22nd April 2015
OPITO is to play a major role in helping Cyprus to become a regional centre of technical excellence for oil and gas in the Eastern Mediterranean. Following discussions with senior Cypriot government officials, the global oil and gas skills body has invested in a new office in Cyprus which opens its doors today (22 April 2015) in the presence of the British High Commissioner for Cyprus, Mr D R Todd.
The Eastern Mediterranean is considered a new energy frontier with an estimated 122 trillion cubic feet of gas in the area. With additional exploration on the horizon and neighbouring countries such as Israel, Lebanon and Egypt marking their own offshore territories, Cyprus is an emerging oil and gas hub for the region.
Group chief executive of OPITO International, David Doig, said: “The recent discovery of natural gas resources offshore Cyprus is a major opportunity to create jobs and opportunities for the island and its people. We are honoured and excited to help lay the foundations for the creation of a world-class learning infrastructure which will develop a Cypriot workforce capable of supporting the oil and gas industry in the eastern Mediterranean and establish Cyprus as a recognised oil and gas centre of technical excellence, contributing significantly to the future economic well-being of the country.”
Mr Todd added: “Today’s event demonstrates yet again the strong ties that exist between Britain and Cyprus OPITO’s decision to establish a presence here is one of the most significant illustrations of this collaboration. Cyprus is at the begining of a long journey in the development of its oil and gas sector. OPITO’s presence here aims to support the Cyprus Government and industry to become a regional centre of technical excellence for oil and gas in the Eastern Mediterranean. The British High Commission will continue to support OPITO and its activities in this market”
OPITO will help develop the necessary technical skills required in the exploration and production of hydrocarbons and create a safety training infrastructure to ensure that workers are trained to the best standards that ensure they get to work offshore and return home safely.
The organisation will also roll out many of the skills initiatives and tools, tried and tested in the UK, and work closely with education, government and academia in Cyprus to generate awareness of the opportunities in the emerging oil and gas sector, increase the uptake of STEM subjects at schools and ensure university education is aligned with specific job roles in oil and gas and provide training to transfer existing skills among Cypriots into those needed in oil and gas.
Chris Wright, formerly with OPITO in Dubai, has been appointed to head up the Cyprus office and will be responsible for building a safety training infrastructure to ensure Cypriot oil and gas workers are trained to OPITO’s world class standards. He will work closely with the government and local officials to roll out a strategy aimed at aligning education routes with job roles in the sector and promoting the need for transferable skills, so the existing workforce can access new careers from the emerging hydrocarbon industry.
Two Cypriot nationals will also be employed to work in OPITO’s Cyprus office with more jobs to be created as the organisation implements its skills strategy for the eastern Mediterranean.
Mr Wright said: “Prior to March 2014, Cyprus didn’t have any proven oil and gas reserves. Fast forward 12 months and the island has what it takes to become a regional energy hub. I feel very fortunate to play a part in developing Cyprus into a centre of technical excellence. Having worked in a number of different sectors in technically focused roles, I understand the objectives and challenges faced by the industry and how OPITO, as the custodian of world-leading safety and competency standards, can ensure the right foundation is in place to grow and develop the fledgling Cypriot oil and gas industry.”