Eight months after the sod was turned at Port Mourant, Berbice, Guyana’s Technical Training College Institute Inc. is finally a reality.
The first phase of the state-of-the-art facility was commissioned on Feb 9 – an initiative largely led by SBM Offshore Guyana, Stabroek block partners ExxonMobil, Hess and CNOOC, and the government of Guyana. US$13 million has been invested in the facility simulator dubbed FacTor. Overall, over US$100 million will be invested.
Already, the facility has its first cohort of students all part of SBM Offshore Guyana’s graduate trainee program.
The initiative was a milestone not only for SBM Offshore Guyana, but also for Guyana’s newly minted oil and gas sector, said General Manager, Martin Cheong.
“The collaboration is a testament of our shared values and dedication of the empowerment of local talent and the advancement of technological capabilities and the promotion of safety and excellence in our operations,” he shared.
SBM Offshore is the builder of all but one of Guyana’s oil production ships operating offshore.
Cheong explained that FacTor is a fully functional plant that mirrors the operation of real offshore platforms using water and air, designed to accommodate a batch of 24 students.
“This facility will enable participants to engage in practical operations, troubleshooting and maintenance activities – skills that are crucial for the success and safe operations of our FPSO [floating production, storage and offloading vessel]. Through meticulous planning and execution, we have transformed it into a reality. FacTor is a live processing plant with a central control operation on the latest distributed control system,” he added.
Safety is the crucial tenant of FacTor. According to ExxonMobil Guyana President Alistair Routlegde, it is the first priority of its operations offshore and one it will not “sacrifice for anything else.” Routledge was clear to point out that there are “few places in the world” with a facility like FacTor.
“This is actually one of less than 10…like it and that talks again to our commitment to bring the latest best technology, processes and techniques to Guyana to responsibly develop the resource,” he told the gathering.
FacTor is part and parcel of a “world-class, technologically advanced, multidisciplined campus” – the first in the Caribbean region, said President Irfaan Ali who delivered the feature address at the commissioning ceremony.
“It will be.. built to cater to the needs for our future economy and the needs for the future of this region,” he said. “We have carefully calculated what we want to achieve…to ensure that quality infrastructure, quality human resource, quality development partners…it is bringing quality to give us the output we are celebrating today,” Ali continued.
The entire facility is three pronged; it will serve Guyana’s oil and gas, hospitality and construction sectors.
According to the President, in the coming weeks, the sod will be turned for phase two, which focuses on the hospitality aspect. It will also house a campus to cater for 150 students from Guyana and the region.
“We are making these investments that tell you a philosophy…one [in] which a government believes in people, believes in building capacity, believes in training, and believes that transformation must be linked to human resource development,” the President said.
FacTor’s first students were drawn from the University of Guyana, technical institutes in New Amsterdam and Linden, and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Training Centre also housed at Port Mourant.