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Content development: Kaztec to acquire three more vessels

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By Clara NWACHUKWU

Indigenous oil and gas service company, kaztec Engineering Limited, said it has concluded plans to acquire additional three new vessels, which are expected to sail into the country before year end.

The new acquisition will bring to seven the total number of vessels under the company’s fleet, thus making it the single largest indigenous fleet owner in the country.

It would be recalled that Kaztec, a member of the Chrome Group, recently procured two new anchor vessels for onshore, offshore and deep water oil and gas services. The anchor vessels are valued at about $500million, and reputed to be among the best in the industry.

Speaking, the Executive Chairman of the Chrome Group, Sir Emeka Offor, said the three new vessels are expected to cover the entire spectrum of marine services in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

With these investments, kaztec Engineering, can now fully operate in Category 2 marine services, which boosts of only a few indigenous operators.

To encourage more participation in the maritime sector, particularly in vessel ownership, the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, has constantly urged indigenous operators to invest more in marine services, especially vessel acquisition to stem huge capital flight from the economy estimated in excess of $1.8billion annually.

It would be recalled that the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Ernest Nwapa, earlier in February, disclosed that International Oil Companies, IOCs, operating in Nigeria will in June, hire 40 indigenous owned vessels to replace contracted foreign owned vessels, thereby retaining $1.8bn in the Nigerian economy.

Nwapa had noted that the marine vessels and rig ownership strategies adopted by the Board were yielding positive results, adding that the IOCs were committed to replacing the foreign vessels, which the Board had defined as Category 2 Vessels.

Before the pronouncement, Kaztec Engineering had already purchased a number of vessels, including Anchor Handling Tugs (AHT), Dynamic Positioning Platform Supply Vessels (DP PSV), and Line Handling Tugs (LHT), to serve various marine purposes.

Offor explained that the anchor vessels, christened Ekulo Explorer and Ekulo Spirit, “are utility vessels used for numerous purposes and can be used to store materials, pipes and other drilling materials for both onshore and offshore services.”

He said the Explorer has a capacity of 6,000 horsepower, while the Spirit is about 4,4000HP, adding that these vessels can transport barges as well as other materials such as pipes, run anchors and move vessels around the fields.

Also speaking, the Safety Manager for Kaztec, Mr. Kingsley Eke, who maintained that “Kaztec Engineering is the only indigenous company with such a capacity in the country,” also explained that “the two anchor tugs have a boiler capacity of about 60,000, which enables them to pull heavy weight items, and carry barges of up to 800,000 tonnes.”

He further added that the vessels are multi-purpose vessels that can work in shallow water of below 5 meters and deep water of up to 40 meters.”

To consolidate on the new investments, Offor said that Kaztec has also acquired a base and a warehouse for the parking of the vessels in Calabar, Cross River State, for the maintenance of vessels, which is manned by well-trained Nigerian technicians.

Acknowledging the efforts of the NCDMB, the chairman noted that foreign owned vessels and rig operators had hitherto, dominated the sector, leading to capital flight in excess of $3bn before the Nigerian Content Act came into force.

He argued that the law will inspire economic growth and industrial development in the country, especially with regard to employment generation and manpower development as well as cause a reversal to the “brain drain” syndrome amongst Nigerians in the Diaspora.

These, he said will boost the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, in view of the spiral economic activities that are generated.

Against this backdrop, Offor said that Kaztec Engineering is fully committed to the ideals of the Nigerian content policy, noting that 67 percent of its workers are Nigerians, while all the suppliers and food vendors aboard the vessels are also Nigerians.

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