PETRONAS Gives Trainees 'Real' Experience at its Integrated Training Center

Ever since its launch in March 2014, Malaysia’s national oil company Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) has provided trainees with real-live operations of an actual plant at its Integrated Oil & Gas Training Centre (IOGTC) in Batu Rakit, Terengganu.

Located at the Institut Teknologi Petroleum PETRONAS (INSTEP), the firm’s technical training school established in 1981, IOGTC revolves around the concept of giving trainees an integrated, hands-on experience to complement classroom learning through live simulation and training.

PETRONAS is the only oil and gas firm in Asia that currently offers live simulation training facilities as part of its capability development program for technicians and operators, who will be benchmarked against global standards.

The center has everything required for training under the flagship one-year Petroleum Technology Program (PTP) from a drilling rig module to a downstream processes training plant.

The PTP curriculum has been tailored to create a “real” work environment, with trainees deployed on three shifts given that the plant is run around the clock.

“The training plant integrates all of the systems found on a rig or platform, allowing multiple processes to be run simultaneously, giving trainees exposure to a complete upstream processing facility,” INSTEP trainer Mohd Lutfi said.

“These training plants are exactly the same as a fully functional plant, except on a smaller scale. For example, the upstream side includes a fully functional control room as well as a well production and a pigging system,” he added.

Unlike traditional on-the-job (OJT) training, which is often limited to only observation, the experience is much more complete and holistic.

“The key idea in using the live simulation training facilities is to let our trainees get their hands dirty and really experience what it feels like to be working as technicians and operators,” George Ling Kien Sing, head of the Wells Division, commented.

“There are emergency situations at a live plant that technicians will face such as gas and oil leaks, pipes bursting, electrical or motor burns. You will never know how people will react until they are in that situation. At the training plant, we can recreate these situations in a safe environment with the same obstacles such as limited space.

“After going through this simulated experience, the trainees will be familiar enough with operations to be able to work independently and ease the way into live operations. With the facilities in place, the program can produce operations-ready technicians in the span of 12 months,” he noted.

Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of PETRONAS’ Upstream business, Wee Yiaw Hin added, “The success of our operations rests greatly on the abilities of our people. Our operations are complex and can be dangerous if not handled correctly. There is no better teacher than experience.”

With the new training facilities, INSTEP has also doubled its training capacity from 850 trainees to 1,700 trainees each year as part of its continuing efforts to become a regional educational hub for the oil and gas industry. These efforts dovetail with Malaysia’s manpower plans to meet the oil and gas industry’s growing needs for a highly skilled workforce.

Competency building ranks high on the company’ agenda, as indicated in PETRONAS President and CEO Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin’s speech to the CPA Congress 2015 in Kuala Lumpur last month, when he revealed that the firm spent around $115.9 million (MYR 500 million) on talent management, leadership training and competency building in 2014.

PETRONAS has approximately 51,000 employees, according to the company’s Sustainability Report 2014.


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