The Chairman, Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) and Managing Director of CB Geophysical Solutions Ltd, Bank-Anthony Okoroafor has said about $200million, being part of the over $800million Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) should be utilised for capacity building in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

The PETAN chair, who gave the advice in an exclusive interview with THISDAY, weekend, specifically said the amount should be channelled towards the procurement of equipment for local companies in order to enhance their capacities.

The Fund was established by the Nigerian Content Act and is pooled from 1 per cent of all contracts awarded in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry for use in developing the supply chain and building local capacity in the industry.

Bank-Anthony, who is also the MD/CEO of Vhelbherg International Ltd said: “I expect the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to yearly bring out $200million to build the capacity of some selected companies. They should not give companies money, the equipment the companies need should be paid for and capacities built. They should also invest in our Polytechnics and Universities.

He said many Nigerian youths are intelligent, but what affects them is the standard of equipment they are being trained with. “Students in Nigeria can compete with students from any part of the world. Therefore, we should spend more on stepping up the game in terms of equipment and capacity building”, he asserted.

Furthermore he said: “A company that had only two sets of equipment, if it has up to four or five sets of equipment; it will be easier for it to work in many platforms at the same time. Then you have built the company’s capacity by financing the remaining sets of equipment not by giving them money, also, you have created a champion in that area.
“This creates a lot of employment opportunities because they will hire more sets of crews, but when you keep that money and it is not being used for anything, something is wrong.”

The PETAN helmsman admitted that the country’s infrastructure gap is huge, insisting that Nigeria’s 20,000 kilometers of pipeline is insufficient for a population of over 160million.

Okoroafor said: “Let me state here that Nigeria’s pipeline kilometre is only 20,000 kilometre, with a population of over 160 million. In the United Kingdom, the kilometre of pipeline is 700 with a population of 62 million; in the United States, the Kilometre is 1.5 million and the population is 310 million. What this implies is that our infrastructure gap is huge, we need a lot more pipelines, more gathering points, and this requires a lot investment.

“Government needs money to carry out these investments. As Nigerians, when we want to site projects, we need to site them optimally. When we site them optimally, access to resources will not have issues.

We must install gas plants where they would have access to gas, this is the way countries develop. If we have a power plant that goes to gas, the issue of supply going to that power plant has been solved.”

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