By Clara Nwachukwu
THE domestication of pigging manufacturing in Nigeria has been described as an affirmation of the benefits of the Nigerian Content Act, as B.G. Technical Limited, commissioned the first Pipeline, Pigs and Accessories, PPA, factory in Nigeria and West Africa.
Pipeline pigs are devices that are inserted into and travel the length of a pipeline driven by a product flow. They are meant to remove deposits which could obstruct or retard flow through pipeline.
Accordingly, the factory is expected to generate foreign exchange for Nigeria, at a time of downturn in oil prices, which is the mainstay of Nigerian economy, while also providing quality products for the maintenance of pipeline to prolong their life span and reduce cases of rupture and leakages.
Speaking during the commissioning of the PPA factory in Owerri, Imo state, the Managing Director/Chief Executive, Pipeline Pigs and Accessories, PPA LTD, a subsidiary of BGT, Mr. Geoff Onuoha, said Pigging manufacturing will benefit the economy, industry and society in many ways.
He said: “Every product manufactured locally helps to give job to some Nigerians, directly and indirectly. The indirect work includes support services such as security, transportation, sales, importation processing, mold manufacturing.”
He recalled that hitherto, all PPA product designs and development were done abroad, but today; Nigerian engineers have developed the confidence to conceptualise, design and manufacture quality products.
One of the key benefits that is coming with the commissioning of the PPA is that pipeline infrastructure will now be better maintained, as maintenance materials will be readily available unlike before when non-availability of pigging products used to delay major maintenance projects. As a result, Nigerian pipeline networks will last longer and serve Nigeria better.
PPA engineers have worked with some local machine designers, notably, those based in Aba, Abia State, to design and produce some machines that are currently used in the factory. This is great support and major testament to the potential of made-in-Nigeria machinery for manufacturing applications.
Onuoha also said the PPA will encourage people in other segments of the oil industry to go beyond services to the manufacturing of some of the products they use in their services, as these small steps would lead to the development of a viable manufacturing industry.
“It is about putting Nigerian intellect to work in the country. It is about local content, manufacturing and supporting industry with products that are made in Nigeria,” he said.
He expressed appreciation to industry regulators such as the Nigerian Content Development and Management Board, NCDMB; Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR;, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS; Nigerian Petroleum Exchange, NipeX; and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, for their support over the years.
He also recognised the support of the U.S. Commercial Services in Lagos, in promoting the relationship between PPA and its US partners. PPA was established in 2002 and by 2003; a Memorandum of Partnership was executed between BGT and Knapp Pollypigs Inc. of USA for the establishment of a Joint Venture facility for local manufacturing of pigging products.
The Executive Secretary, NCDMB, represented by the Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr Tunde Adelana, disclosed that the opening of the multi-billion Naira factory is another attestation to the fact that Nigerians can develop the required industry capability once the enabling environment is in place.
He said: “The opening of the factory is indeed worthy of celebration. Looking back at the years of pre-NOGICD Act, investors like B.G Technical would probably not be able to compete in the area of pigging services due to the preponderance of foreign goods and services.”
He argued that the Nigerian Oil and Gas Park Scheme, NOGAPS, will thrive if businesses like this keyed into the initiative which seeks to create a regional manufacturing hub in Nigeria.
The Chairman of Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria, PETAN, Mr. Bank-Anthony Okoroafor, said the opening of the factory owned by one of its members, is a plus for the Association, as frontliner in the push for domestication of technology in Nigerian oil and gas industry.
He said: “This is the only way Nigeria can grow her gross domestic product (GDP), preserve the foreign currency earnings and create jobs for the populace. It is an exciting time and PETAN will continue to dedicate time and resources needed to promote domesticate technology.”
The General Manager Nigerian Content, Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, Mr Chiedu Oba, commended B.G. Technical for establishing the factory with huge resources at a time of economic downturn.
“Producing products by BG Technical not only for Nigeria but for export shows that the implementation of the Nigerian Content Development Act is now a success story made possible through the support of Shell for indigenous companies,” he said.