MGVOWGAS’s Efforts to Promote Nigerian Content

Chiemelie Ezeobi writes on how MGVOWGAS, a wholly indigenous Nigerian company in the oil and gas sector has been promoting the local content law, thus curbing capital flight The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of MGVOWGAS, Mr. Godwin Izomor, has demonstrated that he has a great passion for Nigeria’s local content law as evidenced in his company’s N4billion fabrication yard, undergoing construction at the area Woji/TranAmadi Waterfront of Port Harcourt.

Partnering Heritage Bank, the fabrication yard, when completed would take care of construction of pressure tanks, offshore and topside structures, modules, risers, barges, which are internationally accepted.

The oil and gas entrepreneur has graduated from building barges and has charted another frontier by venturing into fabrication and according to him, his company is a wholly owned Nigerian company, poised to play a significant role in the oil and gas as a limited liability company, to pursue the business of production support services.

With a mission to provide excellent services at affordable technical expertise and sustaining a development based network for the industry, Izomor said emphasis is placed on quality engineering and construction services, with flexibility to conform to owners's specific requirements on all competitive basis requirements, on all competitive basis.

Already, the company said due to the the high demand for barges in oil and gas industry used by oil services companies for the movement of materials to far offshore and swamp location, they have been actively involved in the fabrication of various tonnage of barge ranging from 400ton to 3000tons.

For MGVOWGAS, these barges, which are used in moving heavy machineries, rigs and consumables to locations not accessible by land, is often a work over for them as they have countless times achieved that.

Now, the company is currently using the Tecon WBB Jetty for its fabrication works situated at Woji creek , Oginigba village Trans Amadi layout Port Harcourt and their list of clientele includes Genaro limited, Hopkins Global Resources Limited, Multiple Energies Services and Siayo Associate Limited, amongst several others.

With barges like the 1500 tonnes for RB Monica, 400 tonnes each for DB EFE, DB RUTH and DB PETER, as well as 1000 tonnes each for RB ODIRI, RB JULIA and RB K-YOYO and an additional 800 tonnes for DB OMAMUZO, under their control, Izomor said nothing is beyond the achievable.

He said, "Building of barges, houseboats and tugboat are part of our construction jobs but what we are trying to do is to leave manual process to build those things. We are going even more sophisticated, using the best technology in the industry to build those things.

"Also, we are going to other more technical area of the oil and gas industry like spools, offshore structures and oil and gas modules."

He said, "Asides the 65 workers, we have four COREN engineers, then we have others. But we work more with mechanical than civil engineers but our job is more mechanical inclined.

"In Bayelsa we have almost over a 100 staff. We also have more casual workers. Where we are doing a pipeline for Agip, we have over a 100 casual workers."

Promoting local content

On promoting local content he said, "We support local content firstly by paying our one per cent in every contract to NCD. Another way which we have supported local content is by generating employment for local personnel and that is why our staff strength is 100 per cent local personnel. We don't have any foreign staff."

On how the content law has been able to boost his business he said, "The local content law is the best thing that has happened to Nigeria and the government has to improve on the standard such that any contract emanating from the oil and gas industry should be 100 per cent domiciled in Nigeria.

We have to grow to that level. The money should be domiciled in this country.

"This will contribute to the economic development in different measures. If they give contracts to some companies to build FPSOs, they will take the money to their country. They won't build it here and thus won't employ anybody here. The money will go to that country and the banks would be robbed of that money and if that money is domiciled here, the banks will have excess liquidity and it will spread to other sectors of the economy and increase the economy."

New venture

With all the company has achieved in the last few years, perhaps what would boost their image is the latest fabrication yard being constructed in Port Harcourt, the first of its kind in Nigeria for an individual. Occupying 56 plots of land, which is approximately eight hectares, the fabrication yard ensured the company constructed a 600 metre road to acess the site.

The N4billion fabrication yard, undergoing construction at the area Woji/TranAmadi Waterfront of Port Harcourt, will offer services likes specialised steel structural fabrication, construction and fabrication of specialised offbsore equipment.

Partnering Heritage Bank, the fabrication yard, when completed would take care of construction of pressure tanks, offshore and topside structures, modules, risers, barges, which are internationally accepted.

