‘Pipeline infrastructure, local content critical to gas development’
The over 202 trillion standard cubic feet deposit of gas in Nigeria could significantly improve economic development if the resource is harnessed for domestic benefits, Chairman of Oilserv Limited, Emeka Okwuosa, has said.
Speaking with The Guardian in Abuja, Okwuosa noted that massive investment in infrastructure, especially pipelines would unlock the resources to strengthen manufacturing and other industries.
Okwuosa also stressed the need for local content development in the process, adding that development would address unemployment and create value addition for other sectors.
Okwuosa, who spoke on the sidelines of a tour of the ongoing construction of the Ajaokuta – Kaduna – Kano line, noted that protection of pipelines, especially with technology is necessary to curb activities of vandals.
“The bottom line is local content is very crucial to national development,” Okwuosa stressed, adding, “We deploy local capacity in all our processes. Our vehicles are from a local manufacturer -Innoson Motor. We have engaged local people, even from this community.”
To him, since gas is different from oil, in the sense that gas usage is compulsorily linked to the development of infrastructure, in order to move it from the point of production to the point of optimisation, the country has no option other than to encourage investment in gas infrastructure.
“That is where pipelines come in. You need a pipeline backbone. Now, the NNPC is working with the Ministry of petroleum resources to conceptualise the Nigerian Gas Master Plan, which is meant to be the basis for pipeline infrastructure development.
“I can tell you that Oilserv has been involved from the beginning. We built the OB-3 gas pipeline, which our section has been commissioned. We are building the AKK. We also built all the gas pipeline systems for power plants. We also built the entire gas distribution system in Lagos and that’s why Lagos industries are working today.
“Gas is very crucial. We have it in abundance. As a country, we should not just be packaging it and giving it to develop other countries. We should develop our capacity to utilize this gas and that’s why the gas pipeline is important,” he said.
According to him, So, one strategic thing about this particular project is the fact the surveillance system has been built around the pipeline, which we have not seen in other situation, can you speak to the areas or the ways in which we can actually protect a pipeline in this country, maybe gas pipeline for products have approved? How do we solve that particular problem?
Citing the company’s experience in the sector as well as the deployment of fibre optic detection system for the AKK pipeline, Okwuosa stressed the need to protect the pipeline infrastructure in the country.
Okwuosa had noted that over 10 per cent of the AKK project had been completed in the first phase that spanned over 13 kilometres, with payment fully made.
He observed that the personnel and tools for the job were almost 100 per cent locally sourced.
The chairman asserted that the deployment exceeded an extant local content threshold.
While most Chinese-funded schemes had in the past been executed by expatriates, Okwuosa clarified that the most sophisticated technology had been mobilised in deference to local content.
“The things we have to buy overseas of course are things we cannot manufacture here. We are abiding by that. The materials and vehicles are from here. Most of our vehicles are from Innoson. So, local content is exemplified,” he said.
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