The University of Nairobi on Friday July 1 2016 held the first Oil and Gas Public lecture in Taifa hall graced by the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Energy Charles Keter. The main agenda for the different speakers during the lecture was capacity building. The fact that Kenya does not have the requisite skills to drive the industry has meant that Kenyans must partner with international companies to gain these skills as it trains its own labor force.
Speaking during the lecture the CS said, “We may not reap from the oil and gas discoveries in the country if we do not address the challenges. The University must rise to the occasion and train the needed man power to realize the productivity from the oil reserves”. He observed that energy plays an important role in the development of a country.
To build capacity, the University of Nairobi (UoN) has entered into partnership with Kenya Pipeline Company Limited (KPC) to train students in Petroleum engineering. The students who have finished their first year of study are expected to complete their study and contribute to Kenya’s growing oil and gas sector. African Development Bank (AfDB) and UoN are also gearing to set up a new science complex which will be Africa’s center for excellence for STEM and help the country toward building technical capacity to achieve vision 2030.
“Kenya Pipeline Corporation has established a Centre of excellence to provide research based data to support the management of the Oil and Gas sector” said Joe Sang the Managing director of Kenya Pipeline Corporation. He noted that the challenges in the sector include; lack of infrastructure and lack of skills.
Kenya has only 3 welders in their 50s who are capable of taking part in the construction of the Line 4, which is under construction. KPC said the country has only three specialised pipeline welders, prompting the Lebanese contractor to outsource “the rest” from other countries. To bridge the deficit the contractor has had to get welders from Nigeria, China and Lebanon. The KES 43 billion, 20-inch Nairobi-Mombasa multi-product pipeline is under construction by a consortium led by Zakhem to replace the aging one. The Lebanese contractor in 1978 constructed the existing pipeline.
The KPC said the country is spending over Sh3.6 million monthly on the imported manpower for the pipeline that is set to be completed in September. Whereas most of the most of the projects we are doing as a county are big on blue collar jobs, Kenyans have progressively shied away from blue collar training for white collar jobs
The demand for technical workers is set to further rise with the planned construction of a Sh210 billion crude oil pipeline from the Turkana oil fields to Lamu Port. Kenya has also entered in an agreement with Ethiopia to construct an oil pipeline linking both countries through northern Kenya to the Lamu port.
Nuclear energy is one of the energies that Kenya seeks to adopt to add into the national grid which is with a current capacity of about 1,700MW. Though the project has faced a myriad of opposition, Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB), the body established to see to the development and establishment of nuclear energy in Kenya, is positive to have a nuclear plant set by 2022.
Speaking to Kenya Engineer, an official from KNEB confirms that the feasibility study on the nuclear project is complete and awaits to be tabled before the parliamentary energy committee.
Last month (July) trainees from Kenyan institutions who are involved in developing the country’s nuclear power programme completed the IAEA supported training programme at the Nuclear Power Institute of Texas A&M University. IAEA was working on the pre-feasibility study together with the nuclear authority.
The Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury has set aside Ksh13.4 billion for the digital literacy programme commonly known as Laptop Project. The programme picked off after the joint ministries of ICT, Energy and Education rolled out the project with some schools getting the devices. Mr Rotich while Reading the Budget Statement at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday said the amount will be used for buying laptops and building capacity for teachers as well building laboratories for computers in schools.
Simba Energy Kenya held a successful meeting with elders and community leaders in Wajir, Kenya, the parties came to an understanding regarding allocation of work and services matters on Block 2A. The company has affirmed its strong commitment to conduct best work practices on the Block concession in Kenya.
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