By Oke Peter
The Train 7 project is set to commence in earnest as the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Nigerian LNG Limited Tuesday held the kick-off meeting of the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) components of the project.
The event was held virtually and it provided an opportunity for NCDMB key officials to clarify some technical details relating to the Nigerian Content components of the project.
The Executive Secretary NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote in his goodwill message described the NLNG Train-7 project as record-breaking, noting that the journey had been marked with many firsts, particularly in methodology, stakeholder awareness and participation and speed of completion of the regulatory approvals by the Board.
He further described the signing of the Train-7 contract in the middle of COVID-19 as a global record, adding that it gave Nigerians the must-needed boost in the midst of the current challenging times.
He challenged the lead contractors – Saipem, Chiyoda and Daewoo (SCD) joint venture and subcontractors to set Nigerian Content records during the project implementation phase. He insisted that “we must not just limit ourselves to the Nigerian Content levels contained the Nigerian Content Plan (NCP) and the Nigerian Content Compliance Certificate (NCCC). We must push the boundaries so that upon completion we can brag about the values that the project would have added to the oil and gas industry as well as the country at large.”
He further charged the contractors to adopt ‘we can do it here’ spirit with respect to jobs creation, trainings for new skills, in-country capacity utilization, addition of new capabilities, Research and Development and uncommon innovation into territories uncharted.
While congratulating SAIPEM for the in-country capacity it had developed over the years, he said the company was obligated to use the project to pull along other smaller Nigerian businesses.
In his opening remarks, the Managing Director, Nigeria LNG Ltd, Engr. Tony Attah described the contract award and execution of Train 7 as a clear demonstration of the commitment of NLNG and its shareholders to continued investment in the Nigerian oil and gas sector with the attendant creation of capacity, competency and value.
He announced that the challenges of the pandemic had compelled NLNG and the SCD JV to agree on scope adjustments that will facilitate a controlled start to the execution phase of the project, with limited engineering activities for the first 12 months (‘Pivot Period’).
He said the engineering design office will open in Nigeria in August, but the bulk of fabrication and manufacturing activities will be suspended until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.
According to him, “the parties have agreed mechanisms that will facilitate a ramp up and pivot into the full scope of work as soon as clearly defined indices are achieved at which point the more traditional expectations of the project execute phase will come into play with full mobilization of the contractor to site.”
He added that “the critical mass of construction and fabrication activities will take off when the pivot into the full project scope occurs.”
The MD confirmed that Nigerian Content is one of the key value drivers for Train 7 as it will create jobs, deepen competency and capacity, unlock opportunities in the oil and gas industry and hopefully open the door for further expansion activities with the possibility of further LNG trains and projects.
He assured that NLNG will collaborate with the Contractors and the Board to deliver the agreed Nigerian Content, within budget, on schedule, in accordance with the highest standards of ethics and compliance, and a strong focus on HSE.
Attah also noted that Community Content is a key part of the project and requested the support of the Board to close the issue of Community Vendors that will participate in the project.
In his comments, the Managing Director of Saipem, Mr. Walter Peviani applauded NCDMB and NLNG for the extensive work they did with the Nigerian Content Plan. He explained that the NCP created a clear path for the bidders with regard to Nigerian Content requirements and enabled them to structure their bids properly. He described the implementation models adopted by the NCDMB was very effective, hinting that they would lead to lower cost of project execution and compliance with the project plan.