Oil and gas skills body OPITO is set to become a strategic skills adviser in Cyprus with the opening of new offices in the region.
Following discussions with senior Cypriot officials, OPITO has invested in a new office in the country.
The Eastern Mediterranean is currently estimated to hold 122 trillion cubic feet of gas in the area and with additional exploration on the horizon, Cyprus is emerging as an oil and has hub for the region.
Group chief executive David Doig said: “The recent discovery of natural gas resources offshore Cyprus is a major opportunity to create jobs and opportunities for the island and its people.
“We are honoured and excited to help lay the foundations for the creation of a world-class learning infrastructure which will develop a Cypriot workforce capable of supporting the oil and gas industry in the eastern Mediterranean and establish Cyprus as a recognised oil and gas centre of technical excellence, contributing significantly to the future economic well-being of the country.”
OPITO will help to develop the necessary technical skills required in the exploration and production of hydrocarbons and help create a safety training infrastructure to ensure that workers are trained to the best standards.
It will also help to roll out many of the skills initiatives and tools which have been tried and tested in the UK.
The skills body said it would also be working closely with the government and academia in the country to improve the awareness of opportunities in the sector.
Two Cypriot nationals will also be employed to work in OPITO’s Cyprus office with more jobs to be created as the organisation implements its skills strategy for the eastern Mediterranean.
Chris Wright, formerly with OPITO in Dubai, has been appointed to head up the Cyprus office and will be responsible for building a safety training infrastructure to ensure Cypriot oil and gas workers are trained to OPITO’s world class standards.
He will work closely with the government and local officials to roll out a strategy aimed at aligning education routes with job roles in the sector and promoting the need for transferable skills, so the existing workforce can access new careers from the emerging hydrocarbon industry.
Mr Wright said: “Prior to March 2014, Cyprus didn’t have any proven oil and gas reserves. Fast forward 12 months and the island has what it takes to become a regional energy hub.
“I feel very fortunate to play a part in developing Cyprus into a centre of technical excellence. Having worked in a number of different sectors in technically focused roles, I understand the objectives and challenges faced by the industry and how OPITO, as the custodian of world-leading safety and competency standards, can ensure the right foundation is in place to grow and develop the fledgling Cypriot oil and gas industry.”