The $7bn (OMR2.69bn) Duqm Refinery will create up to 800 jobs in the next four years as part of a concerted effort to boost in-country value and support local Omani jobs.
Hundreds of new jobs will be created by the project – a joint venture between Oman Oil Company and Kuwait Petroleum Corporation – as its moves from the front-end engineering design stage (feed) to construction, commissioning, and full-scale operational activity.
Nas-Ha Al Fallahi, general manager of corporate affairs at Duqm Refinery, explained: “We are going to grow the company with 800 [jobs] in complicated and sophisticated skill sets, some of which are in the market and some that are not, so we need to develop them from scratch.”
Early construction work has already started and main work will begin in two months, but Fallahi said the project was “running out of time” to hire and train people for commissioning in four years' time. However, Duqm Refinery is looking to build its talent pool from the ground up to ensure it has a skilled workforce to manage a refinery that will pump out 230,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
“In Oman today, we have many other projects and it’s not only us [looking to hire new staff],” she said.“We are all trying to fish from the same pool, but our strategy is, instead of trying to fish from the same pool, why don’t we create our own pool? Therefore, we have started hiring fresh graduates from the start of the project for them to see the whole project cycle from feed until commissioning.
“We are also taking high-school graduates through the in-country value programme, putting them in to the best colleges, so one or two years down the line they will ready to be part of the operations team at Duqum Refinery”.
Led by Fallahi, Duqm Refinery has a comprehensive strategy for creating local jobs, with a big emphasis on hiring Omani youth.
The project wants to have an Omanisation rate of up to 80% when its workforce reaches 800, although Fallahi admitted this could be a challenge.
“Today, as we speak, we have around 100 staff, and an Omanisation rate of around 70%, but as we grow and the number of different skill sets required for the refinery increases, that number may drop down. To maintain that, you need to work hard from today to develop people from scratch.”
Alongside the 800 engineering, project management, and support jobs, temporary construction jobs will be created by the project as well.
During construction, Duqm Refinery will account for a staggering 8% of Oman's gross domestic product (GDP), according to a senior Duqum Refinery representative. This figure is expected to drop when the refinery begins normal operations.