Nestoil’s Indigenous Quest for Global Energy

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Osagie Ogunbor

When Nestoil Limited started providing engineering services to the major International Oil Companies in the country, long before the advent of a local content law, not many thought it would eventually evolve into a conglomerate that is better known today as the face of Local Content in the Oil & Gas Industry.

28 years later, the Engineering Procurement Construction and Commissioning Company is standing tall as a reference point in building indigenous capacity and job creation. About 2000 employees presently work directly with the Nestoil Group in skilled, unskilled, technical, administrative and managerial capacities. The story gets more exciting when you learn that over 95 per cent of present day employees of Nestoil are Nigerians. Nearly the entire management of the company is made up of well-groomed technocrats in Engineering, Information Technology Management and the Humanities.

Just before anyone starts to attribute the meteoric success of Nestoil to mother luck or as we say in these parts, lines falling in pleasant places for the promoters of the company, its founder Dr Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi is quick to attribute the success to focus, determination and hard work. Dr Obiejesi has also strategically set up subsidiaries that cover the entire value chain of the EPCC ecosystem – from Engineering design to civil engineering to dredging and fabrication.

Nestoil itself prides itself as the foremost indigenous company in the business of pipeline laying, repairs and maintenance. The company has been a significant contributor to the industry since inception in 1991. Nestoil continues to redefine industry standards in Pipeline Construction, Repairs and Maintenance with associated facilities for Dredging, River Crossing and Shoreline Protection.
Nestoil contributes significantly to the growth and development of Local Content/Capacity through the utilisation of young Nigerian professionals, who made up the bulk of the Project Teams, as well as sourcing some of their personnel from the host communities.
Some of the major projects include:

• The Shell Nembe-Cawthorne Channel Trunk Line Replacement Project (NCTL): The Nembe Creek Pipeline construction was the largest single pipeline construction under the SPDC Joint Ventures Asset Integrity Programme that replaced more than 1000km of deteriorated major pipelines and flow lines in Nigeria. The 97km Package A of this project was executed by Nestoil. This project involved major construction in a harsh mangrove swamp terrain and traversed three cluster communities and hundred autonomous communities in both Bayelsa and Rivers state of Nigeria. Nestoil completed this project one month ahead of schedule without a single fatality. 99 per cent of the workforce in this project were Nigerians including the Project Manager. This pipeline has the capacity to evacuate about 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

• The Shell Kolo Creek – Rumuekpe Trunk Line (KCTL) Replacement Project: A first of its kind, this project involved a method of pipeline installation that preserves the delicate natural environment of the Niger Delta.

• The Shell Nembe Field Logistics Base (FLB) Project: The construction of the Nembe FLB as well as the operations carried out at this base led to significant increase in economic activity in and around the Nembe Creek community to the benefit of the community.

• The SPDC K2S Pipeline Project: This was a gas pipeline project to move gas from the Kolo Creek gas fields to the Soku Gas Plant.

The Nestoil Companies
Energy Works Technology
Energy Works Technology (EWT) represents yet another breakthrough in fabrication technology in Nigeria. EWT is the foremost pressure vessels, process equipment manufacturer, steel structures fabricator and EPCI service provider in Nigeria and West Africa region, serving the Oil & Gas as well non-Oil & Gas sectors. EWT capabilities include a full range of fabrication services for certified process packages and steel structures. In recent times, EWT rolled the first of three Clad Plates being 90+4mm Thick Clad weighing 20 tons for SPDC Soku Non Associated Gas Separator. The feat is the first of its kind in the Nigerian fabrication industry. EWT also has the biggest heat treatment furnace in Nigeria.

B&Q
B&Q is an indigenous Marine and Logistics company that was founded in 1996. Over the years, it has acquired the assets of the Julius Berger dredging department. As a result of this acquisition, B&Q has repositioned itself as the foremost indigenous and leading dredging and marine logistics company in Nigeria. With a staff strength of over 130 dedicated employees, it also owns the largest dredging and marine logistics fleet in Nigeria.
Only recently, B&Q took delivery of one of the biggest dredgers to berth on the shores of Nigeria – Pirate X, a 30-foot dredger with offshore dredging and trenching capacity. This dredger is being deployed to the second Niger Bridge for one of its clients – Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.

IMPAC
Impac is a leading Engineering Design company providing integrated solutions utilising proven technologies and resources while focusing on safety, cost competitiveness, quality and timely delivery. IMPAC also provides procurement services as well as Operation & Maintenance Services throughout the project lifecycle. Impac has over 18years of delivering Engineering Services (Feasibility Studies, Basic/Concept Design, Front End Engineering Design, Detail Engineering Design, 3D Laser scanning, Project and Construction Management.

Hammakopp Consortium
A world class EPCC solutions provider, Hammakopp Consortium is your one stop shop for Civil Construction, Maintenance and Fabrication, Environmental and Sewage treatment, heavy structural fabrication, inspection and maintenance services. It has installed its own Asphalt Plant, located in its base in Okija, Anambra state which has the capacity of turning out approximately 120 tons of top grade asphalt products per hour.

Challenges
During the early days of the Nestoil Group, the major challenge was on how to attract the right talents and make them stay, aside funding and convincing the IOCs to let Nigerian companies handle some of the projects.
Dr Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi recalls that in those days most of the young talents who wanted a career in the oil and gas industry did not want to start with an indigenous company. Today most of the 2000 employees of Nestoil are some of the brightest brains you would find in the industry. This is reflected in the quality of the projects that Nestoil has delivered on in the past that earned the company the reputation of “king of the Swamps”.

Looking 30 years down memory lane, Dr Azudialu says he is fulfilled in the sheer impact his conglomerate of companies is having of thousands of lives directly and indirectly. He succinctly describes Nestoil’s mission in the Oil and Gas industry as an “indigenous quest for global energy”. A visit to Nestoil’s 59 hectare Industrial Layout in Abuloma Port Harcourt will convince Doubting Thomases about the sheer capacity of the company to succeed where others may have failed. All the Nestoil companies have state-of the art machinery in the Abuloma Operational base.

As a major player in the Oil and Gas sector, Dr Ernest Azudialu-Obiejesi is however unhappy that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which he says would provide a legal and governance framework for all stakeholders remains a pipe dream. He says the passage of the much talked about bill is the secret that will unlock needed investments in the oil and gas industry. He is saddened by the fact that smaller countries with modest oil mineral wealth compared to Nigeria are attracting sizeable investments because they have put necessary frameworks in place leaving Nigeria to play catch up.

The Unveiling of a Refreshed Brand Identity
Meanwhile, Nestoil has concluded plans to unveil a new corporate identity which it says reflects its resolve to continually surpass expectations of stakeholders and deliver exceptional value. After nearly 30 years in the oil and gas industry, Dr Azudialu believes it is time to unveil a new and refreshing brand identity that replicates that dynamism that is inherent in the Nestoil corporate persona. In his words, “the new corporate identity comes with new vigour to continually deliver exceptional value to stakeholders in the oil and gas sector and beyond.”

*Ogunbor is the Group Head of Corporate Communications