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The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Dr. Emi Membere-Otaji , who told THISDAY at the weekend that one of his marine vessels would be going to work in Angola in the next few weeks, further stated that the Nigerian Content Act had opened up opportunities for Nigerian companies.
“We have invested because the Nigerian Content Act has opened up the opportunities for Nigerian companies to go into fabrication. Currently, we are at the verge of spinning off our marine division to a new company called ELSHCON Offshore Nigeria Limited.
ELSHCON Nigeria Limited has two main divisions – Marine Division, where we own and charter marine vessels and a fabrication and construction division. We provide marine logistics services and jetty services for offshore activities. We do tug boats, barges, accommodation vessels, ship building and ship repairs,” he said.
He noted that though the International Oil Companies (IOCs) had not been bringing jobs to Nigerian companies as they should bring, his company had to diverse into marine constructions.
“So, that makes us fairly busy but like other fabrication yards said, the opportunities are the opportunities are theoretically there but in the actual fact, the IOCs are not bringing the contracts as expected. But we have things going for us. Samsung has been given the contract to build the Floating Production Storage Offshore (FPSO) vessel for Egina oil field and they are doing the integration in Nigeria. We have made our presentations,” he added.
He said the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) had made it impossible for the IOCs to initiate new major projects, adding that this development has denied Nigerian companies jobs.
Memebere-Otaji, who is also the 2nd Deputy President of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, stated that the PIB should be passed for Nigeria to remain competitive in the global oil and gas industry.
“Few years ago, Nigeria was the only country in the South of Sahara that was producing crude oil. Angola joined later. But today, if you look at the map of Africa, almost every country bordering on the ocean is either producing oil or has the hope of finding oil. Even in East Africa, Kenya and Tanzania have found oil. So, what we are trying to say precisely is that it is obvious that we have to compete now for investments. The IOCs need us that we as a country need them. So, there will be compromise for the PIB to be passed so that investments will come. But the worry is that there are competitors now,” he added.
“If you listen to the IOCs, they will tell you that they are holding on investments because of the non-passage of the PIB. They are holding on investments. We are a service company. We service Exploration and Production (E & P) companies. So, if they are not doing major investments because of the non-passage of the PIB, it means fewer jobs for Nigerian companies. That is how it affects us,” he said.
He disclosed that his company was already exploring opportunities in the neighbouring countries, stressing that many Nigerian companies are already doing business in other African countries.