT and the British Council in Maputo.  

Haan said that in broad terms, the agreement  is focused on improving the opportunities for Mozambican nationals to gain quality education and expertise, in particular through the support of capacity building opportunities funded by Sasol; and promoting and enhancing collaboration to assist in the development of Mozambique nationals by building capacity and enabling them to work to international standards.

In the short term, activities and projects currently being explored include:
  • The establishment of a downstream curriculum and lecturer support program; and
  • The building and provision of relevant infrastructure such as laboratory common to science and engineering. This will give students and academic staff the opportunity to gain practical, international-level experience through world class equipment.  
Sasol noted that it has a long and successful track record of working with universities, having committed R250 million in 2006 to a ten-year university collaboration initiative with ten South African universities. The initiative aims to build competency in science and engineering by improving the quality of research and teaching facilities in these disciplines to ensure a long-term supply of highly-trained postgraduates for Sasol and other South African industries, as well as for the universities.

In Mozambique, Sasol has already laid the foundation for skills development by initiating a bursary program in partnership with the country’s Department of Mineral Resources. Established in 2013, the program encompasses 30 bursaries awarded annually for study in the energy sector in both South Africa and in Mozambique.

Haan said he hoped the agreement with Eduardo Mondlande University would “serve as a model for the development of partnerships, new and relevant curricula, teaching methodologies and subject disciplines and ultimately, the development of capacity in the oil and gas industry”. 

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