By Kunle Kalejaye
One of the objectives of the Nigerian Content Development Act, is to encourage Nigerians to participate fully in the oil and gas sector by way of contracts award, operation of oil marginal fields and use of local equipment and man power in the oil and gas sector.
Ten years ago, an indigenous oil firm took a stride to participate fully in the oil and gas industry by putting together a team of high grade professionals in the sector to establish Platform Petroleum Limited in 2002.
Speaking at the 10th anniversary of the company, Chairman, board of directors, Prof. Adegoke Sylvester, noted that despite the progress made so far, the company still had a long way to go. In his words “our goal is to become one of Nigeria’s leading, fully indigenous oil company. We shall try harder to enlarge our portfolio and bring all unfinished businesses to successful completion in the shortest possible time.”
Looking back, Adegoke recalled how 15 professionals in the oil industry were carefully selected from all parts of Nigeria, headed by Austin Avuru.
He said the new group chose for itself the prophetic name, Platform Petroleum in the hope that the group’s effort to secure a marginal field will be nothing more than a platform to launch into higher arena.
However, in 2003, Platform won the Egbeoma Field (Asuopku/Umutu) Field, and went on to be the first marginal filed operator to secure a financial partner locally, the first to attain first oil, the first to initiate plans to attain total compliance with the Federal Government flare out policy through the establishment of the Umutu Gas Plant.
Platform recorded another milestone in 2010, when another company Sheba, midwife the first divestment programme of Shell that gave birth to Seplat Petroleum Development Company, with Maurel and Prom as financial partner. With the combined production from Seplat and Platform, Adegoke said, “we should be one of the leading totally indigenous operators in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.”
He stressed that rather than have rancour, the board members have displayed a rare level of maturity and level headedness that has enabled the management to focus on timely delivery of strategic growth goals.
According to him, “We have also done well in our relationship with our host communities, a feat that has ensured that our plants work without down time and our safety record is quite impressive.”