NCDMB Extolled for Firming Up Local Content Practice in Nigeria
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has been commended for building the capacity of Nigerian companies and facilitating collaborations between local players and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
Chief executive of an indigenous oil services firm, Kenyon International West Africa Limited Mr. Victor Ekpenyong, said that prior to the Nigerian Content Act 2021, the OEMs dominated the scene and enjoyed monopoly on oil and gas projects that Nigerians had the potential to execute but were marred by challenges.
Ekpenyong who is also a member of International Well Control Forum, pointed out that the NCDMB has been assisting Nigerian firms overcome the challenges they faced in the industry and listed the $500 million Nigerian Content Intervention Fund as a boost to local capacity in oil and gas sector.
“In the past, many companies were having difficulties and challenging experiences in the industry, but the arrival of the NCMBD under the charge of Engr Simbi Wabote, the gospel of local content firmed up and Nigerian participants started getting the benefit of the Act providing for local content,” he said.
On the over 10 years of operating under the Nigerian Content Act 2010, Ekpenyong noted that the law enabled Nigerians in the oil and gas space to be in business as it reserves categories of jobs for them.
“Prior to the implementation, the operations we do now would not have been possible for an indigenous company. It would simply be the exclusive reserve of the OEMs.
“These days, OEMs partner with indigenous companies, which enables these companies to develop their capacity. It also has made some Nigerians in the Diaspora move to Nigeria knowing full well that their expertise would be well utilized.
“Without a doubt, the implementation of this act has been a vehicle for talent development in the country. We are very excited we have been given the privilege to establish businesses. I would say it is a win-win situation. There are some jobs we still partner with OEMs to deliver. It has been an inclusive venture where we work together,” he said.
According to him, his company Kenyon International West Africa Limited, has invested 100% local manpower and expertise to contain the oil and gas leak from a wellhead blowout at Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration in Nembe, Bayelsa.
The Santa Babra South Well 1, which blew out on Nov.5, 2021 discharged thousands of barrels of Bonny Light crude blend into the Santa Babra River for 32 days, out of which some 18,600 barrels of emulsified crude and water sediments were recovered.
Aiteo had approached Boots and Coots, a subsidiary of United States Halliburton to plug the well but the firm was unable to mobilize its expatriate workforce due to the COVID-19 restrictions and hiccups which compelled the operator to look inwards.
Ekpenyong, appealed to oil firms operating in the company to give opportunities to Nigerian companies as they have developed competencies to match their foreign counterparts.
“Equally, COVID19 affected a lot of businesses, and some businesses are not able to meet up with orders. On the other hand, some companies have been showcasing their services at Nigerian oil and gas conferences without getting the desired patronage,” Ekpenyong said.
An alumnus of Federal University Owerri, Ekpenyong noted that there was available Nigerian technical expertise drilling services which encompasses piling, cold cutting and supply and installation of well head casing, adding that patronizing Nigerian firms creates more jobs and checks capital flight.