Another theme of the conference was how Kurdistan’s oil and gas sector can help develop the wider Kurdish economy and how international oil companies can contribute to community projects, skills-development and job-creation.
Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, KRG High Representative to the UK, who chaired the session on the corporate social responsibility (CSR), said, ‘The oil and gas industry is not just about seismic measurements, barrels and pipelines, but it is about people. We want to provide jobs for local communities, to develop the skills of our young people and to provide better healthcare and a prosperous future for all our people.’
The panel also included Maya Khouri, Programme Manager of Aamina, responsible for coordinating and executing CSR programmes in Erbil, Ministry of Natural Resources advisor, Ian McIntosh, on increasing the number of skilled Kurds in the oil and gas sector, and Shaho Hussein, the CSR advisor. Mr Hussein said there has to be a triangle of cooperation between the Kurdistan Regional Government, the oil companies and the community.
Ms Khouri called for building an education pipeline alongside oil pipelines. She said, ‘Closing the skills gap and building human capital is a long term project which requires resources and capital.’
Outlining the needs and plans of the MNR in developing skilled workforce in oil and gas industry, Mr McIntosh said, ‘We are establishing the capability development program organisation – the Kurdistan Oil & Gas Workforce Capability Development Association to ensure the right focus in each area and to encourage collaboration from the relevant organisations.’
CSR includes projects such as the founding of a new Children’s Hospital to tackle a needlessly high number of avoidable deaths and disabilities, presented at the conference by Rang Shawis, Consultant Paediatric surgeon and Chairman of the Kurdistan Children’s Hospital in Erbil.