By Yemie Adeoye & Daniel Alfred
ABUJA – The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) on Friday signed an agreement for the development of the second phase of the Federal Polytechnic of Oil and Gas, in Ekowe, Bayelsa State , as part of its intervention in manpower development for the oil and gas industry.
The Executive Secretary of the PTDF, Alhaji Muttaqua Rabe Darma, explained during the signing ceremony in Abuja , that the agreement was in line with the decision by the Federal Executive Council to begin massive infrastructural development of the Niger Delta region as a consequence of the post amnesty implementation programme.
He noted that the upgrading of the institution would ensure greater specialization in the teaching and study of petroleum, oil and environmental technologies, which would empower youths with technical skills required for placement in the oil and gas industry.
He said, â€œThe PTDF being a major player in the Federal Governmentâ€™s post amnesty committee provides the requisite skills to those who are not skillful in the oil and gas operations while upskilling those with requisite background and knowledge of the industry.â€
Darma added that the Fundâ€™s involvement in the development of the Polytechnic was sequel to a stakeholdersâ€™ forum on the Niger Delta in 2006, in which the Fund was mandated to intervene in the provision of necessary infrastructural facilities for the institution.
â€œPTDF thereafter in 2007, commenced the first phase of the development with the award of 18 contracts for the construction of new department buildings, lecture halls, laboratory, workshop, hostels, library, administration blocks and auxiliary facilities, and the rehabilitation of some existing structures,â€ he stated.
He noted that, unfortunately, although the contracts had delivery periods of between 16 and 30 weeks, execution of most of the project lots had not progressed beyond 2% to 20% in November, 2008.
â€œThis is in spite of over N200 million paid to the contractors as advance payments backed by bank guarantees, Darma explained.
The PTDF boss further noted that in March 2009, the Fund revoked the non_performing contracts in the first phase of the development of the Federal Polytechnic of Oil and Gas, Ekowe, while the contractors were compelled to make some refunds to the Fund.
â€œWe also ensured that all disputes arising from the revocations were resolved to pave way for the restructuring of the project implementation strategy.
â€œIn this regard, PTDF has consolidated the uncompleted projects in the first phase with additional works into the second and final phase of the development of the polytechnic into a world class facility for the first class training of students in oil and gas related disciplines.â€
He, therefore, explained that the contract for the second phase had been grouped into three lots made up of general building works (N7.5 billion), civil works (N5 billion), and electrical and mechanical services (N2.1 billion).
He said that three reputable contractors have also been awarded the contracts for the various lots, adding that these contractors are local with adequate knowledge of the area and well experienced to handle these projects.