LOCAL CONTENT: Integration of FPSO now possible in-country — Simbi Wabote

Integration of FPSO now possible in-country — Simbi Wabote

With this fund, do you think indigenous operators can now handle major projects in the industry Even before the funds, Nigerian companies have really developed their capacity and are doing heavy duty projects. For example, before the advent of the law itself, all fabrication works were done outside the country.

But between now and then, like you know this year is the 10th anniversary of the establishments of the board, Nigerian companies are now fabricating 60,000 metric tonnes. That is quite substantial and today we are able to integrate FPSO in-country, we are able to manufacture all the cables we use in the oil and gas sector, we are able to manufacture pipes and there have been tremendous achievements in terms of heavy duty activities. The first integration facility in Africa was done here in Nigeria. And we integrated the largest FPSO in the world that is producing 200,000 barrels per day.

So that is a huge achievement and it is heavy lift and we have been able to do that. The fund in itself is just galvanizing that process the more, but in terms of capacity, we have built substantial capacity.

Of Course. It is available everywhere. Today, 75 percent of the contracts are awarded to Nigerian companies. Today, we have been able to fabricate, for instance, in the Egina FPSO, 70 percent of local content was done in-country. These are very clear statistics for everybody to see. In terms of human capacity development, most of the indigenous operators companies are owned 100 percent by Nigerians.

If you go today to a company like the NLNG, 95 percent of the staff in that organization are Nigerians. You go to Shell the same statistics. So it is everywhere for everybody to see. It’s been a phenomenal success in the oil and gas sector and in terms of local content. Talking of success story; you have built a headquarters for the board. Did you conceive it or was it on before you assumed office When I came on board in 2016 November, they just finished the foundation of the headquarters building. Between that period and now, it is a short period to complete a 17-storey building. You know the antecedent of Nigerians in terms of project completion. Some projects have stayed for 15 years, NPDC headquarters in Benin is an example. But between 2016 and 2019 we completed the NCDMB headquarters. How did you manage to complete the building That is one of it. There is the private sector experience that we brought to bear. Secondly, I’m a project engineer; that is my background and I have been known for starting and executing projects. Just for your information, I built the Osubi Airport in Warri, which was built by Shell. It was my project. I was the project manager there and I delivered it. At some point, it was the best airport in Nigeria that we built. As an engineer, I get excitement by starting and finishing things. So the private sector, to a large extent, contributed 80 percent of that thinking. And then the other thing is selflessness to be sure that you want to deliver things and that you don’t want to walk away haphazardly. Every activity that I get involved in like a project, we must deliver it. I have this knack for perfection and to get things done. Is that drive and desire to see result that drove us to ensure that the project was completed. Like you know, it is the tallest building in the south-south and southeast put together. We have a 1000-seater auditorium, which I think perhaps is the best auditorium in this country that is owned by government. We also have a four-storey car park. That project is thinking ahead in places like Bayelsa, where you never thought such project could come alive and having a car park built. So we are ahead of our time in terms of our thought process on that project. By the grace of God, it is something one looks back and be happy with. Congratulations. But the project, the 17-storey building, will it be fully utilized? Are you going to rent some of the floors out We intend to get tenants and like I said, we are ahead of our time. I believe personally that for you to be able to get companies to come to the state, you must create conducive environment. You must put infrastructure on ground. You can’t force it to happen. I believe with that head office, if we are able to also enhance accommodation in and around the place and also hotels, we will be able to attract indigenous and international players to come and become part of our tenants. And on the back of that, we built a 10 megawatts power plant, gas-fired power plant. So we are guaranteed 24/7 electricity. That is also ready and waiting for inauguration. So it is end to end thinking. When is it going to be inaugurated? We thought it could have been on February 14, but due to political crisis in Bayelsa State, it was postponed. So we are hoping that in April, we will do the inauguration because that will mark the 10th year of NCDMB. What are the programmes lined up to mark this 10-year anniversary We have set-up a committee that is working and we hope to roll out the programme very soon as soon as the committee is ready to talk about it. But we are working very hard to see that we celebrate 10 years of achievement. You may say a decade, the word decade sounds a very long time, but strictly speaking, it is by the corner. If you don’t plan and you don’t do things, you can’t measure your achievements. But when you pronounce a decade, it looks like eternality. It is just 10 years. What will you say is the most important thing you have achieved apart from finishing this beautiful edifice? A lot. We have trained a lot of Nigerians in terms of manpower development using our human capital development programmes. We have worked with secondary schools to set-up ICT centres across the country because we believe that technology and ICT is the next big gold. So we have done that. We are also building industrial parks to incubate manufacturing activities. At least, two of them are actively ongoing in Cross River State as well as in Bayelsa State. It is a huge achievement and we hope to complete that by 2021. And as a project person, my desire is to get it done and done properly. We also got involved in the training of science teachers knowing full well the dwindling fortune in STEM education. We have trained about 1000 teachers, enhancing their capacity to be able to teach the pupils. In addition to that, we have also built one or two vocational centres and enhanced existing vocational centres to be able to enhance our vocational skills. In terms of the marine sector, we have been able to raise Nigerians participation and ownership of marine vessels from zero to 40 percent within this specific period of time. Of course, I talked about the funds, which we started disbursing to Nigerian companies, not free, they contributed to the funds. That in itself is also a huge achievement. We have done quite a lot and today the discuss out there is how do we extend the local content to other sectors. That shows you that people see what we have done in terms of progressing local content.

SOURCE:VANGUARD

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