How Adimula-led PTI is achieving purpose, supplying manpower needs to petroleum industry in Africa
In line with the universal responsibility which the instrumentality of participatory democracy confers on media professionals to support positive efforts of public office holders in any given society, GbaramatuVoice on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, paid a courtesy visit to Dr. Henry Adimula-led Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta state.
Aside warm welcome received from Dr Henry Adimula, Principal/Chief Executive and his staff drawn from the public Affairs Department of the institution, GbarmatuVoice entourage which was on its part led on the visit by Jacob Abai, CEO/Editor-In-Chief, listened with rapt attention to Dr. Adimula demonstrate with vivid example and emotional match, how PTI has through quality leadership provision, democratized management and efficient resource management, become a referenced training institute of repute in Africa with plans underway to creatively become a global brand in the comity of Petroleum Training Institutes.
Vision for PTI
Giving background to what necessitated the establishment of the institute, Adimula said that the part of PTI traced back to the beginning of the oil and gas industries in Nigeria. According to him, petroleum for a very long time has been main stay in Nigerian economy, and the institute was established to developed quicker man power to run the affairs of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria today, noting that the institute is achieving this set objectives.
He added that the institution which was established in 1972 (50 years ago) has consistently trained, at the last count about 50,000 Nigerians and foreigners, in its facilities.
In his words, “Yes we are achieving the objective of manpower development for the sector, we have achieved it, and we are doing much more to conquer the rest of the world. Now the Petroleum Training Institute pride itself to be highly technologically driven environment, and well trained and equipped people with 100% knowledge.
“How do we know that we are doing a very good job not just in Nigeria also in Africa? It is simple, it is based on what we have been able to achieve. We have trained personnel of many countries in Africa, Benin Republic and Angola among others. All these have come to Petroleum Training Institute; in fact, many of the oil producing countries in Africa have had one time or the other deal with us as we have helped to train their personnel. We are doing a lot and we are appreciative. Recently, an organization came to visit us and after looking at our facilities, promised to fashion out ways on how PTI can be designated as a center of excellence in the sub region.”
Relationship with PTI and Federal University of Petroleum and Natural Resources
On the relationship between PTI and Federal University of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Adimula stated that their mandate are not the same, Petroleum Training Institute, he explained, is a specialized institution, unlike a typical polytechnic or a typical university. It is an institution designed primarily to provide on the job training facilities so that you coming here learn the requisite skill.
“Most of what we do are practical oriented; a lot of practical content, and that makes us quite different from any other organizations or any such training institution in Nigeria. so it’s not a typical or a conventional University certainly not and that is why you would see if you take a tour of the school you will see that here we have a library for instance, and that is what exactly you will find in the field so people can come here and see exactly what they could get in field, that way they are job ready, I dare say that most of our institution are not fashioned that way.”
Assessment of President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government
The administration has done well, and I think that one thing we can be proud of that this administration has been able to achieve was the passage of the PIA, that’s the Petroleum Industry Act and that has open up a lot of opportunities for the industry, a lot of opportunities even for the host community, and that also is what the government is using now to attract a lot of investment in the industry. Yes it’s a very good policy, apart from the PIA, before now we have heard several other policies like the pronouncement of this decade as the decade of gas.
Yes, gas is a cleaner fuel, and a conventional Petroleum products, and that also is standing with the desire of the country to become greener, to make our environment better, and that means also we are moving in the same direction with the rest of the world. So that is a very good policy also, so the government has come with several other policies that had put the industry and the economy in a much better position today.
I just mentioned that the PIA offered to us a lot of opportunities because we see in it a lot of opportunities to develop training capacity, and also to help to develop the indigenous capacity, and especially of the oil producing host communities, we see there are glisters of opportunities, in terms of hope, has government given us suddenly more money, that is not the idea and what government does is to create an environment for every serious organization like ours, to take advantage of and that already we are doing.
The Petroleum Training Institute is a para-statal of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, so the Ministry of Petroleum Resources has an oversight function to the institute, but PTI also have it’s own governing council, and if you check our ACT, the enabling ACT, the council is there to oversee the day to day learning activities of the institutes and directly reporting from the council is the Principal/Chief Executive of the Petroleum Training Institute.
Relationship with Staff
I should say it has been wonderful from day one, the PTI environment is a very wonderful, conducive environment that anyone that is willing to build a career will find himself in an environment that you can thrive and I think that is very critical, some environment may stifle you, but this environment allows you to develop, and allows you to actualize your potentials, and I must say Yes, PTI this environment, this community has provided me with such opportunities.
The major challenge, yes we are servicing the oil and gas industry, and the oil and gas industry is not just a local industry. it is an international industry and also an industry that is heavily dependent on technology. That also means that you need a lot of investment every time to catch up with the technology as they evolve.
Yes, funding has been a challenge, but how do we go around that, yes, we maximize what we have and also in partnering with a lot of other bodies that are able to assist us in funding, so that we have been able to overcome such challenges, and because also of the critical nature of the industry, the institute is currently repositioning, deliberately aligning itself much more closer to the needs of the oil and gas industry today.
