Gas companies in Egypt is the lack of trained personnel. However, companies have compensated for the lack of these professionals by creating their own training centers or sending their staff to external training centers

In Egypt, the proliferation of training centers has risen over the past few years. This is undoubtedly due the poor quality of education in the Egyptian system; however, according to several professionals in the field this is not endemic in Egypt solely but worldwide including some of the more industrialized western nations such as the United States.
The problem seems to lie in the field and not in education at large. Petroleum engineering is a much sought after realm of edification but oddly enough it is not concentrated on in many learning institutions. In Egypt, however, as Saif Takash, a Halliburton training center professor, aptly pointed out, “it is noticeable that many students are graduating from engineering departments with good theoretical knowledge and memorization skills, but are short of  practical applications skills.”
For others, the need for training centers is not as a means of compensation for poor learning but as an instrument of enduring technological advancements. Dr. Salah El Haggar, professor of Energy and Environment at the American University in Cairo, states that “the importance of these training centers is that they continue education for computer engineers and scientists at large in order to refresh their memories and strengthen their skills.”
Whether it is a means of reparation for a weak education or simply a way to fine tune the skills of highly educated graduates and to specify their required abilities, training centers seem to provide the answer to many problems in the oil and gas field in Egypt.
This feature focuses on oil and gas training centers in Egypt. Some of these centers cater only to a specific company and not to the public at large. In fact, many if not all oil and gas centers cater to a specific group of individuals, either employees of companies who have chosen to outsource their training or employees of companies who have created their own training center.
This feature will highlight three diverse training centers available in Egypt, each catering to a specific demographic.  

GESCO Group Training Center: External Training
The GESCO Training Center was established in 1995 by Global Engineering & Services Co. (GESCO) to provide a wide range of training courses, both certified and customized, to the petroleum and industrial sectors in Egypt and other countries in the Middle East.
The last seven or eight years witnessed GESCO Training Center’s participation in a number of leading training projects including being selected by the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), together with other reputable training centers, to run a training project for 10,000 individual holders of intermediate diplomas and/or holders of technical high diplomas in order to be qualified to work in the future in the oil sector in Egypt or other Arab countries.
The center trained 2,325 individuals for a period of two years. The program covered basic studies for a period of six months, technical studies for another six months and one year on-the-job training in the work locations (in the field) of the various petroleum companies.
On Feb. 20, 2003 and on July 3, 2003 GESCO was chosen to train the staff of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Spanish Egyptian Gas Company (SEGAS) in order to equip the staff for the time of plant pre-commissioning, commissioning start-up and normal operation and maintenance.
GESCO and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) formed a Consortium led by GESCO to provide SEGAS with top notch training services that combines the world class global training capabilities and expertise of NAIT with the strong local presence of GESCO with their rich experience in Career Development Programs of EGPC personnel in different rural areas of Egypt. Thus, providing the availability of the specific know-how, training methodology and course material to suit the level of trainees.
GESCO also conducted a Non-Destructive Testing Course for participants from Arab Drilling & Workover Company (ADWOC). By the end of the course, participants were awarded International Certificates in accordance with the international SNT-TC-1A Program. The subjects of study provided by the center included Rig Types & Components, Transmission, Diesel Engine, Lifting Equipment, Mud System & Mud Pump, Hydraulic Systems, On-Job-Training – Caterpillar, and Advanced Course on Caterpillar.
The training center is registered as an International Well Control Forum (IWCF) Assessment Center in Egypt. They have conducted a number of IWCF Well Control Courses to participants from Egypt and other Arab countries. They are also registered with the Industrial Modernization Center (IMC).

Halliburton Training Center: Internal Training
The Halliburton training center differs from the GESCO center in that it caters solely to Halliburton employees. January 7th, 2007 marked the one year anniversary of establishing the new regional Halliburton Training Center located on the campus of the British University in Egypt. The center was established as part of a strategic approach by the training and development division of the human resources department at Halliburton to add more regional training centers to cope with the increasing demand for training newly hired engineers and operators.
During the planning phase, many countries in the Middle East and Africa were considered in a study to determine the best location for the center. Egypt was found to be the best available option with a well-established oil and gas industry, a Halliburton regional base with one of the best pools of talent in the region and excellent opportunities to partner with higher education institutions. Following the model of Halliburton training centers in other countries such as US, Mexico and Malaysia, Halliburton took the approach of partnering with a local university to establish the training center.
Activities at the center are primarily focused on developing newly hired Halliburton engineers by providing a foundations class designed to provide graduates from different engineering backgrounds with the basic skills needed to succeed in their jobs as field engineers. Programs offered vary in level and length with some extending to four and a half months of intensive training. Each program is divided into theoretical and practical modules. During the practical modules, engineers spend their time working with other senior engineers in the oilfields. These practical modules play an essential role in narrowing the noticeable gap between theoretical and practical skills of engineering graduates.
Currently, the training center has four classrooms, two of which are equipped with state of the art video conferencing equipment. Students enrolled in the technical program join their peers in the US, Mexico, Malaysia and Russia in attending lectures delivered using video conferencing.
To date, 110 engineers from different product service lines of Halliburton have completed one of the technical programs at the center. This number is estimated to double in 2007. To cope with the increasing demand, the center is currently going through an expansion phase that is expected to be completed by January 2008.
The courses provided by the Halliburton training center include Health and Safety
Environmental Awareness, Frac/Acid Operations, Cementing Operations, Introduction to Hydraulic Fracture Design, Acid Stimulation Design, Advanced Cementing Design, Wireline logging, Logging while drilling, Directional drilling, Basics of petroleum geology, Practical introduction to drilling, Well completions, Well testing, Production, Coiled Tubing Operations, Drilling Fluids, and Formation Evaluation.


