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Changing face of local content development as exemplified by MG Vowgas

The visitation of MG Vowgas fabrication yard in Port Harcourt was the climax of the 2019 Practical Nigerian Content conference and exhibition held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State recently.

As it is the practice, the closing ceremony of the conference always end with a tour of a designated local facility by participants so that some of them can have a firsthand experience of what such a local company can do in the areas of fabrication and Marine services.

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MG Vowgas was the one designated this time around by Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB). The fabrication yard marks a new dawn in the issue of local content development in Nigeria. It has every facility for any form of fabrication in the country.

The facilities there would convince anybody, including the international oil companies that never believe that indigenous companies can do anything great and complex works that meet international standards.

The international oil companies will now have no excuse to carry their jobs outside the country or contract them to international companies on the excuse that there no Nigerian companies that can do it.

Surprisingly, while many fabrication yards have either folded up or struggling to stay afloat because of lack of jobs, MG Vowgas has installed high tech equipment that reduces the timelines for even difficult jobs.

Read also: Manufacturing faces big test in 2020 on oil price, border closure, AfCFTA

From next year the company will begin to fabricate modular refinery and boilers for both refineries and oil companies. Fabricating modular refineries would go a long way to solve the problems of raise foreign exchange for promoters of modular refineries in the country.

The company which is purely is an indigenous one is into EPC projects such as fabrication of topsides, building of structural steels, platforms, pressure vesselsm and has also been active in flow lines repairs. It also provides marine support services by building marine vessels. All of these activities are carried out under the supervision of ASMES.

The yard has graduated from four workshops in two years ago to having eight workshop today which are equipped with sophisticated machines that are capable of doing various fabrication works of international standards.

However what baffles many of the visitors was the level of underutilisation of the yard despite all the investments that has gone in there.

Azikwe Ajounuma, one of the visitors told Businessday that just like many other yards across the country, MG Vowgas fabrication yard is not getting the required jobs to justify the level of investments that has taken place there.

He said what is happening in the yard is a reflection of the general lull in the oil and gas industry which the government must address. “There is need for government to ensure that more foreign direct investments (FIDS) are sanctioned so that many companies like this can get jobs and increase employment opportunities in the country.”

If a few projects like Bonga South West, Zabazaba and NLNG train 7 can come on stream many of these yards would be engaged.

Godwin Izomor, the group managing director of MG Vowgas Nigeria Limited said it was the negative attitudes of the international oil companies that indigenous companies cannot carry out jobs that would meet international standards, that challenged him to push for the establishment of this massive yard that is sitting on around 85,000 square meters of land covering marine warehouse and fabrication yard.

He expressed appreciation to the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board NCDMB for its encouragement as regard the activities in the yard, despite the lull in the industry

The greatest asset of the company is the quality of its personnel. Around 98 percent of the work force is Nigerians.

With all these investments put in place if necessary projects are not sanctioned by the government and other stakeholders, such as the international oil companies sustaining such facilities may be a challenge. Patronage is very important for the sustenance of the facility.

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