International Oil Companies (IOCs) have shown great interest in cooperation with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources in accomplishing the Middle Management Program’s targets. They were also very interested in translating their enthusiasm into programs, trainings, and workshops to help the oil and gas workforce promote the sector’s achievements.

Enriching Human capacity

The programs developed by some of IOCs were mainly dedicated to building and enriching the human capacity, believing that it is an important factor in the process of preparing efficient future leaders.

Hussam Abuseif, Director and General Manager of Baker Hughes Egypt, Sudan and South Sudan, said that “Baker Hughes has been a dedicated partner to the Ministry over the years; and therefore, when His Excellency Eng. Tarek El Molla, the Minister of the Petroleum and Mineral resources, presented to us the Middle Management Training Program initiative, we were very keen to support it.”

Abuseif added that the program focused on building competency and enriching the leadership skills for future leaders in the sector. Furthermore, he noted that leadership training is crucial for the company which is honored to be partnering with the ministry in adding value to their initiative and help shape the program in ways that benefit the participants.

On the same sequence, Karim Badawi, Managing Director of Egypt and East Mediterranean at Schlumberger, said that “Schlumberger was one of the very first companies that reached out to the ministry’s modernization program leaders in order to support the program pillar three which is concerned with the people development in the Egyptian Oil and Gas sector.”

“One of Schlumberger core values is people that’s why we wanted to share our knowledge and expertise in oil and gas industry with the sector different parties as part of our commitment to the sector and society,” he added.

Badawi explained that his company has designed training programs mainly delivered by Schlumberger personnel; each program is designed for a specific target group from the sector: undergraduates; sector newly hired employees and the middle management group.

He said that via middle management program, the company managed to train all the pre-selected fast track group who are more than 100 trainees in addition to 40 middle management technical profiles.

“The fast track program was divided into two phases; the first phase was for one month covering soft skills; change management; project management; technical overview about oil and gas life cycle and a special overview of all support functions i.e. HR, IT, legal and finance with a special focus on HSE. The second phase is planned to be an overseas training to some of the fast track trainees to pass the international experience to the trainees.”

Kamel AL Sawi, the President of Kuwait Energy Egypt, said that his company designed a program aims to provide a true leadership development exposure that equips participants with the mindset, skill-set, and tool-set required for leadership progression roles at their organizations. This program will affect the performance of oil and gas sector positively.

Additionally, Al Sawi said that the company has tailored a tensed program that lasted for six months namely “Emerging Leaders” with the support and cooperation of all the parties.

“We have honored to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources to implement the program intensively.” He added

For Halliburton, the Vice President of Halliburton Egypt and Libya, Colby Fuser, said that his company offers a two-phase training program that has worked well in helping the company collaborate with the Ministry.

“Phase one is a three-month long training program held in Egypt for 20 selected candidates. For phase two, we select five candidates from the original 20 for a 3-month training program in the United States, said Fuser, who announced that the company plans to hold the next training session in Houston, Texas, on March 16.

“The program includes instruction in diverse disciplines where the candidates learn business processes, HSEQ, advanced presentation skills and participate in practical onsite training, said Fuser who referred to the program as an opportunity for candidates to build a network of mentors and friends within Halliburton who they can call on for support throughout their careers.

 Criteria of Developing Joint Programs

Each company adopted certain standards and criteria to be applied when developing the joint programs.

From Baker Hughes, Abuseif, said that the main criteria they applied, is understanding the objective of the program and the initiative as well as working together to co-develop a solution that meets the programs needs and finally working on a gap analysis if needed.

“Definitely, having a proper structure to the program encourages us to participate, and we were impressed by the level of organization and dedication from the ministerial team in charge of the program”, he commented.

For his part, Badawi said that his company held an internal brainstorming session at first  to shape the outline of the programs based on the target audience; then they had the first meeting with the ministry team to present the draft and know their requirements and feedbacks. After working on the final edition, a final meeting takes place with all stakeholder to agree on the program content, timeline and the target groups in addition to the expected outcome.

He added: “Our main criteria are always to avoid any conflict of interest; ensure confidentiality and ensure passing a good first-hand experience to all the trainees.”

As for Kuwait Energy Egypt, Al Sawi said that “Any joint program should be of an added value to all parties and the objectives should be agreed from the beginning in order to realize the expected outcome from the program.”

He emphasized that joint programs should serve the strategy of the company and in the meantime the strategy of the other party. “I think the Middle Management Program is a real example for this, where we realized the importance of the program which will shape the business mindset of the future leaders that will in turn lead to better business environment for us as an international oil and gas company investing in Egypt.”, he added.

Targeted Qualifications of the Participants

The participated IOCs in the Middle Management Program, selected the participants in the program according to some qualifications and skills.

The Director and General Manager for Baker Hughes Egypt, said that “Education qualifications and area of expertise were major components to screen potential candidates. It was also helpful for us to accommodate different business functions such as Finance, Human Resources (HR) and Health, Safety and Environment (HSE). Moreover, we expanded the criteria to cover upstream and downstream expertise.”

On the same sequence, the President of Kuwait Energy Egypt, said that “During the process of selecting the candidates for the middle management program, Kuwait Energy Egypt made sure that each participant should have a minimum level of both personal and technical competencies”.

“For the personal competencies, Kuwait Energy Egypt selected candidates who are eager to learn, committed and the ones who are self-motivated and willing to go the extra mile and convey what they have learnt to other people for sustainability purposes. This is important because the program requires a lot of dedication and work, accordingly we were looking for those who will get the most out of this program and will be able later on to apply what they have learnt.”, he explained.

“As for the technical competencies, we have searched for candidates who have managed to progress in their career ladders and those who have diversified technical knowledge and were able to transfer the technical know-how to others.”, he added, noting that the company’s focus was to make sure that the candidates are from different disciplines to enrich their knowledge when they interact together.