PESCo Training Center: Environmental and Maritime Training
PESCo, the Petro Environmental Services Company, was established in January 2003. The company provides environmental protection and marine support. The company also provides specialized oil spill training for offshore, marine and industrial environments.
The training center provides resident United Kingdom certified trainers with expertise in oil spill response to conduct their courses; the trainers also posses an Egyptian environmental expertise, with bilingual (Arabic/English) programs.
PESCo training is in line with international standards such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
Practical, hands-on, equipment is utilized in the courses for demonstration purposes. The center also provides tailor made courses to meet national and international standards. Specialized training packages are prepared for both the petroleum and maritime sector.
PESCo has been approached by several international companies to promote training, e-learning and tailored training packages in Egypt. The packages are in accordance with the Offshore Petroleum Industry (OPITO) as well as the above mentioned international entities. Successful candidates are issued certification by City and Guides UK.
Currently, PESCo is conducting training courses for the Gulf of Suez Petroleum Company (GUPCO), the Suez Oil Company (SUCO), GEMSA Oil Company, the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA), the South Sinai Protectorates, the Red Sea Port Authorities, and the Sharm El-Sheikh Search and Rescue Centre.
The courses provided by PESCo include, certified first aid, advanced safety and fire fighting, beach master, IMO 1, practical small workboat, technical training, and familiarization of new equipment.

A Weakness in Education or Natural Progression?
In essence, there is undoubtedly a deficiency in skilled labor in Egypt. However, the reason for the lack of professionals in field is unclear. For those who state that higher learning institutions in Egypt do not provide sufficient background for graduating students, a simple rebuttal would be Cairo University’s petroleum engineering department or the Suez Canal University’s petroleum and mining engineering department.
For those who argue that private, English universities should also confront the need for skilled labor in the field, the British University in Egypt is launching its petroleum engineering department soon and the American University in Cairo (AUC) is presently working on developing its petroleum engineering major. The major will have the objective of providing companies with qualified graduates in specific areas of the oil and gas sector. AUC will be giving professional environmental programs for Egyptian graduates and these courses will be tackling the idea of environmental management systems and auditing.
Currently, AUC provides tailored courses for oil and gas companies that have developed a new idea and would like to create a course to suit their latest innovation. These courses are carried out in cooperation with the companies. An example of this was five years ago when Petrojet requested a course about pipe-line design and maintenance.
In conclusion, learning institutions in Egypt are realizing the growing demand for oil and gas professionals and are attempting to meet said demand. Nonetheless, technological advancements are constantly creating new requirements that are too specific for any one university. These requirements can only be tackled by specifically designed training courses, which, as seen above, are being created as fast as they are being mandated.
Hence, the problem does not lie solely in the educational system, although advancements are always welcome in that realm, the problem lies in natural progression, which should never stand as a problem, but simply a reality.
Natural progression is what drives each individual to learn new methods and to explore new possibilities. In the sphere of oil and gas, where resources are quickly drying up and will inevitably finish off, exploring new opportunities is the only hope left for the world. New minds must be molded for this to occur; training centers are just a stepping stone to the new world of better utilization of non-renewable energy and the search for renewable sources.

Halliburton Text Box
Managers of the twelve regional Halliburton Training Centers and regional technical managers met in Egypt from January 22 to January 25 in a summit organized by the training and development department of human resources at Halliburton. The meeting took place on the campus of the British University in Egypt home of one of the regional training centers.
The call to have this summit at this time came as a result of the increasing demand on training and the significant expansion of the infrastructure of training at Halliburton especially in regions like Africa, the Middle East and Russia.
Topics discussed at the summit included the alignment of training curriculums with the competency system established by Halliburton, collaboration between the regional centers and future plans to enhance training and development in the company to cope with the increasing demand on training for Halliburton’s new and existing employees.

Various petroleum and industrial companies that undertook training from GESCO during the last five years

  1. Gulf of Suez Petroleum Company (GUPCO) in Egypt. An affiliate of British Petroleum & EGPC.
  2. Khalda Petroleum Company in Egypt. An affiliate of APACHI & EGPC.
  3. Badr El-Din Petroleum Co. (BAPETCO) in Egypt. An affiliate of SHELL & EGPC.
  4. Qarun Petroleum Company in Egypt. An affiliate of APACHI & EGPC.
  5. Suez Oil Company (SUCO) in Egypt. An affiliate of Spanish – German Co. “GOGO” & EGPC.
  6. Gabel El Zeit Petroleum Company (PETROZEIT) in Egypt An affiliate of   DOVER & EGPC.
  7. Arab Drilling and Workover Company (ADWOC) in Libya
  8. NAFTO Gas in Algeria
  9. ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia
  10. SEDCO Pharmaceutical – an industrial Company in Egypt 
  11. International Cement Company in Egypt.
  12. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) In Egypt.
  13. Al Bardy for Paper Industry (Fine) In Egypt.
  14. AL EZZ STEEL REPAIRS Co in Egypt.
  15. Uniliver
  16. El-Shmoukh in Egypt
  17. White Nile Petroleum Co. (WNPOC) in Sudan
  18. Greater Nile Petroleum Co. (GNPOC) in Sudan
  19. Chipsy
  20. Petrodar in Sudan

By Diana Elassy