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We are ready to receive $3.6b Egina FPSO this year, says Ejizu

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As Nigeria prepares to receive the $3.6 billion Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSO) for Egina’s deep offshore oil project, the Chief Operating Officer, Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria Limited, Frank Ejizu, in this interview with SULAIMON SALAU, reveals the level of preparations and the opportunities for Nigerians. Excerpts:

How ready is your company for the arrival of the FPSO and partial in-country integration?
We are ready to receive the FPSO. Our readiness is demonstrated in the state-of-the-art integration and fabrication facility we have completed at our SHI-MCI FZE yard. This is to enable the mooring, integration and assembly of the hull and top-side modules of the FSPO upon its arrival in country. We have also completed a 502-meter long quay wall at our SHI-MCI-FZE Yard and obtain all statutory approvals and permits for its operations. We have further dredged the quayside to a water depth of 11.5 meter to berth the FSPO and concluded arrangements for all related towage activities, including simulation test for Lagos Channel passage.

The new vessel will measure approximately 330 metres in length, 61 metres in width and 33.5 metres in depth and is expected to have an oil storage capacity of approximately two million barrels.

The vessel will have topside modules with a gross dry weight of 34,000 tonnes. The facility was built by Nigerians under the supervision of Koreans as about 1200 Nigerians and 150 foreigners, had worked on the project especially at peak period. Above all, we have a formidable team of well-trained and motivated personnel ready to commence the integration works.

How much technology has Samsung transferred to Nigeria through the project?
Specialised projects like the Egina EPSO offer a unique opportunity for knowledge sharing and transfer in all the technological disciplines involved. Technology transfer has been in the forefront of our policy in carrying out this project. To this end, we formed SHI-MCI-FZE and constructed the state-of-the-art fabrication and integration yard, which is exactly modeled on what is obtainable in our world-class facilities in Geoje yard, South Korea. In the course of work, we have utilised specialised technological software uniquely developed by Samsung Heavy Industries and brought in world class experts in construction of deep offshore facilities, who have passed on their skills and experience to thousands of Nigerians that have been placed as their understudies.

Furthermore, in aligning with the board’s mandate and the desire of the government to increase capacity and competencies of the Nigerian engineers and the applicable workforce through targeted trainings aimed at transferring knowledge, Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria, through its National Human Capacity Development Initiatives, trained and is currently training Nigerians on the back of the project.

During the detailed engineering phase of the project, 33 Nigerian engineers participated in a one-year training programme across nine engineering disciplines (mechanical, process, structural, piping, electrical, quality, assurance, project controls, interface and instrumentation). The trainees evolved from zero level to acquiring skills that qualified them to participate significantly and actively in the Egina FPSO detail engineering and design.

Currently in tandem with the construction phase of the project, 100 Nigerians are being trained in construction related disciplines. The skill sets and competencies that have been acquired with international certifications include but not limited to: Non- destructive testing; project planning; coating inspection; welding engineering and inspection; lifting operation; cost control; welding; machining; fitting, among others.

Also, more than 300 welders have been trained and certified in various advanced welding and certified in various advanced welding processes in our state-of-the-art Welders Training and Qualification Centre (WTQC). We have also trained and certified Nigerians in specialised jointing techniques like GRE (Glass Reinforced Epoxy) pipe bonding. Most of the above have been and are still currently engaged in the execution of the project.

How many jobs did Egina FPSO create in your facility and what are the chances they would be retained at the end of the project?
The Egina EPSO project has created an exponential number of jobs running into estimated 20,000 positions judging by its cascading effect outside our facility. But to restrict the answer to our SHI-MCI-FZE facility, the project has created more than 1,200 direct jobs for Nigerians. This is spread across many disciplines including but not limited to: project management; welding; fitting; logistics; and other support services.

It is our hope that this state-of-the-art facility would be maximally utilised through a continuous patronage by all stakeholders, which would in turn ensure the retention of personnel.

In 2015 alone, Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria (SHI) and the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) trained about 57 Nigerian youths at the SHI shipyard in Geoje, South Korea. The youths, were taught naval architecture, ship design, fabrication and fittings, electrical installation, mechanical and maintenance, erections and scaffolding among othes, at Samsung Heavy Industries’ shipyard in South Korea.

Taking them to Geoje Shipyard is a significant milestone because the shipyard is the first to be certified by the world’s three highly recognised international standards- ISO 9001 (Management Quality); ISO14001 (Environment Management); and OHSAS 18001 (Safe and Healthy Working Environment Management).

Geoje Shipyard has developed remarkably intelligent robot systems such as a spider automatic welding robot for LNG cargo tank, a wall-climbing, vacuum-blasting robot, and a inspection and cleaning pipe robot. Using these robot systems, it records 68 per cent of production Automation rate and secures perfect quality as well as employees’ security.

Samsung Heavy is an industry giant and a world leader in the building of Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessels (FPSOs), LNG FPSOs, production platforms, Drillship Rigs and other special offshore vessels. There have been huge capacity gap in the country, but the company is determined to grow local capacity through an intensive training programme expected to re-shape the local engineers.

This is the first FPSO project post the NOGICD Act. What have been the unique challenges you have grappled with?
The Egina FPSO is highly specialised and the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act prescribed that a minimum of 80 per cent of the man hours to be expended on detailed engineering in deep offshore facilities- Hull and Topside were to be in-country. It was extremely challenging to get Nigerian engineers with requisite experience and expertise to undertake this segment of the work. We however, appreciate the effort put in by the consortium of the Nigeria engineering firms contracted to execute these works and the innovative ways they employed to achieve completion.

Obstacles were also encountered in the development of our fabrication and integration facilities, as among other challenges, we had to convert a green field swamp into a state-of-the-art fabrication facility. However, with our international experience and commitment, we were able to surmount these challenges.

What are your company’s plans to expand the size of its fabrication yard at Tarkwa Bay?
Currently our yard can handle 10,000 metric tonnes of fabrication yearly. However, during the design of the facilities, provisions were made for potential increase in capacity as project exigencies dictate. We are hopeful this will be the case in view of the current awareness with respect to the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act.

The Egina project, particularly the FSPO integration, has become the benchmark for future deep-water projects. What new things can your company do in forthcoming deep-water projects?
The fabrication and integration facility is, of course, now fully functional. We have demonstrated that we can handle complex engineering and fabrication jobs in country. The immediate benefits accruable is that a greater scope of any future FSPO topside modules and other offshore related facilities can be executed by us in-country.


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FPSOFrank Ejizu

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