AMEC Taps Oil Cos, Universities for Engineering Expertise in Angola

AMEC, the international engineering and project management company, announced that Paragon Angola Engenharia e Servicos, Lda., its joint venture with Prodoil Exploracao e Producao de Hidrocarbonetos, S.A.R.L. (Prodoil) of Angola, has formed and is facilitating an initiative, with input from national and international energy companies as well as representatives from the University of Houston (UH) and University Agostinho Neto (UAN) in Angola, to increase the region's technical training for engineers.

"With Angola's capabilities and stability continuing to advance, we want to be among the first to organize an effort that will help the country become self-sustainable by enhancing the technical capabilities of its people," said Terrance Ivers, president of AMEC's Houston-based subsidiary AMEC Paragon, which established Paragon Angola in 2004.

"We wanted to find a way to better develop engineers produced from the area while using the country's own resources," Ivers said. "It's not enough to meet minimum requirements of man-hour percentages. Our industry needs to step up and develop the next generation of leaders in Angola through cross-training opportunities, curriculum development, student transfer and adjunct professor opportunities to increase the region’s technical knowledge."

A UH alumni and board member for the UH Cullen College of Engineering, Ivers teamed with UH Associate Dean for Graduate Programs Suresh Khator to create a memorandum of understanding between Angola's UAN and UH to improve technical training to enable more Angolan students to succeed in the field of engineering technology, especially in the oil and gas sector. Ivers has committed AMEC Paragon to provide project management for the program with collaborative input from Sonangol, Chevron, Prodiaman, BP, ExxonMobil, Total, Eni, Schlumberger, Endiama and Paragon Angola.

"We wanted the two best engineering schools situated at two of the largest global hubs of the energy industry," said Ivers. "UH and UAN were the natural selections for our academic team. Through quarterly meetings in Angola, we hope to continue to help develop the local economy by increasing the participation of other international energy companies in this training initiative."

AMEC and Paragon Angola have a long history of providing engineering and design services for oil and gas projects in Angola. For the recently completed front-end engineering design (FEED) phase of the Kizomba Satellites project, Paragon Angola recently delivered on a commitment to Angolan national oil company Sonangol and ExxonMobil to deliver 25 percent of the total man-hours, approximately 38,000 hours, locally in Angola. According to Ivers, the 25 percent man-hour commitment is one of the highest "local content" levels set for such a project in Angola. He sees this new venture involving energy companies, UAN and UH as a means by which continual improvement can be made in this area.

Paragon Angola currently employs more than 30 people, over half of whom are Angolan. The company is currently providing training in process engineering, facilities design, electrical and instrument design, and offshore structural design to its newly recruited trainees.

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