The falling oil price remains the biggest challenge to Nigeria’s prospects and its leading players like Nigerdock. Uncertainty has already led to some job losses across the industry which is battling one of its biggest ever pricing downturns.
The heartbeat of the Nigerian economy is the coastal enterprise zone of Snake Island where Nigerdock is prominent. The shipbuilding, fabrication and training specialist recently launched the Sonam wellhead platform – the biggest ever topside created in the country at 2,700 tons.
But the launch celebration was also a time for some tough talking as leading business figures and politicians gathered to mark the event.
At the sail and load out ceremony, Denzil Kentebe, executive secretary of the Nigerian content and development monitoring board, said it was imperative that industry stakeholders held firm to sustain jobs and capacity.
While praising Nigerdock in fabricating the topside the executive secretary said: “While we celebrate these feats, we are mindful of the current economic environment, lull in business and threat to these capacities.”
The executive secretary said the company had recorded many landmarks on several projects, including modules fabricated on USAN and Ofon for Total, Abang and Itut topsides for ExxonMobil and Meren and Sonam top-sides for Chevron.
“The capacity has not only been sustained but increased over time. Thousands of Nigerians have continued to be employed and trained. Nigerian suppliers have also been built up on the back of these projects and activities.”
But there have been severe warning about the challenges ahead and rumours that oil companies could sack 18,500 workers.
And even the chairman of Nigerdock Plc and the Jagal Group, Mr. Anwar Jamarkani, at the ceremony bemoaned the slowing of orders. The chairman, said, “Over the years, we have invested millions of man hours in the training capacity, professional skills development and welfare of our workforce. But we need to do more. We are, therefore, concerned that projects that were originally scheduled for commencement are now being shelved to the detriment of companies like ours.
“With no new projects on the horizon, companies may be forced to shut down and workers sent home. It is not our intention to send any more of our workers home,” he said.
The chief executive officer, Shoreline Group, a Nigerian oil producer, Mr. Kola Karim, said recently that the firm planned to cut 35% or 700 of its 2,000 staff.
However, it is not all doom and gloom. The excellence of Nigerdock and its facilities around Snake Island are still cause for considerable pride. More than $1bn is being poured into the area, one of the most important industrial sites in Africa.
The zone was established more than ten years ago to promote Nigeria’s emerging markets and has been strongly supported by investment from oil companies.
At the heart of this enterprise hub is Nigerdock with its four operating divisions of offshore fabrication, pressure vessels, the shipyard and world-class training centre.
Nigerdock’s Shipyard Division is the largest facility of its kind in West Africa with an outstanding history in the marine industry. It is specialised in the fields of ship building, repair, maintenance and refurbishment. It has a 25,000DWT graving dry dock, a 5,000DWT floating dock, quayside facilities and weather proof multipurpose workshops. It has constructed over 30 passenger steel hull ferries, aluminium pilot boats, tugs, barges and has repaired over 600 vessels.
But it also has plans for more complex operations such as rig refurbishment and building larger vessels at its Shipyard Division.
The shipyard management offers a high level of service and a world-class training facility focused on the areas of welding, pipefitting, plating and machining, rigging, safety, quality and first aid. It has the ability to train and test Welders in all processes, in all positions and to any Client’s requirements whilst certifying to Lloyds, ABS and DNV standards.
Nigerdock has an aggressive investment program into new plant, equipment and technologies. It is also committed to the training of its workforce and the constant improvement of its systems and procedures.
Nigerdock’s Offshore Fabrication Division specialises in the construction of topside modules, subsea manifolds, jackets, wellheads, satellites, process platforms, process piping, buoys, piles yokes, and double joints. It also performs offshore installations of pipe spools, supports, platforms and heat shielding including pipe coating and the other complex installations.
The Nigerdock Training School trains the Offshore welders, grinders, fitters, blasters, painters, scaffolders and riggers to the highest level.
Snake Island Logistics is a major new development that serves as a support centre for offshore oil and gas projects. It is situated at Snake Island Integrated Free Zone and some of the services it offers include logistics and materials handling, storage and shipping as well as aviation and marine services. The company is also developing a subsea technology and service park including facilities to host integrated project teams.
Snake Island is 14 kilometres in length and 1.4 kilometres wide and is located opposite Tin Can Island Port, Apapa and has immediate access to the open sea.
Snake Island Integrated Free Zone (SIIFZ) occupies 250 hectares of land covering approximately 4 kilometres of Snake Island shore line which is owned by Nigerdock. It was established in 2005 when approval was given for 250 hectares of land to be developed.
Chairman Mr Anwar Jarmakani says that in the last three years, Snake Island has attracted direct investment to the tune of over $230m.
“The aim is to bring together in one location, facilities and companies that can help achieve the vision of increasing Nigerian content in the oil and gas sector. A further goal of the zone is to serve as a major hub for improving capacity and capabilities within the country to world class standards. The ultimate vision which is what is captured in our DISC concept is to establish global competitiveness and ensure that Nigeria becomes a major source of supply across West Africa,” he explained.
He stated that despite daunting and enormous challenges, SIIFZ is consistently achieving its goals.
According to him, SIIFZ has developed a world class shipyard and for the first time attracted non-Nigerian vessels into its quays for services including carrying out technical repairs and maintenance works not previously done in Nigeria.
Sonam wellhead project
To improve supply and support government’s effort to reduce gas flaring, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, and Chevron Nigeria Limited, announced the completion and load-out of the topside module of the SONAM Non-Associated Gas Wellhead Platform project.
The initiative will enable the delivery of up to 420m cubic feet per day of gas from SONAM to the Escravos Gas Plant.
Chevron’s director of business services, Mr Emmanuel Imafidon, said: “The module was delivered as part of the domestic supply obligation.”
This also included construction training for 160 trainees in fields ranging from welding, fitting, and scaffolding.
He also recalled that less than 36 months after the steel cutting, the project is ready for load out, adding that through partnership with Nigerdock and Hyundai Heavy Industries, the venture partners recorded a safety achievement of over 2.8m cumulative man-hours on the project.
The 2,700 ton Sonam Non-Associated Gas Wellhead Platform (Sonam NWP) was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in partnership with Nigerdock in Lagos for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL).
Mr Jamarkani said the platform has a height of 28 metres, width of 40 metres and a length of 50 metres, making it the largest topside module ever built in Nigeria. Because of the volume of gas the platform will produce, he said the project is a major milestone as it will provide feedstock for the much needed power generation.
He said: “The project will boost power generation ability and provide the much needed power for Nigeria’s domestic and industrial needs. It will significantly eliminate gas flaring from the project in fulfillment of government’s gas flaring policy, and attract gas investment opportunities thereby boosting this administration’s effort to diversify the economy from dependence on crude oil proceeds.
“The DSO project is a major milestone in government and industry’s quest towards achieving increased local content in the nation’s oil and gas sector. In the course of the project, Nigerdock recorded several remarkable achievements leveraging Nigerian human and material resources, and maintaining its commitment to investment in equipment, infrastructure and technology.
“We are truly humbled to play a part in such landmark achievements which will no doubt have a transformative effect on our country. However, we believe we can do much more and raise the bar.”