The domestication of pigging manufacturing in Nigeria has been described as an affirmation of the benefits of the Nigerian Content Act. According to Geoff Onuoha, managing director and chief executive of Pipeline Pigs and Accessories LTD (PPA) bringing the PIGS manufacturing know-how to Nigeria benefits our economy, industry and society in several ways.
Speaking during the commissioning of PPA factory in Owerri, Imo state, Onuoha said that “every product manufactured locally helps to give job to some Nigerians, directly and indirectly. The indirect work includes support services such as security, transportation, sales, importation processing, mold manufacturing”.
He said that when PPA commenced, all product designs and development was done abroad but today, Nigerian engineers have developed the confidence to conceptualise, design and manufacture quality products. “They are empowered to think up better and smarter ways of accomplishing challenging tasks and to develop machines for such tasks. And when they seek help from outside, they bring ideas to the table and no longer expect to have all the thinking done for them”, he added.
Pipeline pigs are devices that are inserted into and travel the length of a pipeline driven by a product flow. They were originally developed to remove deposits which could obstruct or retard flow through pipeline.
One of the key benefits that is coming with the commissioning of PPA is that pipeline infrastructure will now be better maintained as maintenance materials will be readily available unlike before when non-availability of pigging products used to delay major maintenance projects. As a result, Nigerian pipeline networks will last longer and serve Nigeria better.
PPA engineers have worked with some local machine designers notably, those based in Aba, Abia State to design and produce some machines that are currently used in the factory. This is great support and major testament to the potential of made-in-Nigeria machinery for manufacturing applications.
Onuoha also said that the success of PPA will encourage people in other segments of the oil industry to start considering how to go beyond services to the manufacturing of some of the products they use in their services, and that these small steps would someday add up and lead to the development of a viable manufacturing industry.
PPA expresses its appreciation to the governmental agencies and regulators in the oil sector; Nigerian Content Development and Management Board (NCDMB), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Nigerian Petroleum Exchange (NipeX), and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for their support over the years. The company also recognizes the support of the US Commercial Services in Lagos in promoting the relationship between PPA and its US partners.
PPA, a subsidiary of B.G. Technical Ltd (BGT) was established in 2002. By 2003, a Memorandum of Partnership was executed between BGT and Knapp Pollypigs Inc of USA for the establishment of a Joint Venture facility for local manufacturing of Pigging products. This initiative coincided with the rise in awareness and push for what was then known as ‘local Content’ input in the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry.
The factory was originally intended to be located within the free zone in Onne, near Port Harcourt to make the subsequent export of products outside Nigeria easy and profitable. However, it became obvious that the reverse was more likely to be the case due to the high cost regime that exists within the free zone and the potential for disruptions of activities by third party individuals around the area. As a result, it was decided to locate the facility away from potential community disruptions and also to focus on satisfying the needs of the local market before pursuing export potentials.