BY YEMI ADEOYE
MORE than 160 Nigerian and Chinese companies met in Abuja recently to explore business opportunities in the oil and gas industry.
The one day summit, sponsored by The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) operated Joint Venture involved more than 30 visiting delegations from companies such as China National Oil Corporation and China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, who discussed with Nigerian vendors and contractors areas such as skills acquisition, partnerships and execution of oil and gas projects.
“SPDC has continued to demonstrate its support for Nigerian content development,” said Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board. “This is an example that we wish to see duplicated across the Nigerian oil and gas industry.”
Commenting on the Nigerian Content Act, Engr. Nwapa said the legislation would help to streamline activities and ensure that more indigenous companies provided more services and executed major contracts.
The Group General Manager of NAPIMS, Mr. Morrison Fiddi, in a presentation made on his behalf, said the strengths of Nigeria included a free market economy, an abundant labour force, free flow of investment and tax incentives for foreign investors.
Another presentation by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council said: “Given the investment friendly disposition of Nigeria, there is no better time than now to invest in Africa’s most profitable economy.”
In his remarks, SPDC’s General Manager, Nigerian Content Development, Engr. Simbi Wabote, said: “We believe that Nigerian companies must link up with global players and learn best-practice and forge winning partnerships if they are to grow to take on major projects and meet the aims of the Nigerian Content Act.
China is the world’s second biggest economy, and can help Nigerian companies acquire skills and expertise, not to talk of capital.”
The visiting delegations, who were nominated and supported by the Shell Strategic Sourcing Development office in China, made presentations on their respective business areas, including onshore and offshore drilling rigs, fabrication of wellhead equipment, FPSO, pipeline technology, valve manufacturing and project management.
Representatives of Bank of Industry, Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) and the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) also attended the summit.
A participant, the Managing Director of Port Harcourt-based Fiddil Nigeria Limited, Mr. Joel Odili said: “This is a good opportunity to break new grounds.
The meeting saves us money and travel time and gives us an entry Limited of China has already emerged and an agreement signed between the two companies. More partnerships are expected to follow.
Early this year, SPDC organised a series of vendor development sessions in Port Harcourt for nearly 300 Niger Delta-based contractors. Every year, SPDC awards contracts worth billions of Naira to Nigerian companies and community contractors.
For example, all dredging projects in SPDC operations are now reserved exclusively for Nigerian contractors, 60% of whom are from the Niger Delta. SPDC also promotes the use of locally manufactured goods and Nigerian service companies in production operations, projects and well engineering.