UNDP-Shell partnership continues its oil and gas capacity building programmes in Basra

Dec 7, 2015

UNDP-Shell supported English language training session delivered to participants from the Government’s South Oil Company and contractors working for Shell Iraq @ UNDP Iraq/2015

One of the key components of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-Shell partnership, since it was launched in March 2012, has been to build the capacity of the oil and gas workforce in Basra, Southern Iraq.

Throughout 2015, training has been delivered to almost 100 professionals working in the energy sector. Employees of the Iraqi Government’s South Oil Company (SOC) and private contactors working for Shell Iraq have been offered various training opportunities, including English language and Health, Safety and Environment (HSE).

English language training has strengthened the ability of the trained professionals to communicate with their international counterparts; whereas HSE courses have contributed to a safer oil and gas sector in Southern Iraq.

“The English language training has had a major impact on my skills; it helped me overcome my fear of speaking English,” said SOC Welding Instructor, Hayder Hussain Mankhi. ”I am more confident now; this is reflected on both a personal and professional level.”

Through partnership with Shell, UNDP delivered the following accredited trainings in 2015:

· Two general English language training courses for 36 participants;

· Three National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health(NEBOSH) accredited “Health and Safety at Work” training courses for 49 participants; and

· A NEBOSH accredited “International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety” for 10 participants.

These trainings were identified through a consultation process facilitated by UNDP. Shell Iraq was clear on the skill gaps in the national oil and gas workforce. Both SOC and Shell contractors involved were keen on developing their capacities.

Reflecting on the value of such a collaborative project, UNDP’s Partnership Manager, Mr. Tha’ir Shraideh said: “It is a win-win situation; the South Oil Company and those contractors working for Shell in Basra have developed their skills. At the same time, Shell has a more professional and skilled workforce able to meet the high standards set in the oil and gas industry. The training graduates themselves also benefit from improved employment opportunities.”

In turn, General Manager of the Shell operated Majnoon oil field, Mr. Ahmad Atallah, noted: “Through our work with UNDP we are sharing international best practices with people from the communities near to our operations. It is rewarding to be able to help local talent develop.” 

The UNDP-Shell partnership is now in its fourth year. In addition to focussing on the development of workforce capacity in the oil and gas sector in Basra, the partnership targets communities surrounding Majnoon oil field. Those communities benefit from a number of development initiatives, such as the rehabilitation of primary schools, the construction of playgrounds for children, and support to new and existing small businesses. UNDP also works with the local authorities to ensure that the concerns and priorities of targeted communities are reflected in the government planning processes and the delivery of basic services. 


Thair Shraideh, Partnership Manager

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