The goal, the objective is that the institute will become the center of excellence, as a training hub for oil and gas industry, not just locally in Nigeria but of course as we rightly noted earlier, across the world . That is our overall goal and market
All these are a pointer that yes, we can do so much more by believing in ourselves as Nigerians, that all these things are possible with us. So the goal of the institute is to win the trust and respect of the industry that there is no point taking this trainings outside of the country, with the right investment and support this trainings will be delivered successfully here. And we have done a lot of training for many other oil companies, so whatever opportunity that comes, we are more than ready and capable and we are going to deliver.
So, that is our target really, not to complain, not to whine about everything, but to look at how we take advantage of the challenges, improve what we do and win the respect of the industry.
3% PIA allocation to host communities
Well, I believe that whatever is assigned to the communities is for the development of the community and should be considered as a step in the right direction. It is quite commendable. It is better than when we didn’t have anything, so it is a very good one. But I think what we should do is to use the 3% well, so that by the time we use it judiciously and people see the result, to ask for more or to ask for an amendment. Every law is not perfect and as we uphold the law, if there are needs to amend, if there are needs to modify, there are needs to do anything about it, yes we will do that.
So, yes we have a starting point. Now let’s see how we have gone or how well we have done in a few years from now. So, that’s a very good one. Yes in future, with the judicious use of the 3%, if there’s a need why not 5% why not something more.
Yes, as you have noted, we have been in business for over 50years. This institution was established in 1972 and consistently we have trained, at the last count we have trained about 50,000 Nigerians and foreigners, in our facilities here.
Now, if you take into cognizance of the industry today, most of the people that you see that are running their industry today, at one time or the other have had the training of one or two here at the institute. So, they are there, they are achieving, making good opportunities in the industry and they are there fit for purpose because that is the essence of their training.
So we have a strong alumni relationship. Let me quickly say that yes, they can do more. They have been doing, there are some instances of support from the industry, and of course yes we want a lot more.
Crude oil pollution in the Niger Delta
First I think is to look for the root cause. What are the major problems, the challenges we are having in the environment today, maybe oil spill here today or pipeline burst here tomorrow and all of that. Now, one of the things I think that the industry can do is to look at the integrity of the facilities and also to ensure that the facilities are still in a state that they can still function, so that we don’t have pipeline bursting and all of that.
Then also the issues of sabotage or damage to the critical infrastructure. The industry can do alot by engaging local host communities. Another reason the PIA should be celebrated is entrusting the management of some of these things to the host communities themselves, so that when you have a say in the industry, now you are better able to protect that facility. So in terms of that, we can do a lot differently.
Now when the activities have caused maybe pollution and all of that, there are so many government agencies that are charged with maybe remediation and managing the process. So, I think what the government can do is to create the environment and create the necessary support.
The truth is that there is a reason why gas is flared. Technically we need to do that, even if you go to the most advanced places in this world, there are instances where gas is flared. However, you can collect those gasses and monetize it. But again, you most look at not just a single issue but look at the total picture. Now, you collect the gasses at what cost, it’s very expensive, then you look at the market to even utilize that. It’s still economics, for instance the government imposes fine. But to the operators, it is cheaper to pay the fine than to make the investment.
Modular Refineries and Ongoing Projects
We are to train and develop capacity and also to develop technology that is needed in the oil and gas industries, home grown technologies and what we do in terms of modular refinery is one, to train and also to do research and development.
We have a functional ongoing Research and Development (RD) Unit that is focused on developing local modular refineries and we have done a lot of work, a lot of research to look at the various materials, to look at the various processes and everything to be sure that the modular refinery fully works.
You recall that the future of the industry has actually moved to Energy that is Cleaner Sources of Energy not just the crude oil that we have now. We have lots of research. In fact, we have what is called Research Clusters that are looking at various aspects of the industry, the energy industry and what are the things that are upcoming or trending, we have a unit that is looking at various possible forms of energy, Greener Energy than what we have today.
Also we are looking at developing oil producing chemicals that are greener that are not having that harmful effect on the environment that is what we are doing.
Then, also, you talk about environmental pollution and all that, now a tea here in this institute has developed a product. This is a product when applied to the oil polluted soils; it can very rapidly remediate the soil faster than what is currently available in the market. This is a project that was sponsored by the PTDF and we have that already and ready to go. So we are doing that and a lot more.
Message to President Muhammadu Buhari
To the government, headed by the President who is also the Minister of the Petroleum, who is our direct boss, first is appreciation for all that the government has done for the institute in the past 8 years under the leadership of the president and today we have a kind of stability. We may not be perfect but we are on the way to achieving that, and all the policies that have been passed under this government are there for us as opportunities to help make the industry better and also create the investment that will drive the industry to the future.
The people of Niger Delta region
The Niger Delta People have been very wonderful and they have been very good host to the PTI and PTI today is what we are also because of the support that we have from the Niger Delta People, so I look forward to greater partnership, much more beneficiary between the institute and the host communities and also to develop the institute to become the preferred place where you want to train anybody in the oil and gas industry.