• Tuesday, March 05, 2024
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Our success a product of creativity, long term strategies – Marine Platforms CEO

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Taofik Adegbite is the chief executive officer of Marine Platforms. In this interview with OLUSOLA BELLO he explains how the company has become a force to be reckoned within the oil service industry and the role Chevron played to ensure that it has succeeded as a local company. Excerpt:

Introduction

Marine Platforms. Marine Platform is 100 percent indigenous Nigerian company. We registered in 2001 and started in 2002. Our creation was actually at the instance of the Nigerian Content initiative. We metamorphosed from Nigerian Content initiative, riding on the tide to where we are today. We have seen the entire spectrum of the Nigerian content initiative, directive and law.

Marine Platforms operates in three segments. On the completion side we do well clean up, we run specialised tools to clean up wells, while the second leg is that we provide subsea services where we provide remotely operated vehicles (ROV). Subsea solution. We currently have about 250 workers. The third leg is that we also provide vessel chartering.

Taofik Adegbite
Taofik Adegbite

At a time when there was the renewed vigour that Nigerian companies should participate in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, in consonance with human nature most companies went to the areas of least resistance, that is in downstream of the oil and gas sector. But a few companies went to the upstream.

We decided that we are going to the upstream which was not particularly juicy. We were a product of the local content initiative. When we started the company we were very clear that the path we chose was not going to be easy and it would take some considerable time for us before we start making profit.

The conclusion then was that if we don’t make profit for five years we would still continue in the business. We were thinking of long term sustainability. This was what informed our going for the subsea services which at that time was still a new horizon for foreign companies. We decided that we were going into deepwater operations. It has been a very rough road, because between 2002 and 2007 we did not have any job.

When you went into subsea operations, did you have any engineers among you?

With all sense of humility we were entrepreneurs and what we set out to do was a business creation. We knew we lacked the technical knowledge, we knew we didn’t understand the knitty-gritty but we also realised that we can acquire these. So what we succeeded in doing at a time was to define purpose. We defined the entrepreneur pursuit and I would like to add that our ignorance paid off.

In all these, how has been your relationship with Chevron?

Marine Platforms’ story would not be complete without Chevron Nigeria Limited. Marine Platforms’ achievement today would not have been possible without riding on the back of Chevron. Prior to Chevron we were only running the well buckling up tools.

Well buckling up tools and with all sense of responsibility today forms just about 2 percent of our revenue stream. But we cut our teeth in subsea services with the chartering of our vessel to Chevron. The big relief for Marine Platforms came from Chevron. I must say that Chevron was at a time working to gather with NAPISM, choosing not to be very, very strict in following the contracting rules to the letter.

What it did was that rather than disqualify Marine Platforms during the technical stage they chose to follow us to verify our technical partners and competencies. This, I see as the turning point in our operations.

If they had not done that and had evaluated us based on what we were, truly speaking we would have failed. I remember it was their mutual relationship with NAPIMS that made Chevron and others to follow us to Aberdeen to look at the locations and see our partners.

Thereafter when we were to get the vessel, they went to Norway to inspect the vessel. This further gave our would-be partners in Norway confidence in us. This happened when the Niger Delta crisis was at its peak, and it was forbidden then for Norwegians to work in Nigeria.

When our partners in Norway saw that Chevron visited Norway for the inspection, it further gave them confidence. It was on the strength of this that another company was created which enabled our partners to now transact business with us.

So truly speaking, these little things here and there created the opportunity for us to emerge from the subsea vessel services to where we provide subsea solutions to companies. We have multipurpose vessels which was the pedestal on which we launched our subsea solutions.

So Chevron has played a very critical role in seeing us coming up without which there would not be track records and without track records, we would have been able to attain the achievements we have made now.

Can you evaluate Chevron’s contribution to local content development?

Chevron contract is the first contract we had in oil and gas industry that specifically made provision for training of locals within the contract. What I mean by this is that the company makes provision for training of ROV pilot test that they paid for.

Now as a company, we leveraged on this. What this explains is our discipline and leverage on that little creation of Chevron’s which is very critical to carrying out the pilot test. Chevron made provision for two slots and as we speak we have trained 25 locals through such processes.

This is a highly remarkable thing Chevron is doing as regards local content. Now, remember that 2009 was prior to establishment of NCDMB, and the law, that is local content law, was signed in 2010. So this explains Chevron’s thinking even before the local content law was put in place, which is very commendable.