By Udeme Akpan
THE Federal Government has commenced feasibility study for the construction of a shipyard in Brass Island, Bayelsa State, which would cater for the maintenance and repair services of cargo vessels, oil tankers, and Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG, carriers.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, who chaired the project’s kick-off meeting last Thursday, stated that the China Harbour Engineering Company, which had carried out similar projects across the globe as well as in Nigeria, would execute the project.
He said the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, would fund the feasibility study, as part of its overarching mandate to domicile key oil and gas industry infrastructure and increase retention of industry spend.
According to him, scope of the feasibility study includes geotechnical and bathymetric surveys, conducting a market study, ascertaining an optimal construction scale, developing technical proposal and construction plan and estimation of the required investment to bring the project into reality.
He said the high traffic of vessels in and out of Nigeria provides a huge opportunity to retain substantial value in-country through the provision of dry-dock services.
He said the Brass shipyard project would further develop and harness the nation’s position in the oil and gas value chain and linkage to other sectors of the economy.
Dwelling on the prospects of the shipyard project, Sylva hinted that the Nigeria LNG’s Train 7 project is expected to increase the company’s Liquefied Natural Gas capacity from 22MTPA to 30MTPA and induce the acquisition of additional LNG carriers to the existing ones, all of which would need maintenance and servicing.
The minister observed that the project would benefit from the upcoming implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, as Nigeria could serve as hub for ship-building and repairs.
He added that the outcomes of the feasibility study and subsequent construction and operation of the shipyard would many multiplier effects, including jobs and poverty reduction.
Similarly, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote assured that the Brass shipyard project and other ongoing efforts to catalyse manufacturing would help the Board achieve the target of 70 percent Nigerian Content by 2027.
He confirmed that the project was being driven by the NCDMB in conjunction with NLNG as a Capacity Development Initiative, CDI, on the back of the Train 7 Project.
He mentioned that Nigeria has a long coastline of 853 kilometres and navigable inland waterways of 3,000 kilometres, which offer immense potential for maritime sector development, stressing that Brass coastline, was very close to the Atlantic Ocean.
Wabote further explained that there “are over 20,000 ships working for the oil and gas sector in Nigerian waters and the annual spend was over $600 million in the upstream sector.”
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