Also collaborating with CFE Engineering of Singapor, the fabrication yard is targeted at boosting local content, this curbing capital flight, as companies and government can have all they need fabricated in Nigeria instead of taking it out of the country.

According to the manager, Mr. Kenechukwu Udoh, the ongoing fabrication yard is a statement of their commitment to continuous improvement and progress towards attaining subsea engineering expertise in the oil and gas industry.

He said, "Our facility seats on a 23,743 square meters quayside facing open waters with two warehouses, office complex, two fabrication shops, machine shop, open storage area and painting/blasting shops.

"Upon completion, we will offer fabrication services like pressure vessel fabrication, complete topside module construction, sea manifold fabrication, subsea tree frames and subsea equipment delivery skid fabrication, sand blasting and painting works, jack up block and scrubbers and separators fabrication, PLEM and riser buoys, water treatment modules, suction piles, pipeline construction and repair services, anchor and oil tool maintenance and anchor fabrications.

NAPPIMS, NCDMB's Seal of Approval

Besides other stakeholders taken to the fabrication yards, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was ably represented by National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPPIMS) to inspect the job being done.

In an interview afterwards with THISDAY, Mr. Frank Isofi, from the Facility Department of NAPPIMS commended MGVOWGAS on the laudable vision it is executing.

He said, "We came to inspect the construction site for fabrication of subsea and oil and gas facilities, which is driven my MGVOWGAS. We are really impressed. We see that MGVOWGAS is doing everything to position itself to drive the local content. It's is the aspiration of Nigeria to see that Nigerians take over the job given to foreigners.

"But to do that, we have to build capacity and facilities where you can do those jobs. From the job am seeing now, I am confident we have Nigerians who are driving themselves to take over. "

Also speaking, the General Manager, Zonal Coordination and Board Projects of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Dr. Gina Ginah said, "I came to see their latest initiative in developing Nigerian content. My impression has been okay. It's a major initiative and a lot of money has been sunk in. So anything that improves Nigerian content impresses me.

"We advise other companies to emulate MGVOWGAS. The law empowers us to stop anybody from bringing in foreign goods an services when they are available in Nigeria. So they actually don't have a choice, so the best solution is to do made in Nigeria products. The board is also empowered to ensure that the host community are part of the projects in their domain. When the host community is engaged, who will ferment trouble?"

Inherent Challenges

On the challenges faced in actualising this project Izomor cited the community. He said, "The communities always come up with one demand or the other. It's normal though. The other challenge is funding. Our initial projection was N2billion but due to the sudden naira devaluation, most of the machineries that we are now constructing has the value appreciating. "We used N170 per dollar for our projection but now we are buying dollar at N230 per dollar. So in the process, the cost of the project now has doubled. It is giving us a lot of heat headache. No government has come to assist but Heritage Bank. They gave me the initial N2billion and they will still make it up.

"That is why you see them around today. They believe in us and have confidence in what we are doing and they are ready to stake their neck. Another challenge is the power situation. But we have a two major generators that is on ground for use and we are still going to buy another one to power the fabrication place. It is a major challenge because if you look at the cost of diesel its on the high side.

The oil and gas entrepreneur who charged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the power sector in order to revive the dwindling sector said, "We have to start somewhere. What we expect this government to do is to improve on where the previous administration stopped.

"There are a lot of generating power plants all over the world and the major challenge is how to connect gas to those power plants. The government has to invest in linking those power generating plants with gas and construct pipelines to those areas, which is part of our job too as a pipeline contracting company.

"Here in Port Harcourt, there are young men that are using manual means to construct all manner of things even machines but the challenge they are facing is power. The Federal Government should declare an emergency in that power sector and pump money into it. Once there is power, Nigeria will develop in the next five years."

Speaking on training and safety he said the companies continually sponsors it's staff for trainings, adding that in the area of safety, they all undergo HSE training on safety.

For industry watchers, the goal of MGVOWGAS to establish a world class engineering and fabrication facility wholly owned and operated by Nigerians, as well as being a leader in offshore, marine and fabrication industry in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea, has come a long way.

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