An estimated 15,000 oil and gas workers in Iraq will be trained in how to deal with the potential hazards of hydrogen sulphide.
Oil giant Shell and Industry training standards body Opito have joined forced to ensure workers are protected.
The corrosive and hazardous gas, also known as ‘sour gas’, H2S occurs in the production of oil and gas fields which have a high content of it in their reservoirs.
The programme is the first of its kind to be rolled out in Iraq since Opito signed an agreement with the Ministry of Oil.
Its aim is to develop the workforce with the necessary skills and training to safely utilise Iraq’s hydrocarbon resources.
Shell is one of the largest international companies in Iraq and has also invested in a new training centre in Majnoon near Basrah.
Hans Nijkamp Shell, Iraq vice president, said: ‘One of the biggest risks in producing oil and gas, particularly sour gas, is the presence of H2S.
“To reduce that risk we, along with our Majnoon project partners Petronas and Missan Oil Company have committed to training Iraqi’s in the safe handling of this hazardous gas.
“Our training centre in Majnoon is now up and running and is the first OPITO-approved centre in Iraq.
“This is a major step in our journey towards building a safe Iraqi workforce that is accredited to international standards.
“We are immensely proud of our partnership with OPITO to deliver the standard and to have our centre accredited so that we can get people trained as quickly and effectively as possible.”
David Doig, group chief executive of OPITO, said: “Shell has shown real leadership in the development and roll-out of this training standard and must be recognised and commended for investing time and financial resources in its delivery which will ultimately save lives.
“We are confident that the other major employers operating in Iraq’s oil and gas sector will follow Shell’s example and commit to training their workers in this standard.”