By John Ikani and Emmanuel Nduka
“If you don’t limit me, I hope there’s enough time to reel out all that has been achieved so far, but I will try my best to keep it short and simple.”
The foregoing were the words of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote when he was asked on International TV to intimate televiewers with achievements of the Board under his excellent leadership in the past 5 years.
Of course, there wasn’t going to be enough time for Mr. Local Content to say it all. Assuming the entire 20-minute interview was solely centred on heights he has taken the Board to, it still wouldn’t be enough for him to outline the massive gains of 2021 alone.
The NCDMB was established in 2010 by the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act, with a core mandate to manage and grow Nigeria’s local content capacity. So far, it has lived up to its mandate.
Speak of 2021, it was a year that will go down memory lane as one of the best in the annals of the NCDMB. It was also an eventful year for Engr. Wabote who deservingly clinched awards in recognition of his outstanding contributions to sustainable local content development in Nigeria and across Africa.
Notable among the numerous accolades that mounted the ES’ bulging cabinet in 2021, was the African Local Content Icon Award. Engr. Wabote’s selection and suitability for the award were hinged on his doggedness in changing the local content narrative of Nigeria and the African continent beyond the oil and gas industry.
The African Local Content Icon Award was an affirmation that Engr. Wabote’s unprecedented contributions to the localisation of industry knowledge and expertise are not a mere walk in the park. It confirms that local content registers have no room for the adjective “easy peasy” if we are to effectively describe how he guided the NCDMB to implement monumental capacity development programs in Nigeria with cross-border impacts.
It also goes to prove that stakeholders in Nigeria and Africa appreciate Engr. Wabote’s trenchant advocacy of the imperatives of local content practice and its benefits, his provision of guidance to several African countries on the implementation of local content policies in their jurisdictions as well as his rare leadership capacity to initiate and balance dialogue between international commercial ventures and national interests.
One of such dialogues was the first African Local Content Roundtable hosted by the NCDMB in partnership with the African Petroleum Producers Association (APPO), and powered by The Heritage Times. The event held in June 2021 at the NCDMB towers in Yenagoa, Bayelsa, saw the ES canvass for the establishment of an African Local Content Bank that could provide funding for the development of oil and gas projects in Africa.
The ES’ push for the development of oil and gas projects in Africa stems from the abundance of his successes at home, as he has, since his first appointed in September 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari and reappointment in September 2020, transformed the Nigerian oil and gas industry landscape with various innovative ideas and programmes that have significantly impacted the nation’s economy.
Earlier in December 2021, Engr. Wabote announced that the board has now achieved 42% Nigerian Content in the Oil & Gas industry. Thus, it appears that the agency under his leadership is in a strategic hurry to achieve its set goal of 70 per cent local content growth in the Nigerian oil and gas industry over a 10- year horizon that terminates in 2027.
In other words, the NCDMB boss is technically at the midpoint of his 10-year strategic road map and has – in the space of 5 years and a half – significantly improved creditable performance levels of the Board and morphed it into an indispensable enabler of domestic investments and local capacity in the oil and gas industry and beyond.
While the NCDMB is laudably focused on achieving the numerous constituents of performance indicators in its 10-year strategic road map, the Board is not blind to key subtle demands wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic and global climate change.
In fact, the Engr. Wabote had on numerous occasions in 2021, waxed lyrical on the need for Nigeria and African nations to promote in-country research and development (R&D) to foster technological independence in health and other critical sectors as well as to develop innovative solutions that would drive energy transition in Africa.
Commendably, the board recently held the Nigerian Content Research and Development Fair and Conference to address shortcomings in the R&D ecosystem as well as to position it to produce commercially viable products with broad impacts on the Oil and Gas industry and the wider economy.
With strategic in-country R&D machinery set in place including a US$50million R&D fund to support home-grown technology, we can be rest assured that the developed world would not force us to do what they want.
Little wonder the House of Representative Committee on Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring could not help showering praises on the NCDMB when they visited the Nigerian Content Tower in December as part of their oversight visit to the Board.
Chairman of the Committee Hon. Legoh Idagbo along with his colleagues, acknowledged the zeal and passion with which the NCDMB pursues its national assignment and unanimously concluded that the Board was fulfilling its mandate and purpose for its establishment. The committee, in addition to their commendation, pledged continuous support for the Board.
