| Danial Norjidi |
THE drop in global oil prices will not hinder Brunei’s production or downstream activities, and dealing with the price fluctuation is simply part of being in the oil and gas industry.
Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, said this in an interview after meeting with members of the industry as a second follow-up to the Oil and Gas Sector Job Fair 2014.
During the meeting, one of the points raised was linked to the drop in crude oil prices and how it could affect businesses here. Speaking to the Bulletin, he said, “This is normal for the oil and gas industry.
“When the price of oil hits $50, people do not stop producing.
“No one stops producing. Life goes on, and the prices will adjust themselves. It’s market driven.
“This is the reality of the world; the reality of the market,” he continued. “A lot of our downstream activity will go on because there are good economics,” he said
Brunei will march on with its oil and gas production as well as its downstream activi-ties, which the minister said other countries in the world are also continuing to do.
The meeting saw various members of the industry share their thoughts on issues pertaining to the oil and gas industry, including how oil prices would affect businesses and how employment could be boosted.
One hot topic was that of the Energy Industry Competency Framework (EICF). As a manpower consultant said in the session, the EICF is a world-class product that makes sure people are trained and have the necessary skills.
“In Brunei we make sure we are able to do the job, we prepare and train our people well and then we place a condition that they must be absorbed into the workforce,” said the minister.
Many of those who applied at the Oil and Gas Sector Job Fair do not have technical qualifications. On this, the minister highlighted the need for things to get moving and for the relevant agencies dealing with employment to be aligned.
“Now is the time for all relevant agencies to work together. This is why in two to three weeks’ time, we will sit down again and reproduce the actual demand profile of not only the oil and gas industry, but hopefully across the board.
“The supply and demand (for employment opportunities) of the industry is something that we should be able to do,” he said. “We should be able to map out the demand profile. It’s not impossible.”
Another point raised during the meeting was that the EICF should be used as a model to help develop local workforces for other industries.
Asked in the interview if he agreed with this suggestion, he said, “Yes. Why would I not want to share something good with my colleagues from other ministries? It’s good. It’s good for the country, it’s good for Brunei and it’s good for all of us.”
Speaking on plans for the EICF in 2015, he said, “We have plans for new positions to be trained that will be available by April. We are on track for this, and we will also get feedback, and do some fine-tuning in terms of soft skills and resilience, as well as fine-tuning some of the EICF courses so that people who are sent offshore will be able to handle.”
The target of the Energy Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EDPMO) last year was for 3,000 locals to be hired in the oil and gas industry. Sure enough, as the minister shared yesterday, the number at the end of 2014 showed 3,082 locals were hired, exceeding the target number.
On the EDPMO’s plans going forward, the minister said they will be doing a lot more in terms of profiling, matching and synchronising job opportunities with applicants.
“Again, we want to help other people in the other sectors as well. We want to help them. We want to say ‘please come and look at how we do things’.”