Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 6th 2014 Contents BG14 | COMMENTARY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MARCH 2014 • WEEK ONE
Local content: what it represents, its benefits,
how to achieve it and its current levels in the
local energy sector are always buzz issues.
The Energy Chamber has long been an advocate of local
content and actively working to increase local content in
the T&T energy sector. For some it represents regulation
around work permits being issued to foreign nationals who
compete for jobs with locals. For others it means sustainable
development of local companies and, for others, it represents
a dollar value.
We have understood that the approach to these issues
require a multi-pronged strategy. As such, in November
2013, we facilitated dialogue between the major oil and gas
operator companies and local services companies and con-
tractors. The objective of the event was two-fold.
Firstly, it provided an opportunity for local contractors to
raise pertinent issues one-on-one with operator companies.
Secondly, it allowed us to glean an understanding of the
barriers and other related issues around the implementation
of local content policy. Importantly, the outputs from the
forum provided a host of short- and long-term recommen-
dations, providing the platform for the work of our Energy
Services Committee in 2014.
There was consensus on some of the major issues to be
addressed. These areas included the prequalification process,
local supply chain and scheduling issues, financing options
available to the local energy sector and local content leg-
Coming out of the forum, the following short- and long-
term issues were identified as the top priorities:
• Way forward
Local companies face challenges demonstrating the capa-
bility to operators and being registered in appropriate work
Build a robust and accurate database of service companies
which is extensively used by operators.
The Energy Chamber s contractor database already exists,
but needs updating and strengthening.
Short-term (six months to one year)
Local service companies and contractors are unsure of
the pre-qualification requirements and they seem to fre-
quently change, notwithstanding the adoption of STOW.
Ensure clarity about all pre-qualification requirements
and ensure that STOW is utilised across the board as the
HSE pre-qualification requirement by operators.
Continued communication with operators to determine
if STOW is fully integrated into procurement system.
Energy Chamber to monitor of service company and con-
tractor experiences in STOW implementation.
Local service companies and contractors are not always
aware of upcoming projects and business opportunities.
Operators to present on upcoming projects twice per year.
Downstream operators can do it through the Point Lisas
Reporting template to be developed in conjunction with
operators and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs.
Local financing options available to service companies
are limited. Local companies also encounter difficulties to
meet financial capacity requirements set by operators.
Ensure banks are able to understand the sector and provide
financing options for service companies.
Engage with the banking and financial sector to identify
barriers to service companies being able to access financing.
Longer-term (one-five years)
The need for individual worker skills capability certification
Operators and contractors to further collaborate on the
appropriate competency management systems.
The Energy Industry Competency Development Initiative
(EICDI) already in progress, but needs to be strengthened
and properly funded.
Work permits system facilitates the import of labour when
skills exist in-country. This is due to the absence of a national
manpower planning policy.
Reform the work permit system to ensure that it supports
capability development and is not abused to import labour
when skills exist in country.
To standardise job categories by skills rather than titles
and formulate a plan to fill local skills gaps.
Lack of local content legislation.
Implement appropriate legislation to support local content
Engage with the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs
and other stakeholders.
Given the importance of local content and the ambiguity
around developing an action plan to tackle the issue, this
forum brought structure to the dialogue. However, this was
not our first attempt at addressing concerns around the
development of local content.
In the past, we have implemented several initiatives to
find business solutions for our membership, such as our
award-winning Safe to Work initiative, improving corporate
governance initiative and our annual trade missions.
We have also persistently lobbied the Government on
behalf of our membership to create a nurturing and facilitative
business environment for our local energy services companies
to make them more competitive.
As usual, we remain committed to developing appropriate
and effective local content policy.
For more information, visit:www.energy.tt
How serious are we about local content?
The Energy Chamber has led three trade missions to Suriname to
explore opportunities for member companies.
Energy sector leaders recommit to the STOW Charter.
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