…. Says Plant will save Nigeria billions of Dollar
By Samuel Ibiyemi
The management of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board ( NCDMB) has called on International Oil Companies ( IOCs), Independents and National Oil Companies ( NOCS) to patronise the newly inaugurated $15 million facility rated as the largest coating plant in Africa.
The Executive Secretary NCDMB Mr Simbi Wabote in an emotion-laden speech during the ceremony of the plant at the weekend described as the first facility to be commissioned a month after his resumption in office said that industry stakeholders, particularly the operating companies should ensure that the plant is well utilized for pipeline coating solutions. The commissioning of the plant also described as landmark
in the annals of local content drive under the Nigerian Oil and Gas Development Content Development ( NOGICD) Act according to him offers multi-layer high technology coating solution to the industry at a time that operators and the other stakeholders are in dire need of innovative and efficient pipe coating systems to mitigate the high incidence of pipeline failures due to ageing, corrosion, mechanical defects, pressure surges, and stress and third party intrusions.
Mr Wabote lamented that most of the pipelines in Nigeria do need outright replacement or more innovative coating solutions to enhance their integrity and prolong their design lifespan since most of them were installed either in the 1960s or 1970s even though the lifespan of a pipeline by Gas and Oil Pipeline Standard (GOST) of Nigeria is 33years.
He explained that the nation’s pipelines are part of the critical national asset and requires coating to prevent corrosion. “Corrosion prevention is a way to guarantee smooth and uninterrupted flow of oil and gas to the locations, where they get exchanged for money. Coating saves billions of dollars spent on corrosion control and management,”he assured.
The Executive Secretary calling for patronage explained that the Solewant Multi-layer Coating Plant has awesome capacities like high speed coating, wide diameter coverage, remote maintenance capability, 3 LPE, 3 LPP and 5 LPP coating system, single and double layer fusion bonded epoxy anti-corrosion coating system and the capacity to coat all pipeline sizes from 3inch – 56inch. He commended this feat and felicitated with the management and staff of Solewant Group.
“We will like to see more plants spring up in Nigerian to manufacture or assemble vital oil and gas equipment components in Nigeria. This is the very essence of the local Content Law. It will be very fulfilling to commission other plants like this very one because this is the only way we can help government at various levels to create jobs to tackle the acute youth unemployment in the country,”he noted.
The Managing Director, Solewant Nigeria Limited Mr Solomon Ewanehi in his speech disclosed that over $15million has been spent on the Africa’s largest coating plant situated on a wide expansive land of 7,000 acres of land of over 7000 sq meters and storage area of 132,000 square meters of space. He disclosed that the plant is capable of engaging 500 to 1200 employees on operation to reduce unemployment in the Niger Delta.
He expressed his appreciation to the leadership of Alode Community for ensuring peace and cordial relationship with the company where the plant is located. He called for the support of the company by youths of the host community so that the company will serve as agents of reducing cost of coating for companies operating in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry at a time that the industry is faced with the challenge of people going to China, India and several other parts of the world to bring in coated pipes.
“ As I speak with you right now, several hundred of kilometers of pipes are still being coated outside the shores of Nigeria making the value of the Dollar to be a challenge to Nigerian economy. “That’s what the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB and what the Executive Governor of the state talked about earlier and we are trying to use this plant as a pilot scheme to be able to ensure that there is transfer of technology. It is also to ensure that local content is not increasing cost but decreasing cost because there will be job availability and these foreign companies will be able to transfer technology to the country.
Mr Ewanehi said the company had excelled in the provision of pipe, metal and field joints coating services for 15 years. He added that the company is now. entering the next phase of its extensive development through a series of investments and expansions. According to him, by blocking environmental attacks where aggressive chemical solutions and gases are present, or where mechanical forces and high temperatures are a danger, Solewant has become a significant component of the country’s wider sector, and is subsequently laying out clear plans for even more comprehensive support in the future.
“Supporting the oil & gas, water, chemical processing, mining, refining, electricity, transportation and marine industries, the US-based Solewant Group subsidiary has refined its business model in the economically strong West African country over this time, in protecting all metal and concrete services through its range of services,” he affirmed.
He thanked the Executive Secretary of NCDMB for the support received by the board in providing necessary support for the company and indigenous operators in the sector.
The Chairman, Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria ( PETAN) Mr Bank- Anthony Okoroafor said that the completion of the largest coating plant had provided another good example that indigenous companies will do better if given the opportunity to handle projects being executed outside Nigeria. “ This project is another testimony that PETAN members are committed to development and innovations that will help to domesticate projects needed to firm up the value of Nigeria’s currency,” he said.
The Head, Regional Business South Directorate of Diamond Bank Mr Chris Ofikulu who represented the Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc, Uzoma Dozie,commended the management of Solewant for utilising the fund approved and released by the bank solely for executing the coating plant project. “ The company complied with all rules of our bank which will further encourage the management to do more for the Solewant and other firms in the oil and gas industry since the management believes in promoting genuine business of investors in the sector,” he assured.