By Nosa Alekhuogie

Ladol Oil and Gas Free Zone (LFZ), operators of the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics (LADOL) base, has been described as one of the success stories of the local content administration in the country.

The appraisal was made in Lagos on Wednesday by the House of Representatives and Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCMB), during a joint tour of the base by top legislators from the House Committee on Local Content as well as management of the board.

Chairman of the House Committee Hon. Emmanuel Ekon, and Executive Secretary of the Content Board, Obah Patrick, who took turns to address journalists after the tour, expressed pleasant surprise at the development of the facility, saying their visit was a testimony of the commendable operations at the zone.

Managing Director of LADOL, Dr. Amy Jadesimi, was on hand to conduct the team round the facility which includes the Egina project yard where the company is currently serving as local content partner to Samsung Heavy Industry (SHI) in the fabrication of a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) platform, said to be first in Africa.

In his remark, the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Obah, noted that the role of the Board as a regulatory agency “is not only to support LADOL and other logistics service providers in the industry, but to also ensure that they operate within the ambit of the law, as enshrined in the Local Content law of 2010.”

He said: “LADOL has invested so much in this industry and more so as an indigenous company, we must continue to support and encourage them, because what we have seen is huge not only in investment but as a way of capacity development for the country.”

He said following the laudable speed of development at the base, it has become necessary that the board to similarly expand its scope of supervisory role in the industry by setting up an observatory office within the yard.

“Today we have taken a decision to open an NCDMB evaluation office in LADOL to make sure that the activities are well monitored and information sharing is optimally carried o… We need Nigerians to support us to make Nigeria great”, he said.

Also speaking at the event, Chairman of the House Committee, Ekon, noted that although the committee has a duty to carry out its oversight functions, the visit was “to celebrate with LADOL for taking the yard from a Greenfield status to a world class ship building yard.

“We are here today, not to oversight LADOL, nor to inspect their facility, but to celebrate with them. In a very simple sentence, the House Committee on Local Content can only say congratulations to the promoters of this facility.

“Even though I have never been here before, I have learnt and heard so much about LADOL. So for me, I was already one of those who could stand and tell the outside world about the success story of LADOL. I am proud to say LADOL is part of the success of the Local Content story we have seen in the Oil and Gas sector today, and I used to tell my members that at the appropriate time I will take them to Lagos so that the y can also see things for themselves, and here we are.”

He pointed out that as a   parliamentary committee, “Our job is to ensure that whatever ways we can support you to succeed more, we will not hesitate to do so. If it means putting in place some legislative frame work, or the need to amend some existing laws to make the industry fair better, we will not hesitate to do so.

“We cannot ignore the efforts of indigenous companies like yours who have demonstrated the faith in investing in this country’s economy. Today we are here to celebrate with LADOL for a journey into success…a journey that was legitimized in 2010 as a law that is now known as the Local Content law. We are happy and delighted to have Nigerians like you who are demonstrating faith in this country, and investing as much as $600million in the country.

“We have a lot of Nigerians out there who are much richer with billions of dollars and would rather take such funds outside the country. You have chosen to use your wealth in impacting lives and we say this is worth emulating” he said.

To this end the lawmaker called on other indigenous investors not to look outside the country, but to demonstrate their faith Nigeria as did by the promoters of LADOL.

“We are by this calling on other investors to emulate the good example of LADOL and invest in this country, not necessary in the oil n gas industry alone”, he added.

Earlier in address of welcome, Executive chairman of LADOL, Mr. Ladi jadesimi noted the strategic importance of the House committee on Local Content as a most important legislative arm of government that touches on the socio-economic wellbeing of the people.

Going down memory lane, he said, the initiative was taken to establish LADOL about a decade ago, considering that the industry was largely in the hands of foreign operators, despite its strategic economic importance.

He recalled that as the only Greenfield privately developed yard in the industry by wholly indigenous initiative, it was tough to carry on in the face of stringent opposition to the idea.

“We however remained focused and carry on in the face of such stiff oppositions because we know that success is assured. We were however vindicated with the passing into law of the local content to be known as the Local Content law.

“We are therefore calling on government at all levels to continue to support us by not giving vent to monopoly so that the spate of development and growth the industry is gradually witnessing with the involvement of indigenous players can continue, and other investors encouraged to do more,” he said.