In case you’re wondering, the NCDMB’s boss achievements in the development of Nigerian content in the oil and gas industry, as well as his quest to transform the industry landscape with various innovative ideas and programmes that will significantly impact the nation’s economy are hinged on his vast knowledge, experience, hard work and expertise in the petroleum sector.
- Commissioning of PE Energy’s ultra-modern Centre of Excellence in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to provide services in Automation, Process & Systems Integration, as well as Valve Assembly, Valve Actuation, Metering Systems, Pump and Compressor Solutions.
- Launching of Butane Energy Limited, one of the gas based business supported with equity investment by the NCDMB. It has a 100 metric tonnes Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) Storage and Bottling Plant, and is situated in Kabukawa layout, Kastina State.
- Expansion of Nigerian Content Intervention Fund from $200million to $400million, with $350 million from NCDMB and $50million from NEXIM Bank.
- Final stages of Duport Modular Refinery at the Duport Energy Park situated at Egbokor, Edo state.
- Launching of made in Nigerian Barites for drilling operations, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State,
- Commissioning of Information and Communication Technology Centre at Government Science and Technical College, Okaka, Yenagoa, Bayalsa state.
- Renovation and handing over of ultra-modern Woodwork and Carpentry workshops at the Government Technical College, (GTC) Abak, Akwa Ibom State.
Others key achievements of the Board, especially in Bayelsa State, include:
- Nigerian Content Tower – the tallest and most sophisticated building in the South-South and South-East parts of Nigeria.
- Training of 250 Bayelsans on various artisanal skills; Engaged trained youths in the construction of the project and Engaged Bayelsa indigenes in construction supplies.
- Ultra-modern town hall built for the Swali Community.
- Engagement of over 200 youths, mostly from Swali Community in the maintenance of the Nigerian Content Tower and support services.
- Provision of uninterrupted power supply to key offices of the Bayelsa State Government.
- Training of over 600 science and mathematics teachers across Bayelsa State.
- Construction and equipping of several ICT & Science Laboratories across the state and renovated classrooms.
- Sponsorship of the Annual Science Quiz for Secondary Schools in Bayelsa since 2013.
- Training of 50 Physically Challenged Youths on artisanal skills and provided them with starter packs and grants for take-off.
- Building of AKER Subsea Solutions Training Centre at Opolo for high level oil and gas manpower training.
- Sponsorship of 20+ Bayelsa youths in International Cadet Sea time Training. The beneficiaries got sea-berth experience onboard foreign going vessels across USA, Singapore, Egypt, India and acquired Certificate of Competency Training for the Cadets.
- Ongoing development of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Park Scheme (NOGaPS) in Emeyal 1 Bayelsa State. The project employs Bayelsa indigenes in construction & supplies. Project would create 2000 jobs when operational, and taxes for the state government.q
- Partnership with RUNGAS Ltd in the ongoing development of 400,000 units/year Composite LPG Cylinder Manufacturing plant at Polaku Bayelsa State. The project employs Bayelsa indigenes in construction and supplies.
- Partnership with Azikel Petrochemical Company in the development of 12,000 barrels per day modular refinery at Gbarain. The construction is ongoing and completion date planned for Q4 2024.
- Partnership with Atlantic Petrochemical Company for the development of Modular Refinery at Okpoama, Brass. Project is under construction with completion expected in 2022.
- Partnership in the establishment of Eraskon Lube Oil Blending Plant at Gbarain.
- Partnership with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical Company Limited and DSV Engineering in the establishment of 10,000 Ton Methanol Production Plant, Odioama, Brass.
- Partnership with NNPC and ZED Energy in the establishment of Brass Petroleum Products Terminal, Okpoama, Brass. The project would create 1000 direct jobs during construction and 5000 jobs during operations.
- Establishment of R&D Center of Excellence in the Niger Delta University.
- Donation of Economics Laboratory to the Niger Delta University, equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and powered by a 30 KVA generating set with a backup 10 KVA inverter.
- Donation of ventilators to some Federal, State-Owned and Private Hospital in Bayelsa State to help curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
- Donation of ambulances, special medical supplies and food to the Governments and people of Bayelsa in support of efforts to combat the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).