NCDMB visits facilities in Warri, challenges coys on legacy projects, NCDF

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As part of its mandate for developing capacity in the oil and gas industry, the management of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board recently visited some oil and gas facilities in Warri, Delta State

The facilities visited included Gramen Petroserve Yard, Warri and Primesource Limited.

Speaking while inspecting Gramen Petroserve Yard, the Executive Secretary of the Board, Engr. Ernest Nwapa explained that the Board embarked on the visit to access what the company and Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) were doing to grow Nigerian Content in the Oil industry.

He noted that the Board’s developmental activities were rooted in the Nigerian Content Act and receives strong support from President. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

According to him, “Nigerian Content has been going on for four years and by popular acclamation it is growing positively. We want to make sure that the momentum is not lost and that the whole impact continues to penetrate deep down especially  among Nigerians.”

In his welcome speech, the Managing Director of Gramen Petroserve Yard, Engr. Amen Aghedo commended the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and the Board for the effective implementation of the Nigerian Content Act, stating that the company was one of the success stories of Nigerian Content. “If you mention one company that has benefitted from Nigerian Content,  we have benefitted from the policy,” he said.

He explained that the company had invested N1bn in the development of the facility, erecting structures and acquiring assets. He however, identified high interest rates charged on loans by banks as one of the company’s major challenge and sought assistance from the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF).

The MD also pleaded with Chevron and NCDMB to assist in the reconstruction of the company’s jetty to enable it load out the fabricated structures. He recalled that the jetty was in perfect shape when Chevron inspected it before the commencement of its fabrication project but developed problems when initial efforts were made to dredge and bring it up to 2000 tons capacity.

According to him, the estimated cost for reconstructing the jetty has been put at Eight million dollars ($8.m) and that is beyond the capacity of the company.

Aghedo also sought the Board’s assistance towards getting a steady stream of projects so as to keep the facility growing and its personnel employed.

In his response,  the Executive Secretary challenged Chevron to take up the reconstruction of the  jetty as its legacy contribution from the project to the industry.

He said, “These are things that you cannot uproot when you are going. Because once your structures go, there will be nothing you would have left here. But it is different if you finish this job and there is a name plate somewhere-that this jetty was built on the back of the Chevron project. 10 to 50 years after, it will remain there.”

On the request for support from the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) Nwapa explained that the fund has a provision for reducing interest rates and asked the company to submit a formal request. He regretted that many Nigerian oil servicing companies were not exploring the opportunity provided by the NCDF and charged them to speak with their banks on how they can benefit.

Speaking further, the Executive Secretary explained that no fabrication yard can have jobs all the time but the best strategy is to develop technologies that can enable a facility switch into other activities whenever there a lull in business.

He identified local manufacturing of gas cylinders as one of the investment windows a company like Gramen Petroserve can key into. According to him, “you have every equipment required to start off such kind of manufacturing facility in Nigeria. We have said that we don’t want gas cylinders imported into Nigeria. If your company can start this, there is a ready market for it.

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