Under the administration of H.E. President Macky Sall, Senegal has put in place a number of measures to promote the development of local content as part of the country´s long-term economic development program, the Emerging Senegal Plan. The Senegal Oil & Gas Academy (SOGA) is aligned with this plan and has had a major impact in developing a new generation of oil and gas professionals throughout the country.
SOGA offers a range of programs that are designed to be inclusive towards all levels of education, and has been key in leading employment generation in this increasingly dynamic sector of the Senegalese economy.
Dakar has been an educational hub for many decades and has some of the best technical universities in West Africa. When Senegal struck large-scale offshore oil and gas deposits in 2014-2017, it became evident that there was a pool of already qualified technical labor who only needed to slightly re-purpose their skills in order to become readily employable in many areas of the oil and gas value chain, either directly by the IOC´s and oil and gas services companies, or alternatively, working for Senegalese or regional companies as subcontractors – meeting local content requirements. This is a competitive advantage that SOGA has used in crafting its curriculum and ensuring that it can help train graduates that will have good job opportunities in many areas of the oil and gas sector.
SOGA offers a variety of either in-person or online modules in a variety of disciplines that are in high demand, as Senegal prepares for first oil over the course of 2024. These include Upstream and Downstream Project Management, Petroleum Markets and Trading, Maintenance of Production Facilities, Drilling and Completion Techniques, as well as Safety of Petroleum Installations.
Another factor that has made SOGA particularly competitive is that it has developed a network of partner institutions in countries that have well developed oil and gas and mining industries such as Canada, the United States, France, Germany, Morocco and Singapore, among others. These international partnerships enable the students from SOGA to carry out a portion of their studies abroad and gain exposure to invaluable international expertise and a network of contacts. Another of the advantages is that by training with these various international institutions, the certifications are globally recognized throughout the oil and gas sector. SOGA also leverages a number of existing partnerships with research institutions around the world to make sure that the latest developments with regards to innovation and R&D are reflected in the curriculum.
In addition to its active role in academics, the school is also equally involved in looking towards the future for ways to strengthen and accelerate Senegal´s path towards the energy transition and preparing the country to produce oil and gas in a lower carbon environment. It does so by researching potential synergies from new sources of energy such as biomass, marine energies, as well as innovative technologies such as the utilization of green hydrogen, that can contribute towards reducing the environmental impact of existing resources.
During the upcoming Oil, Gas & Power MSGBC 2021 Conference & Exhibition, taking place in Dakar in December; one of the main topics of discussion on the agenda is the promotion of local content and capacity building initiatives underway that will enable Senegal to become self-sufficient in terms of having a well-qualified national workforce to shape the development and the rapid growth that will be taking place in the oil and gas sector over the next decade.