Simbi Wabote

Ejiofor Alike

The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr Simbi Wabote has charged the international oil companies (IOCs), and the Nigerian independents to patronise local capacity to reduce costs of projects in the oil and gas industry.

Speaking at the recent inauguration of Solewant’s $15 million coating plant in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, which is rated as the largest in Africa, Wabote also urged the operators to utilise Solewant’s pipeline coating solution, which he said was the first project to be inaugurated by him a month after he resumed office.

Wabote said the inauguration of the plant was a landmark in the annals of local content drive under the Nigerian Oil and Gas Development Content Development ( NOGICD) Act as the facility offers multi-layered 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.

He argued that most of the pipelines in Nigeria need outright replacement or more innovative coating solutions to enhance their integrity and prolong their design lifespan, adding that 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) in Nigeria is 33 years.
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 said.
“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 see to the commissioning of other plants like this very one because this is the only way we can help government at various level to create jobs to tackle the acute youth unemployment in the country,” he explained.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Solewant Nigeria Limited, Mr. Solomon Ewanehi disclosed that over $15million was spent on the Africa’s largest coating plant.

According to him, the facility is situated on a wide expansive land of 7,000 acres of land of over 7000 square metres and storage area of 132,000 square meters of space.
He added that the plant is capable of engaging 500 to 1,200 employees on operation to reduce unemployment in the Niger Delta.
He expressed his appreciation to the leadership of Alode Community, where the plant is located, for ensuring peace and cordial relationship with the company.

He called for the support of the company by youth of the host community so that the company will help to reduce the cost of pipeline coating at a time that the industry is faced with the challenge of operators going to China, India and several other parts of the world to bring in coated pipes.
“As I speak with you right now, several hundreds 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,” Ewanehi said.

In his remarks, the Head of 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 Solewant and other firms in the oil and gas industry since the management believes in promoting genuine business of investors in the sector,” he added.