This was revealed by the Minister of Energy at the PMO, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awg Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, during an interview with the Borneo Bulletin yesterday on the sidelines of a dialogue session with local personnel from Brunei Shell Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd (BSP) at the Pusat Insani in Seria.
"We've surpassed the goal, with three months to go, and next year we want to do more," he said, looking vindicated. "And yet people laughed at me when I said that we could achieve this and that the industry is actually employing people.
"That number is continuing to rise, so our KPI (Key Performance Indicator) may actually be too low, so next year we are going to increase it."
Speaking on what he felt contributed to this success, he said, "A lot of things.
"Our drive towards local business development definitely contributed to that.
"This just shows that between the government and joint venture companies, we have a channel of communication at all levels," he added.
During the interview the minister also highlighted that the Energy Department is in the process of talking with Shell on reactivating the Shell Trade School, and rename it as Oil and Gas Training Centre.
He explained that this will not only give certain technical qualifications to the people who work in the industry, but will also provide some specialist courses, such as drilling.
"We are basically in agreement with the senior management of Shell to work on this and to be able to materialise this in a very short time."
He said that part of the study that is done in the energy competency framework is for them to produce an Oil and Gas Training Centre.
The graduates of the former Shell Trade School are doing well, he continued, saying that in Qatar they are very well sought after, and that more than 15 of them are working there.
"This shows that Bruneians are good expatriates to work abroad. We have the ability to produce people who are marketable in that region."
Asked when we can see this local Oil and Gas Training Centre materialise, the minister affirmed, "As soon as possible."
Yesterday's dialogue session featured the management of Shell, described by the minister as top people in Shell and "our own senior local executives".
"I want to hear their feedback and get to know their views on the industry," he said, explaining the rationale behind holding the session. "It's very important to me, because they're the ones who understand the industry.
"They're the ones who've looked at the industry for a long, long time, they understand a lot of the issues, and I want to get some new ideas from them."
He mentioned that a lot of the good ideas put forward by the attendees included some on local business development and personal development, which further add to our national competency framework.
"This is very important for us to make sure that we have competent people in the industry, to ensure that they are being well upgraded, and consistently improving themselves through capacity building exercises."
Human resource management and development issues were also looked at, which the minister explained is common for any organisation to look at.
"It benefitted me a lot because I learn a lot from this kind of discussion. It gives me a better understanding of the whole situation."
He said that it went very well because the attendees were very honest, very up front, very transparent and talked not on their personal interests but on the country's interests, which is very important and useful to us.
The minister reaffirmed that he wishes to receive feedback from industry players.
"This is the sort of feedback that I need from the local senior management who work at Shell," he said. "I need them to keep on communicating with me, to discuss with me and look at new ideas on how we can further improve the oil and gas industry."
Alongside the minister during the dialogue session yesterday were the Permanent Secretary (Downstream and Power) at the Prime Minister's Office. Haji Jamain bin Haji Julaihi and the Deputy Managing Director of BSP, Haji Salleh Bostaman bin Haji Zainal Abidin.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin