The Managing Director of ExxonMobil Nigeria, Paul McGrath, said on Thursday that compliance with the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act was not only legal, but also a ‘moral obligation’ for multi-national oil and gas operating and servicing companies based in Nigeria.
Mr. McGrath, who spoke in Lagos while receiving the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, said compliance with the policy was a good strategy for improving profitability and sustainability of the companies’ operations.
ExxonMobil, he promised, would continue to collaborate with the content development agency to achieve its mandate.
He said that together both organisations would be able to transform the industry.
“We (ExxonMobil) defaulted in our compliance with some provisions of the Act in the past. Henceforth, we will comply with all provisions of the Act, alongside associated regulations,” Mr. McGrath said.
The ExxonMobil boss, who was appointed in March 2017, assured that the company would also seek the Board’s guidance and assistance when faced with difficulties of business.
“The new leadership (in ExxonMobil) has zero tolerance for Nigerian Content law violations and non-compliance issues. If we must do, we have to first discuss with NCDMB for guidance,” he said.
He pledged to support the Board’s initiatives, particularly on the staff exchange between the two organizations.
Part of the support, he said, was plans by the company to open a liaison office in the Board’s new headquarters, when completed in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The Executive Secretary said the visit was in line with NCDMB’s efforts to encourage and support operating companies and introduce new projects to sustain and grow Nigerian content in the oil and gas industry.
He said the Board’s determination to shorten the industry contracting cycle informed its decision to adopt definite timelines for statutory approvals and pioneering of the development and use of service level agreements, SLAs.
PREMIUM TIMES reports that the first SLA was signed between the Board and the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company, NLNG, committing them to comply with Nigerian Content Act and timely approvals of documents respectively.
The NCDMB said the model would soon be replicated with other operating companies in the country.
Mr. Wabote advised ExxonMobil to begin early plans to engage the Board on the development of its Owowo field to enhance utilisation of in-country capacities.
He cautioned operating companies against engaging in ‘single sourcing and selective tendering’, stressing that reasons for such decisions must be justifiable and discussed with the board ahead of execution.
Mr. Wabote warned companies against irregular spot hiring and utilization of vessels under the guise of emergency.
On the current status of the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund, NCIF, Mr. Wabote explained that disbursement to deserving companies was yet to start, as the board was working to perfect the governance processes.
He explained that the funds would only be disbursed through the banks, after proper risk assessments have been carried out to create confidence and trust.