With liquefied natural gas (LNG) expected to grow exponentially over the next five years, owing to the global drive to greener power generation, diverse consulting service provider Synergy Oil & Gas Consulting & Training senior energy manager Ismaeel Fataar says now is the time to upskill workers to keep up with international skills and technological developments.
“South Africa currently relies heavily on Mozambique for the supply of LNG, but with training and the correct infrastructure developments in the sector, South Africa can attain supply independence.”
Using LNG, which is a clean, cost-effective and readily available product, will help South Africa’s efforts at a just energy transition, he adds.
However, Fataar mentions that the LNG industry is new and has no concrete standards and accreditations, which “needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency”.
Fataar stresses that the gap in the certification of LNG sector training and upskilling is owing to a lack of industry standards, not only in South Africa but also globally.
“The general principle of LNG has remained the same since it was first used as an energy source; however, the technologies used in the generation, application and transportation of the gas are ever-evolving.
“Companies providing these new technologies often offer in-house training based on their capabilities, but not a general curriculum for the sector.”
He explains that this needs to be collaboratively developed by the sector education and training authority (Seta), as well as suppliers, producers, installers and end-users to ensure a fast and effective growth in the LNG-to-power sector.
“We have engaged with the relevant Seta to work with it on a set curriculum and structure of courses to be offered for workers in the LNG sector.”
Fataar points out that Synergy Oil & Gas currently offers two continuing professional development-accredited courses, which he suggests will help introduce South Africans to the LNG sector.
The first course introduces new workers to the concept of LNG and its origins, geology, processing or refining, and distribution.
The second course aligns with LNG distributors and operators that need an in-depth understanding of the processes, making, transport and use of LNG to generate power.
He adds that, owing to the volatility of LNG, emphasis must be placed on the health and safety of operators, as well as the correct installation and maintenance of operations that use LNG.
As a result, both courses cover the health and safety aspects of working with volatile gases and its environmental impact, as well as the adherence to occupational health and safety guidelines.
The courses are concluded with tests to assess the workers’ knowledge of the material presented, and a certificate of attendance and understanding.