Uganda has started the process of preparing some of its citizens for an economic boom, following plans to intensify oil production by 2025.
Last week, Sinopec Uganda started the screening process to provide qualified candidates with hands-on training in advanced fabrication and recruitment on the Tilenga project in Nwoya District.
The corporation said there were 40 applications for the screening, but only 10 of them were chosen for the welding positions as only a few of the applicants showed that they had a thorough understanding of the highly standardized oil and gas business as well as advanced welding skills.
Sinopec officials said they have also mobilised experienced expatriate welders to make sure that standard welding skills are transferred to local welders, supported by more training and retooling.
“We are engaging local welders and will engage more in the course of project execution,” said Mr Zhang Zongxin, the Sinopec Uganda boss.
The company early this year offered training to 26 local welders.
Sinopec is one of the two contractors, alongside US-based McDermott, awarded the engineering, procurement, supply, construction and commissioning tender for the Tilenga project operated by TotalEnergies.
It is employed in the northern part of Tilenga in the Nwoya District and expects to start pipe construction and installation from the well pads inside the Murchison Falls National Park in the first quarter of 2023.
The Tilenga project will produce about 230,000 barrels of oil per day to be fed into the proposed East African Crude Oil Pipeline.
Welders and fabricators are an integral part of speeding up the ongoing construction phase to kick-start commercial production in 2025. The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) indicates that 1,230 welders are required during the construction phase.
“The country has been able to train 1,147 welders from 2G-6G coded welding with international certifications,” Ms Gloria Sebikari, the PAU manager for corporate affairs, but noted they are cognizant of the fact that Ugandans may not, at the start have all the required welding skills for the various stages of the construction of the respective oil and gas facilities and installations.