Q&A with group local content manager

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We spoke with Tullow's Group Local Content Manager Jim Walsh. Read his question and answer session below.

Q: What is Local Content?

Local Content is a term used in the Oil and Gas industry to describe the commitment to build on the capacity and capability of local people and businesses to support the long-term development of the emerging sector.

Q: Why is Local Content important to Tullow?

We want to benefit the countries where we work by investing in local suppliers, investing in local skills and by creating real opportunities within the industry. For us, Local Content is not just about meeting legislative requirements or ticking a box, we do it because we have a responsibility; it creates a positive social and economic impact and makes good business sense. For example, working with local companies can reduce our project times and costs.

Q: What is Tullow's strategy for Local Content?

The goal of our local content strategy is to build local capacity and to develop successful suppliers who can deliver a wide range of goods, services and skills to international standards.

We aim to do this by:

  • Developing an industry run by nationals through training, knowledge transfer and employment
  • Supporting local businesses to enter the industry's supply chain, either directly as suppliers to Tullow or through our international supplier relations
  • Creating a social enterprise funding and partnerships programme for education and enterprise development for our industry.

Q: How much has Tullow invested in Local Content?

We spent $309m with local suppliers in 2015.

Q: What sort of services are local companies providing for Tullow?

There are numerous and varied opportunities for local suppliers, from medical equipment and civil and mechanical engineering services, to transport services, security and freight forwarding.

Q: How does Tullow work with local businesses?

As the oil and gas industry is very new in many of the countries where we operate, we recognise the need to support, train and build local expertise.The types of skills required in the industry are quite specialised and require a high level of vocational and technical skills. Therefore we want to help develop these skills and run skills development programmes and supplier forums in the countries where we operate, which include:

  • Contract awareness events – this initiative organises a range of events and forums for local potential suppliers, including discussions on our procedures and standards
  • Enterprise development centres – besides the support we offer directly, we have set up Enterprise Development Centres that provide appraisal,action planning, training and development services.
  • Training, Development, Mentoring and Coaching – to meet any needs we have identified in our suppliers, Tullow may provide or commission training, and provide mentoring and coaching support, to help potential suppliers present professional bids.
  • Vocational Training Schemes – these schemes focus mainly on developing trade skills, e.g. electrical, plumbing, welding and steel fabrication.
  • Invest in Africa – we support Invest in Africa, find out more about Invest in Africa and register on the African Partner Pool.

Q: How do the in-country Local Content teams work with local businesses?

We do not just award Local Content contracts to local business and leave them to work independently. Our in-country Local Content teams work with the companies, do audits and also monitor international suppliers to makes sure they are maintaining their commitment to training. The teams also research the local market, build-up a database and identify training opportunities for our current suppliers. We run a programme called "Closing the Gap" which is aimed at helping local people and businesses enter the oil and gas industry supply chain. At the sessions we train suppliers to increase their skills in health and safety, book keeping, submitting invoices and how to tender for contracts. These workshops are well attended and appreciated by local businesses.

Q: How does Tullow ensure contracts given to international suppliers have an element of Local Content?

The amount of Local Content in a tender is one of the key criteria a potential supplier is marked against and our contracts are designed to ensure that our international suppliers take the same responsibility for developing local content as we do.

Q: What advice would you give to potential local suppliers who would like to work with Tullow?

Specialise in what you do, bring up the standards of your core services and learn and deliver to the requirements of the industry. Don't try to do everything - concentrate on the service we require and make sure you work to best of your ability. That is the recipe for success.