Plans are underway by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), in partnership with Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS), to develop oil and gas industry marine vessel standards.
OPTS is the umbrella body of major oil-producing companies in Nigeria, at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
The Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, stated this in Abuja, recently, when he received the new executive committee of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), led by the President, Dr Mkgeorge Onyung.
He explained that the standards will be applied in marine tenders by all oil and gas operators, and will specify uniform technical specifications that must be met by marine vessels that will work in the oil and gas industry.
He added that the conceptualisation of the standards will have inputs from relevant stakeholders, and will enhance business opportunities for marine operators, and stimulate capacity building, efficient maintenance of vessels and optimum service delivery.
He added that NCDMB is desirous of promoting the development of shipyards, and would collaborate with the ship owners or any group that would submit a bankable proposal on how to domicile that important capacity in-country.
Responding to a request by the ship owners for the Board to relax certain conditions, which made it difficult for them to access the Nigerian Content Intervention (NCI Fund), Wabote insisted that such conditions would remain.
He clarified that the Board instituted those conditions, including the demand for bank guarantee from the applicant’s commercial bank, to guard against failure of the loans and the entire credit scheme.
He described the NCI Fund as a phenomenal success, noting that 90 percent of the fund has been accessed by oil and gas companies that met the set conditions.
Earlier, Onyung said the visit was aimed at familiarising the Board with the new executive of the Association and to seek innovative ways both organisations could collaborate for the good of the industry.
He commended NCDMB for its successes, he said some members were working with foreign partners to start shipbuilding and repair centres in Nigeria, and will require support and collaboration from the Board.
He informed that shipping consists 90 per cent of global trade, and SOAN is desirous of contributing its quota to national economic development.
He said SOAN is planning to organise a national conference and would use the forum to showcase how Nigerian Content had provided an enabling environment for shipping to thrive.
He also pleaded with the Board to compel the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to use indigenous-owned tankers for transshipment of its products, noting that only one Nigerian-owned tanker was engaged in this process in contravention of Content Act.
Responding, Wabote assured the Board’s readiness to partner with SOAN to provide sea-time experience to young Nigerians and charged the Association to submit a detailed proposal on the idea.
He also said NCDMB is already exploring an arrangement where ExxonMobil Nigeria would deploy a training vessel as a Capacity Development Initiative (CDI). The vessel would have extra deck spaces for cadets and operate under a sustainable arrangement.