Universities have been challenged to partner with the oil and gas industry to produce quality graduates that will meet the needs of the industry.
Speaking during the inaugural lecture on gas and oil exploration at the University of Nairobi , the Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum, Hon. Charles Keter, advocated for close collaboration between the academia and the oil industry to develop the skills. “There is lack of skills, high cost of capital and lack of technology in the oil and gas exploration”, said the Cabinet Secretary.
According to the CS, Kenya needs to develop skills and produce proffessionals such as; petroleum engineers, petroleum lawyers, economists, geophysics specialists.
On his part, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbithi noted that Kenya is in the golden era for oil and gas exploration and thus must address the challenges that come with exploration of the black gold. Universities must develop capacity by training manpower, producing research outcomes, seeking partnerships to re-tool its curriculum to the needs of the industry. “I call upon others to partner with us by investing in student internships, attachments and employing our graduates”, said the Vice-Chancellor.
To produce oil and gas engineers, the University has partnered with National Oil Corporation, Kenya Pipeline Company, Tullow Oil Limited among other companies. The University has also benchmarked with other oil producing countries like Norway, France, USA, India and Brazil.
As part of its performance contract mandate to produce graduates with specialized skills, the University has recently put in place a Bachelors degree in Petroleum Engineering.
There was a panel discussion, members being: Mr. Andrew Kamau, PS, State Department of Petroleum, Eng. James Mwangi, Chairman , Energy and Extractives Sector Board, KEPSA, Mr. Joe Sang, Managing Director, Kenya Pipeline Company, Mr. Powell Maimba, Chairman, Petroleum Institute of East Africa and Dr. Daniel Ichang’i, Chairman, Geology Department, University of Nairobi.
The inaugural lecture was also attended by University of Nairobi staff, students and members of the public.