UPIK Set to Train Technicians for Tilenga Oil Project

Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba- UPIK will this year start training and carrying out competency assessment of 201 potential oil production operators, maintenance and inspection technicians slated to work in Tilenga oil Project.

Bernard Ongodia, the Principal UPIK, who was speaking on Saturday in Kiryandongo District during the commissioning of the institute’s new state of the art facilities and training equipment noted that they have already signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tilenga oil Project operator, TotalEnergies E&P Uganda.

According to the arrangement, students in this cohort will study for three years; starting with receiving instruction from staff members employed by the institute. Later, they will receive training from both local staff and expatriates working in the oil fields and will also be sent for a year of off-shore training.

To Ongodia, this partnership will propel the educational institution to new heights by exposing their staff and students to international oil and gas specialists and boosting their potential to develop the skills necessary for Ugandans to profit from the sector. 

URN understands that those who will take part in the training have already been selected through the Tilenga Massive Open Online Courses, a free online programme which was launched at the beginning of 2022.

Ongodia says that besides, the institute has also won contracts from Skills Development Fund, Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) and TotalEnergies to directly train students in coded welding. Meanwhile, in order to enhance training the institution’s management is also working to set up a drilling rig at their campus.

The rig considered was formerly owned by Heritage Oil and Gas and later Tullow Oil. The latter company donated the rig to UPIK before Its exit from the country. Ongodia says that over the previous years they had failed to move and set up the rig at the Institute due to the high logistical costs involved.

However, recently China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) Uganda Limited accepted to take on the responsibility of removing corrosion, repainting, transfer and setting up of the Rig at UPIK’s campus. He adds that with this progress, they have started establishing collaboration with Aberdeen Drilling School to develop drilling training modules once the Rig training platform is in place. 

In a related development, UPIK, which still has the vision of becoming a centre of excellence for oil and gas training, has begun to consider expanding to become a fully-fledged energy institute covering various facets of energy, particularly renewable energy, and possibly changing their name to “Uganda Energy Institute.”

“This is not a mere global trend but a sustainable way. Our proposed structure suggests a department of renewable energy to manage that transition. The change of name is also important because we have experienced a tendency of Partners shying away from collaborating with us due to our perceived exclusivity in fossil fuels,” said the principal.

Established in 2009, UPIK is the sole institution with accreditation from different international bodies to teach Petroleum and related courses. The institution has certification from the American Welding Society, City and Guilds, Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organization (OPITO), and Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) (AWS).

Additionally, UPIK is a Center of Excellence designed to provide oil and gas-related vocational skills that are internationally recognised. The institute has graduated a total of 1,396 students since it was founded. 1,004 Trainees on International Vocational Qualification programmes and 392 on Training on National Diploma Programmes, respectively.   

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