The UK government has stated that it is well placed to help the East African oil and gas industry, which it described as holding huge opportunities.
“East Africa has now secured its position as a big player for hydrocarbon exploration on the world stage,” British High Commissioner, Nic Hailey, said at the 4th East Africa oil and gas summit.
“Major gas reserves in Tanzania and Mozambique. Substantial deposits of crude oil in Uganda and Kenya. The opportunities are huge. Now is the time to look to the hard lessons learned elsewhere and ensure the benefits are widely felt,” he added.
In his speech, Hailey also outlined why the UK is in a good position to help the East African hydrocarbon sector.
“Over 50 years of experience in North Sea oil and gas has given the UK a global competence in all aspects of exploration and production. The oil and gas industry supports over 375,000 jobs in the UK. The top two UK firms listed by market capitalization are in the extractives industry … and there is a wealth of UK companies leading the way in designing, financing and implementing oil and gas construction projects across the world,” Hailey said.
The high commissioner stated that British organizations are already working in East Africa to bring the investment, skills and knowledge which will help to drive the sector’s growth.
The University of Aberdeen last year teamed up with the University of Dar es Salaam on a $2 million grant to help develop Tanzania’s oil and gas sector by developing local human resource capabilities. UK companies are also investing in education in the region through scholarship programs.
“The Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme has helped bridge the skills gaps in the oil and gas sector within the countries in which Tullow operates. Seventy-six Kenyans have been awarded scholarships to UK universities and received postgraduate qualifications in the energy sector. BG Group runs a similar programme in Tanzania, with 34 scholarships having been awarded since 2012. The beneficiaries have all since returned to Tanzania, and have been recruited by locally-based oil and gas companies,” Hailey said.
The UK government, with support from Germany, has also designed the Skills for Oil and Gas Africa program to maximize local employment in the regional oil and gas sector. The program focuses on Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique, working closely with the private sector and government to equip local populations with the skills needed to seize job opportunities in the sector. The 5-year project is expected to help around 32,000 local people find sustainable jobs.
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