Ta’sis scheme to help Omanis run oil and gas businesses
August 12, 2017 | 10:32 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan/[email protected]
Five hundred Omanis are expected to apply for the Ta’sis programme, which will see them being trained to run their own oil and gas businesses.

Muscat: Five hundred Omanis are expected to apply for the Ta’sis programme, which will see them being trained to run their own oil and gas businesses.

Jointly run by Oman’s Society for Petroleum Services (OPAL) and the SME Development Fund, Ta’sis, which means ‘foundation’ in Arabic, will see former employees of the oil and gas sector receive training to develop their own companies, operate them independently, and create new employment opportunities for people in the Sultanate.

“Tas’is has been conceived in line with Oman’s Society for Petroleum Services’ broader strategy to help retrain and redeploy Omani oil and gas workers facing layoffs due to the current economic downturn,” explained Abdullah Al Harthy, communications executive manager for OPAL.

“Our focus is currently centred on the drilling services sector of the industry, which presently has around 4,000 Omani staff.

As drilling contractors begin to idle rigs in response to reduced drilling activities by operators, we want to be able to help those individuals looking for redeployment or alternative employment by offering to retrain or re-skill them for new career openings.”

Create opportunities

“OPAL came up with the idea of the Tas’is initiative jointly with the Ministry of Manpower and the Ministry of Oil and Gas,” he added. “Why not create opportunities for people out of work and who may be interested in self-employment?”

Registrations for the programme end on August 21, with training beginning in October. Once completed, OPAL will be offering contracts to participants to help them set up their own businesses.

The aim is to set these up by December, and have them up and running by February 2018.

“The programme is targeted at individuals, who show promise in starting their own businesses, not only to support themselves, but potentially other Omanis with the requisite skills,” said Al Harthy. “The programme is open to anyone, but we hope to attract around 500 people with an entrepreneurial mindset. Even if we succeed in selecting five or 10 suitable candidates from this number initially, we hope to see their numbers grow over time. They will be the leaders of this programme.”

“Once they create the new businesses, they will invite other members of this programme to join them. For example, if you want to have a rig running for 24 hours, a typical rig requires 80 to 90 people,” he added. “That way, when companies want to drill for oil, there is already a skilled crew available to them, so they don’t need to start from scratch.”

Odbah Al Harmali of the SME Development Fund is one of those spearheading Ta’sis.

“We’re inviting people, who would like to apply for this programme,” he explained. “We’ll reduce that to about 50 to 60 people, and then invite them to a forum involving the Oil and Gas Ministry. We’ll then have one more screening process and bring that number down to about 40.

“We will be giving them training in entrepreneurship and business models to help them build a rudimentary business plan,” added Bhattacharya. “We’ll then take a test to select about five or six people, who can set up their own businesses, and they will be given a two-week mentoring programme, which will involve Riyada, the government body to regulate SMEs, and many other organisations.”

“The people who will be part of this programme could be from all across the oil and gas field. We are looking at those oil and gas professionals, who are unemployed, rather than focus on any one position,” he added. “The SMEs being formed are also going to generate employment in the future. There’s no doubt about that.”

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