RUSSIA: Study into training for oil and gas industry

Russia's ability to produce specialist graduates for the oil and gas industries will be put under the spotlight in a new European Union-funded comparative study. The six-month investigation, Building Capability in Russian Educational Institutions, is being put out to tender and is expected to be ready to start next year.

Prompted by concerns that Russia's higher education system has not kept up with developments in its oil and gas industries, the study is being funded under the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue.

In an open call for tenders to research companies to undertake the work, the EU notes that although "some of Russia's oil and gas companies have launched long-term programmes to help develop their workforce...the success of Russia's oil and gas industry to develop a world-class workforce clearly also depends on external factors".

Russia's education infrastructure is a key factor in this, according to the tender for the study issued mid-September: "At a time when tertiary education is under review in Russia, there is clearly a role for the EU-Russian Energy Dialogue to play in helping promote links and informational exchange.

"The reform process offers an opportunity to help revamp the content and relevance of oil and gas degree programmes, in which Russia and the EU have a clear interest."

European experience in training gas and oil industry professionals and the network of quality and professional standards that oversees that could be of immense value to Russia.

"The study will analyse how... links with Russian institutions can best be established and fostered," the tender states, adding that a key aim is to enhance investment possibilities for EU companies in Russia.

It says that finding ways to involve the experience of European professional accreditation bodies, such as the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the European Federation of National Engineering Institutions, is also critical.

The study, the EU says, is not designed to recommend "one system or another" but aims to promote technical interchange and "firmly put the work of Russian institutions into an international context".

The study is expected to identify to what extent current specialist teaching fits the EU-Russia energy strategy, compare training and standards systems in the field, and recommend ways to bridge the gap including the possibility of establishing pilot projects for introducing European-style standards into specialist Russian oil and gas training institutes.