Morendat Institute of Oil and Gas extends ties to South Africa

KPC’s Morendat Institute of Oil and Gas (MIOG) continues to forge strategic partnerships in efforts to assert itself as the only such institution in the region and the third in Africa. To market Kenya’s first oil and gas school set up with the aim of developing human resource capacity for the region in oil & gas pipelines management, operations and maintenance, a team from MIOG recently visited Transnet, South Africa, one of the continent’s premier oil and gas institutes the other one being Algeria’s Sonatrach, to learn from Africa’s best. KPC’s General Manager for Operations and Maintenance Eng. Peter Mbugua led the MIOG project team comprising Prof. Catherine Ngila (Deputy Director, Training and Linkages), Engineer Julius Alolo (Senior Engineer Instrumentation & Control) and Mrs Freda Cheruiyot (Corporate Communications Officer) on a benchmarking mission to Transnet Pipelines, in Durban South Africa.

On hand to receive the MIOG delegation was Transnet’s Sibongiseni Khathi (Acting Chief Operations Officer), Deven Seeba (New Business Strategy & Commercial Manager) and Mrs Saret Knoetze (Manager for Public Relations, Communications & Marketing). The fifty-year-old Transnet Pipelines is exclusively government owned and is one of the five operating divisions of the Transnet Group. It operates a 3,800 km pipeline network of both crude and refined petroleum products as well as gas. For a long time, the line was purely an oil pipeline until 1996 when the gas network was reconfigured.

“Our mission here is strategic. We must do business with the best in the continent and Transnet Pipelines is on top of that list. I am certain that the cross-pollination of ideas from KPC and Transnet has what it takes to move Africa to the next level,” Mbugua told Kenpipe News on the sidelines of the benchmarking tour.

Transnet Pipelines runs an exclusive training facility, the “School of Pipelines” that ‘feeds’ it with the right skills and knowledge to operate and maintain its pipeline network and associated infrastructure. The trainees are drawn both from staff and external personnel and the courses offered range from technical to non-technical.
The MIOG team learnt that external students are sourced from technical colleges because of their background on technical matters. Exemplary students are offered opportunities in the company, while the rest have their profiles retained and absorbed on need basis. The move is inspired by the desire to have qualified personnel in the market.

“The Transnet School of Pipelines model is what is already germinating at MIOG. With this tour, we will ensure that MIOG grows to become the continent’s oil and gas ‘Ivy League’ institution. We have the potential,” said Prof Catherine Ngila who added that MIOG’s aim is to reduce dependence on expatriate labour.

TThe Transnet School also runs various training programs dubbed ‘women in pipelines’ that are meant to enhance and stimulate the uniqueness and abilities inherent in each one of the women with a view to harnessing their full potential. Some of the courses offered are: Leadership Core; I Lead my Way and I Manage my Diversity; I am Confident and I Manage my Work Life Balance; and Emotional Intelligence to Management of Self. Without a doubt, the KPC team was wowed by the program and expressed desire to replicate the same in the company. On a similar learning curve, all staff at Transnet undergo training on pipeline operations so as to keep themselves abreast with the organization’s activities.

Like in any other growing economy, Transnet – beyond running the School of Pipelines – has continuously expanded and reconfigured the pipeline network to keep abreast with the capacity demand. In 2012, the company commissioned its most recent investment; a 24-inch multi-product pipeline that serves the inland industrial area market of Gauteng. Engineers Mbugua and Alolo found themselves in familiar territory as they shared ideas and experiences with the Transnet team. In fact, the Transnet team found our engineers very resourceful because KPC has outsmarted them in some of its operations.

“We are very impressed to learn that KPC operates a SCADA system much more modern than ours. We will soon come over to Kenya to learn more about it and other control systems that you have put in place,” said Khathi of Transnet. Transnet also runs a foundation that implements its Corporate Social Investment program.

The MIOG team also visited South African Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as well as Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO); equivalent to Kenya’s TVETA and Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development Council (KICDC) respectively. TVET regulates the competency based training while QCTO oversees the design, implementation, assessment and certification of occupational qualifications in the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF). The discussions gave insights on the relationship between the regulatory bodies and the technical schools.

In line with protocol, the Kenyan team paid a courtesy call on Kenya’s High Commission in Pretoria and held a meeting with the Deputy High Commissioner, Ambassador Lemarron Kaanto and the Education Attaché Dr Gatama Gichini. Also present was Kenya National Research Fund Representative, Mr David Ngigi. Amb. Kaanto emphasized on the need for Kenyans travelling to South Africa on duty to notify the Mission for documentation and guidance.