Nigeria has begun to reap the dividends of its local content policy with the test run by PEM Offshore Limited, an indigenous company, of its offshore simulation and innovation centre in Lagos. The centre is the first in West Africa
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Jul. 21, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT
THE implementation of the Nigerian Content law on Monday, July 7, recorded another milestone as PEM Offshore Limited, an indigenous oil servicing company, began to test run its offshore simulation and innovation centre in Lagos. The feat was the first of its kind in West Africa.
Speaking at the opening of the centre, Philips Eze Matthew, senior vice-president, PEM Offshore Group, commended the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, for stimulating investment in marine crew training facilities through the marine vessel utilization scheme. He also acknowledged the financing arrangement put in place by the board under the Nigerian Content Development Fund, NCDF, model which provides 30 percent guarantee on loans accessed and 50 percent interest rate rebate and elongated tenure for loan facilities. He said all these interventions by the board made it possible for the company to come to this level.
According to Matthew, the first phase has been set up and when other facilities are put in place, the centre would have a full suite of offshore anchor handling simulation equipment, dynamic positioning, power management and crane simulation systems. He said it would support the training of local and foreign offshore personnel involved in the oil and gas operations. And that it would also meet the growing demand for highly competent and qualified personnel for the highly sophisticated and safety driven industry.
Shedding more light on its operations, Matthew explained that the company has entered into an agreement with Kongsberg Maritime, the original equipment manufacturer for the supply and technical support of the simulation centre. “PEM Offshore has secured a 5-year commitment from Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, and Agip Energy to utilize POSAIC facility in actualising CNL and Agip annual scholarship award programme to train Nigerian seafarers. The CNL and Agip programme is expected to gulp an annual sum of $200,000, that will amount to $1,000,000 within the first five years,” he said.
The senior vice-president noted that the company was also in talks with several other international operating oil companies, drilling firms and the Nigerian Navy and was confident that they would patronize the company to reduce capital flight, sustain the local training facility and stimulate more investment in establishment of training centers of excellence.
In his remarks, Ernest Nwapa, executive secretary, NCDMB, lauded PEM Offshore for bringing the project to fruition despite the challenges it experienced while accessing funding from Nigerian financial institutions. He said that such investments by Nigerian companies would remove doubts about the capacity of Nigerians to own and operate key assets in the oil and gas industry.
Nwapa maintained that indigenous ownership of key assets “is the best guarantee that the implementation of the Nigerian Content policy will endure,” adding that when Nigerians own assets, they would insist that the provisions of the Act must be implemented with regards to domiciliation of industry work. “It will also be easier to enforce manning of such assets by Nigerians with the requisite skills,” he said.
He promised that the board would protect Nigerians that invest in such facilities by galvanizing the industry to patronize such facilities. Nwapa also credited the successes recorded so far in implementing the Nigerian Content Act to the courage and leadership provided by Diezani Alison Madueke, minister of petroleum resources, and the support of President Goodluck Jonathan to the Nigerian content agenda.
On his part, Raymond Wilcox, general manager, Nigerian Content, Chevron Nigeria Limited, posited that Chevron supported the initiative from the onset because of its total commitment to Nigerian content agenda as implemented by the NCDMB. He assured that Chevron would rally round other international operating companies in ensuring that the facility operated optimally as the preferred center for training seafarers. Wilcox further thanked the NCDMB for showing the way and encouraging Chevron to invest in critical capacity development initiatives that would deepen capabilities of the local supply chain.