Ernest Nwapa told lawmakers of his agency’s performance so far.
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board said on Tuesday that it has re-confirmed the commitment of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria to go ahead with the construction of a $5 million (N775 million) jetty in support of the pilot pipe mill being promoted by the Board in Polaku, Bayelsa State.
The Executive Secretary of the Board, Ernest Nwapa, said this when he received members of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) who were in Bayelsa on oversight duties.
The jetty would be used for shipping raw materials and finished products from the 250 metric tonne pipe mill located in the same area as Shell’s Gbaran Ubie gas plant and a National Integrated Power Plant (NIPP).
Already, the 10 hectares of land acquired for the project is being prepared for civil works after bush clearing, while Shell has begun technical assessment of the land preparatory to the commencement of construction of the jetty, Mr. Nwapa said. He said this is part of the wide ranging industry support for the pilot pipe mill and other developmental initiatives of the Board.
Mr. Nwapa said that the pipe mill when completed would create over 1000 direct jobs and several thousands of indirect jobs as well as provide an invaluable platform for training Nigerians. He said the mill would also supply pipes for the over 2000 kilometers of new gas pipelines to be laid under the National Gas Master Plan, for the replacement of aged existing pipes, as well as supply pipes for the numerous fertiliser, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plant and gas-to-power projects planned for the next few years.
The Executive Secretary told the committee members, led by Emmanuel Paulker, that the board’s monitoring process starts from the conceptualisation of industry projects through the implementation stage, to ensure that operators and stakeholders comply with provisions of the enabling act.
He assured the senate committee that with the necessary support from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the board’s implementation of the act establishing it has been robust and impactful across the industry, resulting in the development of new facilities, infrastructure and new skills in line with its resolve to focus on developing local capacity, which will ensure that industry jobs are executed in the country and employment created for qualified Nigerians.
”The existence of local capacity and manufacturing of components of industry equipment was a sure way to grow Nigerian Content, create employment from the industry and reduce dependence on importation for industry operations,” Mr. Nwapa said.
Other initiatives of the board include ongoing project-based training programmes as well as the training of welders, carpenters, fitters and other professionals who would participate in the construction of the board’s headquarters building.
He said the board is working to establish the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industrial Parks in close proximity to the oil fields to spur small and medium enterprises to grow their capability in manufacturing through partnerships with multi-nationals and original equipment manufacturers.
“We intend to use the industrial park model to establish physical infrastructure and create enabling environment for low-cost manufacturing of equipment components, with a view to maximize utilisation of Nigerian made goods in the oil and gas industry; and to integrate community entrepreneurs into oil and gas value chain,” Mr. Nwapa told his guests.
Mr. Paulker, who acknowledged the important role the agency is playing in the development of the economy, especially in increasing the participation of Nigerians in the oil and gas industry and developing indigenous capacity, described the Nigerian Content Act as one of the most important legislations passed by the legislature in the past few years, promising that the Senate would support the agency in every possible way to ensure that stakeholders comply with provisions of the Act.
Also, Heineken Lokpobiri, who was on the delegation, charged the agency to closely monitor the activities of the international oil companies and ensure that they comply with the act in the interest of the country .