Building skills in Ghana; building a presence in West Africa

Situated on Africa’s west coast, Ghana is fast becoming recognised as one of the world’s most prospective frontiers for offshore exploration.  Multiple major operators and drilling companies are entering the market, attracted by strong governance, open competition and the significant offshore discoveries that have been regular stories in the Oil and Gas press in recent years. For Aberdeen Drilling School, Ghana is proving to not only be a strategic market, but also a promising hub for both West and North West Africa.  



In 2017, a visit to our Aberdeen HQ by a delegation from Ghana’s regulator, the Petroleum Commission, was the beginning of a relationship that has the potential to shape the national industry for years to come. The Petroleum Commission in Ghana is mandated to regulate, manage and co-ordinate all activities in the upstream oil & gas industry for the benefit of Ghanaians. At this time, when the country is increasingly recognised as potentially a major oil & gas producer and the industry is growing exponentially, the Commission has made it clear that the safe training and technical development of local Ghanaians to play their part in this growth industry is a top priority.

To support the upskilling of the market, the partnership initiated a wide ranging program of specialist training to the Petroleum Commission’s own staff, designed to support their technical, financial, commercial and legal understanding of the drilling industry, and its place within international oilfield developments. 

National workforce development

Building a national workforce that is safe, technically competent and that contributes to both the economic and social development of Ghana is core to the Petroleum Commission and their long-term strategy for the national petroleum industry. 

Through the Ghanaian Government’s Accelerated Oil & Gas Capacity (AOGC) programme, the partnership is now laying the foundations for a national workforce development project in Ghana, where students right out of school can acquire the skills necessary to gain employment in the industry; and local personnel can acquire the training and experience needed to attain senior positions in the oilfield.  

This kind of sustained and targeted vocational development is at the core of what we offer on a project basis globally, and against this backdrop we are working with the Petroleum Commission to identify the infrastructure, and key commercial and technical components to create a lasting national project.
We have recently signed agreements with both public and private sector Ghanaian organisations, with a view to establishing a permanent presence in Ghana that will enable us to contribute fully to these skills development and capacity-building initiatives. 

One such agreement is with Rigworld Training, one of many ambitious local Ghanaian companies servicing the offshore oil & gas industry. This agreement gives us access to Rigworld’s multi-million dollar world-class training centre in Takoradi, from which they currently deliver OPITO-accredited offshore survival and other HSE training. We will complement Rigworld’s HSE offering with our own specialist training designed to service the Commission’s workforce development remit, including training the trainer content to ensure local capacity building for the future. 


“The Petroleum Commission is keen to see local organic partnerships develop in Ghana – and we believe our agreement with Rigworld will prove to be an excellent route to market long term.”

Tom Donnelly, EAA BD Manager, Aberdeen Drilling School


Excellent long-term potential

Alongside the increasing optimism in the oil & gas sector in West Africa and the Atlantic margin, there are also significant challenges to address offshore – with deepwater, ultra-deepwater and high-pressure wells.

Fortunately, that’s precisely the kind of drilling challenges we are most comfortable with, and where we have developed proven solutions over the past 30 years. So establishing and building our presence in Ghana is definitely not a one-country venture for Aberdeen Drilling School, it is about developing a robust regional hub for the long term.

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