Knowledge Management in Africa
AGR’s TRACS Training Director, Mark Bentley, argues that the key to successful local skills development is the proactive promotion of tailored knowledge sharing in-country.
There are several approaches to knowledge transfer: tutored classes, links with universities, blended learning techniques, secondment opportunities within partnered licensees, and drawing on specialist consultancies for expert knowledge. Identifying the different approaches to knowledge transfer is a necessary step in order to choose options – but these are just the tools, not the solution itself.
Based on our tutoring and training experience gathered throughout almost 25 years designing and running learning events across the upstream, we argue that the key at the working level is the promotion of a knowledge sharing culture
; one in which the instinct of all parties involved is to share for the benefit of others.
(Mark Bentley, TRACS Training)
Such a culture at the working level – something which training providers can control – fits neatly into the larger scale model of long-term planning. Note: ‘long term’ refers to skills development of individuals in the country; the role of the external training provider, such as TRACS Training
, is to transfer knowledge, then exit. An example below…
AGR in practice in Africa
AGR has provided support for knowledge sharing culture in Africa in a number of ways.
We assisted the Heglig Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) project in Sudan which was administrated by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) on behalf of Oil for Development Programme (OfD). International Petroleum Associates Norway (IPAN) were contracted to be technical advisors to OfD for the NPD whereby AGR was sub-contracted to perform the technical subsurface studies and conduct training of local authority employees.
To improve the Heglig oilfield’s production, the OfD programme together with team representatives from Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum, the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC) and AGR technical expertise, set about investigating the best methodologies for enhanced oil recovery. AGR was tasked with managing the team, evaluating geological and reservoir simulation modelling scenarios and facilitating the transfer of knowledge as a retained skillset. The aim was indeed to transfer, then exit, as we did.
Another example of knowledge transfer is the recent work with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) which involved secondment of junior technical staff to AGR offices in the UK. The incentive for GNPC was to develop these young, well qualified and highly motivated staff, allowing them to experience and contribute in their own active consultancy project while also learning from technical experts at AGR. This allows teams to shadow experienced oil and gas practitioners and helps them to develop solid work practices and new skills, and provides a model for them to adopt a similar approach to others in passing on their own skills. The project was then taken back to Ghana and AGR stood back. Transfer, then exit.
AGR is also actively involved in mentoring and lecturing at Aberdeen University where there is a significant cohort of African national students. During their studies AGR offers them the opportunity to conduct their MSc research projects within the professional environment of AGR’s Aberdeen office. This provides access to both technical expertise and real-life experience of an active consultancy working in a mature oil and gas region.
To conclude, a knowledge sharing culture can be built from work-based learning, coaching, mentoring, and the creation of collaborative and cooperative learning communities of practice, but it is the behavior and attitude of individuals in the training organisation which ultimately counts more than the specific techniques.
To find out more about our tailored training courses and upskilling solutions, contact the TRACS Training