PHASE one of the Onshore Petroleum Centre of Excellence has ended with a successful round of pilot training undertaken by TAFE SA for the largest oil and gas producers in South Australia.

Fifteen employees from Santos, Beach Energy, Senex Energy, Transfield Services completed their training at Tonsley TAFE in late November.

Feedback about course design, delivery and teaching has provided TAFE SA with the basis to build its oil and gas operations curriculum and teaching expertise, prior to the opening of the new centre early in 2015.

Mining, engineering and transport senior education manager Graham Gum said plant operations will be using a perfected vocational education and training model that combines the best of online, practical and industry driven training.

“Operators, supervisors and team leaders with varying levels of skills and experience went through the pilot training giving constructive, targeted and positive feedback at the end.

“The training included presenters from the Australian Petroleum and Production Exploration Association,” he said.

Tonsley TAFE is working closely with industry and the Department of State Development to develop the training, as well as providing a physical home for the facility.

Construction on phase two of the facility is nearly completed within Tonsley TAFE, which is part of the broad Sustainable Industries Education Centre (SIEC).

The new Onshore Petroleum Centre of Excellence training facility will provide a fully immersive simulated oil and gas production environment to be used for technical training, including safety, environmental and sustainable operational principles and key maintenance activities.

It forms part of the state’s Mining and Petroleum Services Centre of Excellence which aims to bring together resource companies, research institutions and services businesses to foster and coordinate innovation and applied research initiatives that have a global impact.

Santos, as operator of the SA Cooper basin Joint Venture (of which Beach Energy is a member), has committed significant oil and gas production and mechanical equipment, engineering design, transportation and installation of the equipment in the training facility which will leverage the potential to attract leading industry service providers.

The state government, Senex Energy and Beach Energy have provided funding for fit-out, capital works and the running of the facility for the first two years.

Industry partners GPA Engineering, Fyfe Engineering, Logicamms, Veolia Environmental Services, Toll Energy, Transfield Services, Centralian Controls, Max Crane and Equipment Hire, Toyota Material Handling Australia, Ottoway Engineering, MRC Global Australia and Inductabend are providing their expertise and services to support the initiative.

Santos is one of Australia’s largest producers of gas to the domestic market and with the largest exploration and production acreage position in Australia of any company.

Santos vice president for Eastern Australia James Baulderstone said the company was proud to be a part of the initiative.

“(It) forms a partnership between industry and TAFE SA to foster innovation and boost skills-based safety and technical training for the oil and gas industry. This training facility is a first for South Australia and it will ensure that our industry continues to be led by a world-class workforce,” he said.

Beach Energy is a long established oil and gas exploration and production company based in Adelaide, and is the largest onshore oil producer in Australia.

Outgoing Beach managing director Reg Nelson also spoke of the company’s pride in supporting the project.

“Providing training opportunities that lead to jobs in the growing oil and gas sector is important for South Australia, in particular with all the activity in the Cooper basin.”

Senex Energy holds an impressive acreage position in the Cooper basin and has achieved significant growth in oil reserves and production in recent years.

Senex managing director and chief executive Ian Davies said the Centre of Excellence was important for the future growth of Australia’s onshore oil and gas sector.

“It will provide accreditation for the specialised skills associated with our industry and create a logical entry point for anyone interested in pursuing a career in the petroleum industry,” he said.

The Onshore Petroleum Centre of Excellence was established under a deed between the South Australian Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy Tom Koutsantonis, TAFE SA, Santos, Beach and Senex.

It is overseen by a governance board chaired by industry, with government representation on the board. The Department of State Development is providing secretariat support to the board and project managing the implementation, while TAFE SA reports to the board in an advisory capacity and is the educational provider for delivery of training.

TAFE SA acting chief executive Miriam Silva said TAFE SA’s involvement in this agreement demonstrates their reputation for strong industry links and quality training.

“The Onshore Petroleum Centre of Excellence training facility is giving TAFE SA an unparalleled opportunity to assist the petroleum industry to maintain a skilled workforce and raise awareness of the unique oil and gas environment,” she said.

Article contributed by TAFE SA.