Oman’s top 100 energy sector stakeholders held a workshop Tuesday aimed at drafting the most-critical recommendations to be included in Oman’s 25-year energy master plan, reported the Gulf News Journal.

A long-term strategy to diversify Oman’s energy mix through renewables and energy efficiency while improving demand-side management both on individual and industrial levels.

However, to do that the country needs to invest in modernizing its education infrastructure.

“Human capital development is the cornerstone to any organization wanting to survive a competitive industry and grow,” Salim Al-Aufi, of Oman’s Ministry of Oil & Gas, said at the meeting. “The interaction between industry and academia is critical to prepare and develop the workforce required to grow the industry.”

In other news, Oman had to lay off at least 881 Omani workers, including engineers and technicians, said Gulf News.

Saud Al Salmi, the president of the oil and gas sector labour union, said that the General Federation of Oman Trade Union has called on the companies concerned to provide alternative job options for the dismissed workers.

The union will hold an urgent meeting next week to discuss the layoffs that involve national manpower at contracting companies in oil concession areas.

Oil prices, again, were cited as the main cause. “We couldn’t afford to pay more than 120 workers as some contracts were cancelled recently,” said an official at one of the construction companies linked to the oil sector that laid off staff

Omani oil companies had cancelled contracts and this had forced the company to cut jobs, he added.