GE to Invest $2bn in Skills Training, Facility Development in Africa

  • Localises major gas turbine repair in Nigeria

Ejiofor Alike

The President and Chief Executive Officer of General ElecGE Nigeria, Dr. Lazarus Angbazo, has stated that the multinational conglomerate has committed to invest a total of $2 billion in facility development, skills training, and sustainability initiatives across Africa by 2018.

Speaking on a recent collaboration between his company and Dangote Cement Plc on an in-country repair of one of Dangote’s GE LM6000 aero-derivative gas engines, Angbazo also revealed that the feat is the first time such a complex and delicate repair project was executed in Nigeria and only the second instance in sub-Saharan Africa.

GE said in a statement that when Dangote Cement reported that the turbine which contributes about 47MW had developed a fault “GE proposed to repair the LM6000 engine in Nigeria, leveraging its worldwide network in order to assemble the people, parts and tools needed to undertake this skilled and delicate work.”

According to the statement, GE assembled a crack team of engineers made up of a Nigerian team led by Nwabueze Adiuku from GE Service shop in Port Harcourt, alongside Granite Field Engineers led by Sadiq Ayomide and supported by a Dutch specialist, Wiebe Van der Wer, who flew into the country to complete the team.

The statement added that this in-country initiative brought Dangote plc savings worth at least $2.5 million.

Commenting on the feat, the Expert Field Service Engineer, Wiebe Van der Wer, noted that “…Doing this in the country has reduced the unit idle time and brought large cost savings to the customer.”

“Excluding logistics, transportation & custom clearing, normaldepot scope would cost the customer a minimum $3.5million million. But doing this in-country cost less than $1 million,” he added.

Speaking on the significant of the project to the Nigerian team, Nwabueze Adiuku stated that “it gives us an idea of what we can achieve with the upcoming Project Emerald facility in Calabar when it gets commissioned in 2017.”

On his part, Ayomide said the feat “is a major breakthrough for me as a FS Field Service Engineer and it shows that GE Power Solutions can be localized. For the customer (Dangote) it shows that we are always with them and are ready to provide cost-effective solutions whenever the need arises.”

For the repair work, the turbine made a round trip by road from Obajana to Port Harcourt and back to Obajana – a total distance of 880 km over a one-week period.
This was only possible as the GE workshop in Port Harcourt is equipped with the tools and standard facilities to carry out this large scope of work.
The Strategic Account Executive, Dangote for GE, Uzo Ezimora, said: “It’s achievements like this that make you very proud to work for GE. We have opened up a new chapter in terms of delivering world-class service with local teams and structures. No-one should underestimate the complexity of such maintenance…or its significance for our esteemed customers.”
Angbazo corroborated this by describing the project as a very important one for the organisation.

“By undertaking a service project of this scale and complexity in Nigeria, we help to expand our skills and capacity in this region. Not only has the decision to do the work locally significantly reduced costs for our customer, it has enabled us undertake the project with minimal disruption to production at the Dangote plant,” Angbazo explained.

He further noted that the successful completion of the project will further give confidence to the Dangote Group and propel more advanced maintenance works to be completed for sub-Saharan customers in a cost-effective and timely manner within the region by local teams.