Preparing the Trainees

For Baker Hughes, Abuseif explained that the majority of the trainees graduated from different engineering disciplines. “The first step was ensuring that all participants received proper HSE training and qualification in order to work in the oil and gas industry. This induction was followed by different induction process, and not limited to Information Technology (IT) security, Compliance and company’s Policy and Values,” said Abuseif.

He continued: “Following such process, the trainees are then assigned to their respective businesses and the first three years of their career are covered with structured career development technical and operational path. Moreover, the new hires in all other support functions run equally the same induction for engineers and purse and different career and progression path.”

As for  Schlumberger, Badawi said that the trainees were pre-selected by the ministry’s modernization team and they all have very strong profiles from different backgrounds.

“Schlumberger made sure to put them all on the same ground via the designed fundamental training program as each one was expert in specific area after the training, they became very well knowledgeable in different areas i.e. a reservoir engineer became aware of all support functions fundamentals and HSE culture,” he added.

Meanwhile, Al Sawi elaborated that business awareness is very crucial to understand the big picture. Understanding business language, business models and comfortable communication about all facets of the business to be able to make recommendations that support organizational goals and makes decisions that drive people capabilities to the organization’s advantage.

He added that Kuwait Energy Egypt aim is to develop the leadership skills by focusing on leading self, others and organizations noting that understanding the current level of skills and capabilities is very essential. He resumed that second step is leading others by developing their leadership skills; finally leading their organization by focusing on the achievement of the overall strategy to translate it into realistic actions.

IOCs Programs’ Role 

IOCs developed some programs that can play a vital role in developing the human resources  in line with the targets of Middle Management Program.

Baker Hughes’ Abuseif, said that imbedding  his company’s core, which are Lead, Grow, Collaborate and Care, was key to drive the participants’ experience on the program and truly gives them an opportunity to engage with the Baker Hughes culture.

“When we are successful in developing such culture in our trainees with such powerful values including HSE and a structured career path then we have set those trainees to be more contributing to their own life and the community around them,” he added.

For Schlumberger, it’s Managing Director of Egypt and East Mediterranean, clarified that, they created a very strong team on the personal level and using their own words they become one big family. “They shared good memories and stories as well as the different experiences they gained from different companies and departments.

He added: “On professional level, they {trainees} gained very high-level knowledge in so many new topics and they became aware of the industry’s top notch technologies in different domains; they are all now HSE oriented and understood the importance of safety. The training also open the opportunity for them to think big; to work on graduation projects that should make the Egyptian sector more efficient one.”

Kuwait Energy Egypt’s Kamel Al Sawi, clarified that the program contributed in the development of the trainees on the professional level through having them exposed and engaged in the work activities taking place in the company in the different departments.

He added, “In addition, each trainee had certain work objectives that were set for him before joining the program through which, he was assigned a technical mentor who guided him to meet these objectives. Additionally, all trainees, regardless of their disciplines, were engaged in cross departmental orientation across all departments within Kuwait Energy Egypt.”

AL sawi noted that this strategy helped the trainees in getting better insights into the different work activities within the department.

“As for the personal level, throughout the whole six months of the program, there were regular one-on-one coaching sessions for all trainees which tackled the development on both the professional and the personal levels. In addition, trainees were involved in different training programs some of which were outside Egypt. These programs provided the trainees with a good exposure that helped in enlarging and enhancing their personal and managerial skills.”, Al Sawi explained.

Recommendations for the Future

Some of the IOCs provided their views on some aspects of the Middle Management Program that need to be improved in the future.

Schlumberger’s Karim Badawi said that his company always looks for continuous improvement as one of its strategies. “So these improvements already took place after each batch to make sure the program meets the audience needs and includes all new topics and technologies,” he said.

Kuwait Energy Egypt’s Al Sawi notified that the ministry is setting certain competencies for the future leaders and the development programs should be designed to assess these competencies as well as define the gaps that need to be bridged, followed by development activities to close the gaps and finally to reassess these competencies again to catch the progress.

“The improvement could be by ensuring more alignment between all IOCs that participated in this project and implementing same assessment mechanism that will help in evaluating the development of all the participants,” he added.

Middle Management Program Effects  

Middle Management Program effect is evident in the performance of the IOCs’ employees.

The President of Kuwait Energy Egypt, Kamel Al Sawi pointed out that “The success is to achieve the project objective by having emerging leaders capable to be a change agent in their companies and support the modernization project. The assessments before and after the program revealed a great improvement in the competency level of all participants.”

Middle Management and IOCs’ vision

Some of the IOCs demonstrated that Middle Management Program concept is aligned with their visions towards both the companies’ level and the Country’s level.

Baker Hughes’ Abuseif, elaborated that his company is committed to take the oil and gas activities forward by making it cleaner, safer and more efficient for people and the planet.

He stressed: “This is our main purpose and drives our obligation and commitment towards Egypt’s oil and gas sector and therefore the main reason for Baker Hughes to support strategic initiatives by the ministry such as the Middle Management Training Program.”

He noted that, his company believes that collaboration always results in better outcomes for them and their customers. “Baker Hughes truly believes that being part of such program is one of the best ways to invest and support the sector,” he added.

On the same frame, Al Sawi said that the program concept aligned with Kuwait Energy Egypt vision in two parts.  First part is serving the community and the Oil and Gas sector which is an integral part of company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy and one of its main pillars that help to achieve CSR mission and vision. Second part is focusing on the leadership development of company’s future business partners which will ensure better investment environment for it and will guarantee a promising future for the sector and Egypt.

For Schlumberger’s Badawi, the Middle Management Program dealing with the employees is consistent with the company’s core which is “people”.