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Nigeria deepens automation, control systems integration in oil, gas sector

By Femi Adekoya
03 November 2021   |   4:05 am
With the inauguration of PE Energy Limited’s integrated valve assembly plant in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria’s capacity to develop control and automation solutions, especially for crude oil accountability in the upstream sector, has been deepened.

Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Simbi Wabote

With the inauguration of PE Energy Limited’s integrated valve assembly plant in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria’s capacity to develop control and automation solutions, especially for crude oil accountability in the upstream sector, has been deepened.

Indeed, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote, noted that the in-country capacity would help in tracking pipeline leak locations through an automated system.

According to him, the centre will be assembling any production facility’s pipeline processes and mobile production units, which are very essential in the country’s aspiration to increase oil and gas production, particularly with the recent successful bid round of the marginal fields.

He added that most of the marginal fields would need the in-country solutions in order to go into production to realise their investments.

Coming on stream two years after its foundation laying was done in 2019, the integrated solutions-rendering facility, according to the Original Engineering Manufacturer (OEM) and oil and gas services provider, will help to increase Nigeria’s oil production volumes by tracking losses and their causes digitally.

The facility, the company said, would also help the country to curtail capital flight from huge foreign exchange (FX) spending on foreign made-valves, while equally opening up opportunities for more employment for Nigerians, especially its host community.

Built by an indigenous contractor, Megastar, the multi-million dollar centre of excellence inaugurated by Wabote is expected to enhance the utilisation of in-country capacities for the industrialisation of Nigeria.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of PE Energy Limited, Daere Akobo, the centre is a civil engineering workshop built to provide solutions and services in areas of automation, process and systems integration, valve assembling and actuation, metering systems, compressor solutions, and integrated services, amongst others.

“This place is a fulfilment of a lifetime dream. What we intend to do is to fill the gap that exists in the country. What I mean is that the country has an integration gap in the facility side of the business.

“So, what we are doing today reduces a lot of capital flight. In the past, a valve would come in here and we pay duties. But what you gain from the overseas working elements is more than the amount of money for duty. You probably pay five per cent of the total cost of the valves when you are to pay the duty. But you probably would have gained more than 40 per cent if the valves are being actuated and assembled here in Nigeria. Now, look at the multiple effects. It’s actually more than a quadruple effect because one employee in Nigeria is equivalent to four employees as part of the Nigerian labour law.

“A number of people are doing welding work, a number of people are doing civil engineering work, but this is the heart of the final control element. What this place is to do is civil engineering work, this is the heart of final control elements.

“This centre is designed to have full integration, from the wellhead all the way to the pipeline. So, for us, what we say is that we are responsible. We have a technology that is responsible for finding the oil,” Akobo said.