• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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$84m Marine Platforms hi-tech vessel to boost deepwater operations

$84m Marine Platforms hi-tech vessel to boost deepwater operations

Deep water operations in the oil and gas industry are set for a boost with the acquisition of a vessel ‘Africa Inspiration’ that will be used as platform for Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV). The ROV will enhance movement and actions that are associated with advance deepwater operations which will facilitate smooth laying of flow pipes and other maintenance work.

It is equipped with manipulator arms for grabbing, moving or placing items in the sea with high-definition video and still cameras on the vehicles, record images of sea life, geology, and experiments. The vehicles carry a variety of sampling equipment and sensors for collecting information about the ocean and seafloor.

With the craving for local content development in the oil and gas  industry by the Federal Government (FG), achieving a platform with a technology of this type is a big boost for the  local content development policy.

The vessel which cost $84 million to build is capable of facilitating the execution of diverse operations in the oil and gas industry in the area of maintenance work and laying of pipelines.

The acquisition brings to two, the number of such highly technical vessels in the kitty of Marine Platforms.

Taofik Adegbite, chief executive officer of the company, in an exclusive chat with BusinessDay, said the acquisition was a testament to the Nigerian content act, adding that the company would not have bought the vessel if it did not have confidence in the Nigerian Content Act.

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According to Adegbite, the acquisition had provided opportunities to Nigerians that were deployed to Norway to participate in the building of the vessel to acquire some level of technical skills which in turn would impact on others within the industry.

“Having this vessel is an attestation to the fact that the Nigerian economy has come of age. This is an investment of over $100million and it is a combination of local and foreign inputs.”

He said that ‘Marine Platforms’ was already building material capacities and saving the country a lot of foreign exchange.  “If you operate in the maritime industry   and your vessel is owned by foreign partners, they would not empathise with your situation. They would not develop your own people as they would bring their own people because they equally have rules governing them. This is an opportunity for massive employment for Nigerians in the maritime industry,” he said.

According to him, while the construction of the vessel was going on, “Nigerians were taken to Norway so that they can learn from the scratch. So that when they come back to Nigeria, they would have had good experiences about the vessel. They have seen the ship when it was ordinary metal. So when it comes to the Nigerian waters, it would have been demystified.

“We have Nigerians that are engineers and we hope to train them over a period of ten years so that they can be chief engineers and the ones on the deck would become captains”.

Speaking on the multiplier effect of the vessel, he said: “if you look at the multiplier effect, a vessel has a lot of supply base and we have series of Nigerian companies attached to this vessel. This single vessel would provide hundreds of jobs. And from the pump maintenance company to the food supplier companies, you realise that it has a great multiplier effect.”

The effort, he said, had also helped in the  economy, in the sense that Nigerian banks are actively involved , as they are able to retain money that hitherto was retained by western banks, which put further strains on  the country’s foreign reserves.

The insurance policy of the vessel, he explained, was also handled by local insurance companies, which is another achievement for Nigerians. “You cannot over emphasise the multiplier effect and the value creation of the ship.”

The Marine platforms boss, however, wanted the government to create an environment that would make the import duty regime more favourable to indigenous companies, saying that it was not fair that foreign vessels were subjected to temporary import permit, while local ownership attracts full duty payment of 10 percent.

OLUSOLA BELLO