Solewant Group Opens Africa’s Largest Pipe Coating Plant for Business
…As NCDMB seek Patronage for the $15 million Pipe/ Metal Coating Plant
By Margaret Nongo-Okojokwu
Friday, November 25, 2016, witnessed the official commissioning of Solewant Group’s Multi-Layer pipe coating plant which held at the company’s pipe coating, storage and preservation centre, at Alode-Eleme, Rivers State, by His Excellency, The Executive Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, The Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote, NNPC, IOCs and other Captains of the Oil and Gas industry.
Amidst falling oil price, continuous reduction in revenue, adversely rising cost of getting foreign services, and the ultimate one – the recession, indigenous operators like Solewant Nigeria Limited are insisting that building local capacity in the country is the way forward. With the commissioning of its pipe/metals coating facility in Port Harcourt, the country will be able to retain over N50 billion that would have been spent to get foreign services, thereby boosting local content and developing in-country capacity for the sector.
Speaking at the event, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, assured of his administration’s commitment to make the state an investor friendly environment, adding that the state government has been supporting oil and gas investment as part of efforts to attract interested companies. He noted that his administration is committed to pursuing with great vigour; concerted efforts aimed at improving the lives of the people and create jobs.
Wike who was represented by the Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Chukwu Shedrack, explained that the state is peaceful and safe for investments, while calling on youths of Alode-Eleme-Onne community to shun violence and embrace peace, “presently, the state government has extended the olive branch to cult groups in the state in order for them to shun violence.
He expressed confidence that the project was conceptualised to save pipeline owners and provide jobs for the youths that are unemployed in the state, adding that the investment is an assurance that private investors can invest in the state.
In the same vein, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, (NCDMB), Egnr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote has charged International Oil Companies (IOCs), the Nigerian independents and National Oil Companies to patronise the $15 million facility rated as the largest coating plant in Africa in order to develop local capacity and reduce costs of projects in the oil and gas industry.
The Executive Secretary, said the inauguration of the plant was a landmark in the annals of the local content drive under the Nigerian Oil and Gas Development Content Development ( NOGICD) Act as the facility offers multi-layered high technology coating solution with awesome capacities like high speed coating, wide diameter coverage, remote maintenance capability, 3 LPE, 3 LPP and 5 LPP coating system, single and double layer fusion bonded epoxy anti-corrosion coating system and the capacity to coat all pipeline sizes from 3inch – 56inch to the oil and gas industry at a time that operators and the other stakeholders are in dire need of innovative and efficient pipe coating systems to mitigate the high incidence of pipeline failures due to ageing, corrosion, mechanical defects, pressure surges, and stress and third party intrusions.
Wabote argued that most of the pipelines in Nigeria need outright replacement or more innovative coating solutions to enhance their integrity and prolong their design lifespan, adding that most of them were installed either in the 1960s or 1970s even though the lifespan of a pipeline by gas and oil pipeline standard (GOST) in Nigeria is 33 years.
He explained that the nation’s pipelines are part of the critical national asset and requires coating to prevent corrosion.
“Corrosion prevention is a way to guarantee smooth and uninterrupted flow of oil and gas to the locations, where they get exchanged for money. Coating saves billions of dollars spent on corrosion control and management,” he said.
“We would like to see more plants spring up in Nigeria to manufacture or assemble vital oil and gas equipment components in Nigeria. This is the very essence of the local Content Law. It will be very fulfilling see to the commissioning of other plants like this very one because this is the only way we can help government at various levels to create jobs to tackle the acute youth unemployment in the country,” he explained.
Chairman of Solewant Nigeria Limited, Prof. Sylvanus Ebohon, cited backward integration as one of the solutions to the challenges facing the nation in the oil and gas sector, adding that if the nation aspires to drive excellence, there is need to prove value addition in gas project.
He explained that the inauguration is a crystallization of the immense support of the Hon. Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, who encouraged the company to be a key player in the oil and gas sector with its latest technology in pipe coating engineering.
Ebohon stressed that the desire of the company to take a leadership role in the critical aspect of high-grade pipe coating of international standard which it started in 2004, adding that the concept was given life with technical collaboration with Kema Coating of Canada; therefore the drive for excellence has been deliberate.
He added: “This plant is the product of the Local content philosophy of the Federal Government and the new driving principle in the Oil and Gas Sector. We intend to prove that value – addition in the well-being of our economy is a task that must be done through this world – class project. We, therefore, invite the international oil companies and other construction firms to take advantage of the unique and world-class technology that Solewant Pipe Coating Plant offers the Nigerian industrial environment.”
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Solewant Nigeria Limited, Mr. Solomon Ewanehi disclosed that over $15million was spent on the coating plant.
According to him, the facility is situated on a wide expansive land of 7,000 acres of land of over 7000 square metres and storage area of 132,000 square meters of space. He added that the plant is capable of engaging 500 to 1,200 employees on operation to reduce unemployment in the Niger Delta.
He expressed his appreciation to the leadership of Alode Community, where the plant is located, for ensuring peace and cordial relationship with the company.
He called for the support of the company by youths of the host community so that the company will help to reduce the cost of pipeline coating at a time that the industry is faced with the challenge of operators going to China, India and several other parts of the world to bring in coated pipes.
“As I speak with you right now, several hundreds of kilometers of pipes are still being coated outside the shores of Nigeria, making the value of the Dollar to be a challenge to Nigerian economy,” Ewanehi said.
“We are trying to use this plant as a pilot scheme to be able to ensure that there is transfer of technology. It is also to ensure that local content is not increasing cost but decreasing cost because there will be job availability and these foreign companies will be able to transfer technology to the country.”
The Chairman, Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria ( PETAN) Mr Bank- Anthony Okoroafor said that the completion of the largest coating plant had provided another good example that indigenous companies will do better if given the opportunity to handle projects being executed outside Nigeria. “This project is another testimony that PETAN members are committed to development and innovations that will help to domesticate projects needed to firm up the value of Nigeria’s currency,” he said.
The Head, Regional Business South Directorate of Diamond Bank Mr Chris Ofikulu who represented the Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc, Uzoma Dozie, commended the management of Solewant for utilising the fund approved and released by the bank solely for executing the coating plant project. “The company complied with all rules of our bank which will further encourage the management to do more for the Solewant Group and other firms in the oil and gas industry since the management believes in promoting genuine business of investors in the sector,” he assured