Over 20,000 ships working in Nigerian oil and gas rely on Ghana and Equatorial Guinea for dry docking
ver N889 billion ($2.22 billion) has been spent on crew boats, security vessels, diving support vessels and fast supply intervention vessels in Nigeria.
The amount is the 73 per cent of $3.045 billion spent on the oil sector on marine vessels between 2014 and 2018.
According to Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), over 20,000 ships arre working for the oil and gas sector in the nation’s waters, adding that the annual spend was over $600 million in the upstream sector.
With the on-going local content policy, the Executive Secretary, Mr Simbi Wabote, said a shipyard project would be established in the country to halt capital flight.
He noted that the Brass Shipyard and other on-going efforts to catalyse manufacturing industry would help the board achieve the target of 70 per cent Nigerian Content by 2027.
He lamented that most of the vessels operating in the oil industry were taken to Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroun and other countries for dry docking as Nigeria’s local dry docks could not provide the required services.
Wabote explained that the shipyard project was driven by the NCDMB in conjunction with NLNG as a Capacity Development Initiative (CDI) on the back of the Train 7 Project.
He noted that Nigeria had a long coastline of 853 kilometers and navigable inland waterways of 3,000 kilometers, which offer immense potential for maritime sector development, noting that Brass coastline was very close to the Atlantic Ocean.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the Federal Government had begun the feasibility study for the construction of a shipyard on Brass Island in Bayelsa.
Also, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, confirmed that the feasibility study would cater for the maintenance and repair services of cargo vessels, oil tankers and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carriers.
The minister noted that the shipyard would be executed by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which had carried out similar projects across the globe and Nigeria.
He stressed that the feasibility study would be funded by the NCDMB as part of its overarching mandate to domicile key oil and gas industry infrastructure and increase retention of industry spend.
Sylva further explained that the scope of the feasibility study includes geotechnical and bathymetric surveys, conducting a market study, ascertaining an optimal construction scale, developing technical proposal, construction plan and estimation of the required investment to bring the project into reality.
The minister said that the high traffic of vessels in and out of the country provided huge opportunity to retain substantial value in-country through the provision of dry-dock services, adding that the shipyard project would further develop and harness the nation’s position in the oil and gas value chain and linkage to other sectors of the economy.
Also, the minister explained that the project would also benefit from the upcoming Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) implementation as Nigeria could serve as the hub for ship-building and repairs.
He expressed confidence that the outcome of the feasibility study and subsequent construction and operation of the shipyard would create employment opportunities and contribute to poverty reduction.