The Managing Director of Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria (SHIN) Limited, Mr. Jejin Jeon, in this interview speaks on his company’s accomplishments in the area of local content in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. Oluchi Chibuzor presents the excerpts:
What is your assessment of the local content legislation in oil and gas industry?
It’s fair to say that ‘local content’ regulations don’t sound like the most interesting topic in the world. Any manager of any oil or gas project is going to be focused on hitting their targets, and rightly so. Time is money, and in the energy sector this is particularly the case. With this target mindset, it’s easy to dismiss local content regulations as additional bureaucracy or a box to be ticked to win the tender.
How did you cope with this piece of legislation?
I think that Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria could have fallen into this trap too. After all, we were a new arrival in Nigeria, eager to prove ourselves and to win business for our company.
Thankfully though, although we are new to Nigeria, we are by no means new to shipbuilding in a developing economy. It might seem difficult to remember this today, but when our first shipyard was being constructed in 1974, Korea was a very different country. We too had to deal with the twin challenges of undertaking immense economic growth whilst improving the standard of living for our citizens. We learnt that you had to be agile and adapt to a fast-changing world, and that you have to keep transformation at the core of what you do.
You have a reputation as a global shipbuilding giant. What gives you a competitive edge over your competitors in the Nigerian environment?
Shipbuilding has two faces like Janus, the Roman god. On the one hand, it is a high-tech, innovative business which demands the best. On the other hand, it requires hard work, and an intense level of human capital. By understanding this dual nature of shipbuilding, we were able to design a local content programme that delivered opportunities to Nigeria, whilst delivering cutting-edge technology. This blend of global and local has proven to be perfectly suited to delivering on customer needs, satisfying local content requirements and creating a sustainable platform for long-term growth.
And when Samsung says long-term, it means long-term. Building a welding school today means opportunities today for our impressive local workforce, skilled welders such as Chinonye who are learning skills and sharing knowledge. But it also means looking to the next decade and beyond, understanding the potential of Nigeria to be a focal point for fabrication and integration for the whole of Africa.
We have proven that responsible investment, powered by a belief in people, unlocks potential that can drive real change. Our fabrication and integration yard in Lagos is the start of our journey in Africa, and it’s a journey that will deliver jobs, opportunity and economic prosperity for the country and beyond.
What is your vision for the future?
Our vision is a future of extraordinary growth and opportunity, building on our now-proven model for heavy involvement of local companies and local workforce talent. The combination of Korean efficiency and expertise, fused with Nigerian talent and passion, presents limitless possibilities for a future repairing, maintaining and building high value ships to serve needs in Africa and beyond – just watch this space.