The implementation of the Nigerian Content Act in the oil and gas industry has recorded another milestone as an indigenous oil servicing company, PEM Offshore Limited began to test-run its Offshore Simulation and Innovation Centre (POSAIC) in Lagos, said to be the first of its kind in West Africa.
The first phase has been set up and when other facilities are put in place, the centre is expected to have a full suite of offshore anchor handling simulation equipment, dynamic positioning, power management and crane simulation systems and support the training of local and foreign offshore personnel involved in the oil and gas operations.
It will also meet the growing demand for highly competent and qualified personnel for the highly sophisticated and safety driven industry.
Speaking at the recent opening of the centre, Senior Vice-President, PEM Offshore Group, Mr. Philips Eze Matthew commended the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) for stimulating investment in marine crew training facilities through the marine vessel utilisation scheme.
He also acknowledged the financing arrangement put in place by the Board under the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) model, which provides 30 per cent guarantee on loans accessed and 50per cent interest rate rebate and elongated tenure for loan facilities.
Speaking on the operations of POSAIC, Matthew explained that the company entered into an agreement with Kongsberg Maritime-the original equipment manufacturer for the supply and technical support of the simulation centre.
“PEM Offshore has secured a five-year commitment from Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) and Agip Energy to utilise POSAIC facility in actualising CNL and Agip annual scholarship award programme to train Nigerian seafarers.
The CNL and Agip programme is expected to commit an annual sum of $200,000 that will amount to $1,000,000 within the first five years,” he said.
He revealed that the company was also in talks with several other international oil companies, drilling firms and the Nigerian Navy, adding that he was confident that these organisations would patronise the company to reduce capital flight, sustain the local training facility and stimulate more investment in establishment of training centres of excellence.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, of NCDMB, Mr. Ernest Nwapa lauded PEM Offshore for bringing the project to fruition, despite the challenges it experienced while accessing funding from Nigerian financial institutions.
He noted that such investments by Nigerian companies have removed doubts about the capacity of Nigerians to own and operate key assets in the oil and gas industry.
Nwapa said indigenous ownership of key assets was the best guarantee that the implementation of the Nigerian Content policy would endure, adding that when Nigerians own assets, they would insist that provisions of the Act must be implemented with regards to domiciliation of industry work.
On his part, the General Manager, Nigerian Content, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr. Raymond Wilcox disclosed that Chevron supported the initiative from the onset because of its total commitment to Nigerian Content agenda.
He assured that Chevron would rally round other international operating companies in ensuring that the facility operates optimally as the preferred center for training seafarers.
Raymond further thanked NCDMB for showing the way and encouraging Chevron to invest in critical capacity development initiatives that will deepen capabilities of the local supply chain.
Curled from This Day Newspaper