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Business Times (Malaysia): Shell spends RM10m a year on education

By Kamarul Yunus
[email protected]
December 7 2006

SHELL Malaysia said it allocates up to RM10 million per year on education programmes, as part of its efforts to reduce the shortage of skilled and technical workers, which is plaguing the global oil and gas industry.

Chairman Saw Choo Boon said the company has an extensive programme on scholarship for university undergraduates every year.

“Our allocation for scholarships ranges between RM5 million and RM10 million per year,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Shell Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. The MOU is for the Shell Chair in Petroleum at UTP.

Acknowledging that oil companies in Malaysia including Shell face a shortage of skilled and technical staff, Saw said the shortage differs from discipline to discipline.”One of the areas facing the local upstream sector is the huge demand for technical expertise outside the country.

“We expect this trend to continue as there are big expansion programmes coming up, particularly from the Middle Eastern countries,” he said.

Noting that the company cannot match the offer made by these Middle East countries, he said Shell Malaysia will try to improve the quality of its staff and help develop human resources through research and development as well as work closely with institutions of higher learning.

On Shell Malaysia’s first collaborative programme with UTP, Saw said the purpose of sponsoring a petroleum geoscience chair is to meet the objective of producing, not only quality graduates, but also enhancing the human capital of university and exposing the university to international research and resources.

Apart from the RM5 million funding sponsorship for the chair, he said Shell Malaysia will also provide UTP access to its technical experts and state-of-the-art technologies.

“We are confident that this collaboration will offer many benefits for the common good of the oil and gas industry,” he said.

He said Shell will also grant scholarships annually, starting from next year to UTP students in the fields of engineering and petroleum geosciences.

To assist UTP produce all-rounded graduates, Shell Malaysia will also be extending internship programmes.

“This eight-month programme will provide excellent opportunities for students to be exposed to the reality of the industry,” he said.

Shell is also working on an extensive campus programme with six local universities.

Meanwhile, UTP rector and chief executive officer Dr Zainal Abidin Kasim said the university is talking with several major oil companies and service providers for chair sponsorships.

“Our focus is not only those in the upstream sector, but also the downstream as well. For instance, we are now talking with Siemens and Intel,” he said.

Apart from Shell Malaysia, UTP has also secured financial sponsorship from global oil company Schlumberger to set up a chair in Petroleum Engineering.

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