BY GODFREY BIVBERE
Lagos area will be receiving 140 offshore rigs for deep offshore logistics operations to further boost the nationâ€™sÂ fledgling oil and gas industry, a reportÂ presented at this yearâ€™s annual International Conference on Nigeria Oil and Gas 2010Â has said.
The potentials of the zone for such specialized services are already manifestingÂ in the successesÂ Â recorded through the Bonga and Agbami fields, stated the report issued by the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL).
The conference report, presented by the managing director/chief executive officer of Lagos Free Zone (LFZ), Mr. Andre Van Niekerk, noted that the new built market for oil and gas at the Lagos axis has a bright future for the area, leading to the expectedÂ number of rigs ordered inÂ December 2008 for delivery within a time frame of three to four years.
The LFZ boss said that the ample opportunities presented through the existence of over 15 blocks in the deep water at the Lagos areaÂ may complement the avalanche ofÂ on-going activities in the Niger Delta region.
Alluding to the economic slow-down which characterized 2009 owing to the credit tightness occasioned by the reforms in the banking sector, the report pointed outÂ that many of such projects were unavoidably deferred. Accordingly, the key market for new vessels from 2010 are West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea, with Lagos-Nigeria serving as the arrow head that will pose challenge to Angola which is currently favoured by itsÂ ease of investment/approval climate.
Analysing the potentials of Lagos serving as the emerging hub for oil and gas production and exploration in the sub-region, the report statedÂ that the area currently operates two of the leading seaports in the country with a fledgling edge for 24-hours operations, in addition toÂ a short distance from open sea (fairway buoy) to port.
Also worthy of note is the appreciable depth of over 14 meters obtainable at the ports devoid of tide restriction, a good network of international airport, an avalanche of numerous free zones, coupled with the cosmopolitan nature ofÂ Lagos with good hotels, schools and allied recreational facilities.
Others are easy access to Nigeriaâ€™s pre-eminent commercial and industrial centre with a substantial pool of skilled, semi- skilled and casual labour as manpower support for the deep offshore operations. To this end, the report pointed out that oil and gas related projects,Â which can equally be supported from the Lagos base, includeÂ exploration well drilling, appraisal well drilling, production well drilling, sub-sea and other installation projects, offshore projects already in production as well as fabrication for oil and gas projects.
â€œIn addition, other related industries can establish themselves in Lagos such as oil fields service companies (operating in logging, cementing and drilling fluid services), pipe manufacturing and spool bases, pipe coating, repairs and value add, ship repairs/dry docking, engineering shops, diving companies, helicopter operations and other various related manufacturing of paints and coatingsâ€,Â it added.
The reportÂ noted that the choice of Lagos for oil and gas logistics services will afford the operators the needed significant cost savings for choosing an offshore support base that is close to them. It statedÂ that such cost savings will come to the fore in the areas of cost of rigs drilling per day, cost of support vessels, cost of helicopterÂ flights, costs of personnel movement and accommodation, to mention a few. Operating within a free zone (LFZ), LADOL is an international ships and ports (ISPS) status certified organization and endorsed by Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and NAPIMS.