Localising energy sector: Brunei looks to learn from Oman’s experience

|      James Kon      |

BRUNEI Darussalam is looking to learn from Oman on how it implements its localisation strategies for the oil and gas industry, to help achieve the goals of the Bruneianisation Directive, Brunei’s very own localisation drive for the sector.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the two-day 3rd Brunei-Oman Joint Seminar at the Banquet Hall of the Prime Minister’s Office, Minister of Energy, Manpower and Industry Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Mohd Hussein added that Brunei Darussalam through his ministry has placed extra attention to ensuring that more Bruneians are filling up job opportunities in the energy sector and other industries.

He said of the initiative, “The Bruneianisation Directive was issued in June 2018 for the oil and gas industry to ensure that Bruneians take a leading role in the field.

“The desired outcome of this directive is to maximise employment opportunities for Bruneians at all levels of organisation; to develop highly competent Bruneian business leaders, professionals, technicians and skilled workers; and to sustain the development of the oil and gas industry.”

“The directives have been instrumental in ensuring that the development of our energy sector creates employment and business growth opportunities for locals. We plan to extend similar directives to other sectors.”

ABOVE & BELOW: Minister of Energy, Manpower and Industry Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Mohd Hussein and Minister of Oil and Gas of the Sultanate of Oman Dr Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy delivering their speeches. – PHOTOS: RAHWANI ZAHARI

The minister added, “We have issued directives on local business development in 2011 aimed at ensuring and facilitating the sustainable development of capabilities and competitiveness of local contractors and suppliers, in order to support the oil and gas industry within Brunei. The directives not only aim to develop their capabilities locally, but are also meant to provide a sound foundation for them to pursue opportunities overseas.”

Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny said that in view of Oman being the global frontrunner in such a localisation process and having embarked on the journey before, Brunei is hoping to garner valuable insights from the country in the area.

“This seminar therefore will provide an ideal opportunity for us to discuss, share and learn from each other especially in areas of success, in boosting local content, and securing high participation of the local workforce in the energy sector,” the minister said.

Touching on the bilateral ties of Brunei and Oman, the minister recounted, “Since 1986, Brunei Darussalam and Oman have enjoyed a long history of brotherly exchange in oil and gas professionals, for the joint capacity development of our people, particularly through Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) and Petroleum Development Oman (PDO).

“I know from my Shell experience, Omanis enjoy their assignments here in Brunei. I am happy to note that we will in fact be hearing from two Omanis who are currently placed in BSP and Brunei LNG as part of the seminar’s programme.

“I must also share that Bruneians cross-posted to Oman seem to almost always request for an extension. The interactions between our cross-postees while on assignment serve to encourage greater collaboration and people-to-people contact. There is no doubt that the close cooperation between our two countries is key in addressing the current and future challenges for the energy sector.”

Oman’s Minister of Oil and Gas Dr Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy highlighted in his speech, “This third seminar between our two industries has expanded beyond the oil and gas sectors. We’ve brought interests from other sectors, and we are setting a very good example in sharing the common challenges that both our countries are facing.”

He continued, “The challenges that Brunei Darussalam is facing are similar to the challenges faced by Oman – we have mature fields that are deteriorating and also we are experiencing infrastructure and subsurface decline.

“The marketing challenges that we read every day from the oil and gas prices in the international market create challenges internally in terms of creating wealth and opportunities for young people. We need to discuss these issues and I am pleased that these are all in the agendas of the seminar.

“We are open and willing to share the pain that we are going through as well as the solution that we have found. I am sure that we will hear the same from the Brunei side. We have brought with us this time a national training fund that addresses issues not only for the oil and gas sector, but also other industries.”