Muscat: Retaining more of the wealth of the oil and gas industry in Oman would benefit from greater collaboration between the sector and academia in order to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship amongst graduates, according to the recommendations tabled at the latest Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) Majlis stakeholder engagement session.
In a wide ranging discussion on In-Country Value (ICV), the critical need for proper governance and executive leadership commitment to drive ICV forward was also highlighted.
The event, at the Crowne Plaza in Sohar, was sponsored by Eng. Ahmed Al Dheeb, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and its theme was “In-Country Value: The Road To Localising Omani Industry and Services.”
It was attended by key public and private sector decision makers, oil and gas industry professionals, entrepreneurs, academics, researchers and students.
PDO External Affairs and Value Creation Director, Abdul-Amir Abdul-Hussein Al Ajmi said: “This was our third PDO Majlis engagement and it provided an excellent forum to discuss how we can do more to create jobs for Omani nationals, boost training and skills, build local supply chains and diversify the nation’s economy, and how to replicate successes achieved in the oil and gas industry in other sectors.”
An interactive panel debate and question and answer session covered areas such as the role ICV plays in boosting sustainable development, support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), key ICV enablers, challenges and best practice and how to further raise awareness of the topic.
PDO’s Abdul-Amir Al Ajmi was joined by other guest speakers at the event including Orpic Corporate Support Services General Manager Dr Hilal Al Hinai, and Sohar Industrial Area Director General Abdulqader Al Balushi. The forum was moderated by PDO External Affairs and Communications Manager Mohammed Al Ghareebi.
Among the recommendations proposed were the need to sustain dialogue and discussions around ICV, increase focus on the downstream supply chain to support SMEs, provide entrepreneurs with technical and financial support in collaboration with governmental bodies to enable them to seize ICV investment opportunities.
There was also the need to implement ICV development strategies to maximise the share of local companies in terms of contracts and procurement, to create more training-for-employment opportunities for nationals and to collaborate to find solutions for challenges faced by other sectors on a single platform.
Al Ajmi added: “PDO has played a leading role in championing ICV, working with partners in both the public and private sectors to generate more than 50,000 job, training and redeployment opportunities for Omani jobseekers, build factories and workshops, and ring-fence our contracts for local vendors. But ICV is a marathon not a sprint, and we all need to commit to it and sustain the momentum.”
The inaugural PDO Majlis assembly in April covered the subject of energy management and the second one in August featured the topic of collaborative social responsibility. The company launched the thought leadership events to discuss priority issues facing the Sultanate with key stakeholders and to propose sustainable solutions.