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‘Investment in front-line oil and gas safety should be reviewed following cost cutting’

Malaysian oil and gas leader Sofiyan Yahya will encourage industry to review investment in ‘front line’ safety practices at a global conference in Kuala Lumpur on 7th November.

Mr Yahya, founder and advisor to the Malaysian Oil & Gas Services Council (MOGSC) and vice president of the Malaysian Oil & Gas Engineering Council will give the welcome address at OPITO Global – The Safety & Competence Conference.

He said: “As the industry is coming out of a challenging few years, we need to review investments in safety to ensure nothing was compromised due to forced cost cutting. There is always more that can be done to improve safety practices, particularly to cover the 2nd tier and 3rd tier contractors and subcontractors who are the front liners in most projects.”

The event organised by OPITO, the global skills body for the energy industry, will feature high profile industry speakers including Stephen Marcos Jones, director general, UK Petroleum Industry Association, Malaysian oil and gas advisor Izwan Megat and Professor Paul de Leeuw, director of RGU’s Oil & Gas Institute.

Mr Yahya believes the sector in Malaysia has responded positively to the skills and competency agenda despite going through a challenging period: “There has been a focus on training and developing talent in preparation for the market bouncing back. Companies are training their staff to offer more value-added services in an increasingly competitive environment.”

He also believes the industry needs to take action now to prepare for emerging roles over the coming years. “To support the digital transformation agenda, new skills are required to prepare businesses and the workforce for the Industrial Revolution 4.0. Culture and behaviour training will become more proactive rather than reactive and safety leadership training is required at all levels of the workforce.”

Following an early career as an engineer in the production department at PETRONAS, Mr Yahya progressed into managerial roles with other oil and gas companies and spent 20 years championing the interests of service providers through various industry bodies. He was recently appointed as a council member of the Entrepreneur Development Advisory Council under the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development in Malaysia.

OPITO Global has been running for nine years and the theme of this year’s event is ‘Skilled for Safety’ with around 400 delegates expected at the Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur. This year’s headline sponsor is Falck Safety Services.

International keynote speakers include ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ First Officer, Jeff Skiles who helped safely land a stricken passenger flight on New York’s Hudson River in 2009 with 155 people on board and top US Navy elite fighter pilot Jack Becker. He was instrumental in incorporating crew resource management systems into the US Navy’s processes and his company Flight Level Solutions now works with global corporates to reduce risk.