By Solomon Asowata
Lagos, Aug. 8, 2020 The Federal Government has begun the feasibility study for the construction of a shipyard on Brass Island in Bayelsa.
The Minister of State for Petrolem Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, confirmed the development in a statement posted on the Twitter account of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) on Saturday.
Sylva said that the feasibility study would cater for the maintenance and repair services of cargo vessels, oil tankers and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carriers.
He said it would be executed by China Harbour Engineering Company, which had carried out similar projects across the globe as well as in Nigeria.
According to him, the feasibility study will be funded by the NCDMB as part of its overarching mandate to domicile key oil and gas industry infrastructure and increase retention of industry spend.
“The scope of the feasibility study includes geotechnical and bathymetric surveys, conducting a market study and ascertaining an optimal construction scale.
“It also includes developing technical proposal and construction plan and estimation of the required investment to bring the project into reality, ” he said.
The minister noted that the high traffic of vessels in and out of Nigeria provided huge opportunity to retain substantial value in-country through the provision of dry-dock services.
He said that the shipyard project would further develop and harness the nation’s position in the oil and gas value chain and linkage to other sectors of the economy.
On shipyard prospects, Sylva said that the Nigeria LNG’s Train 7 project was expected to increase the company’s LNG capacity from 22MTPA to 30MTPA.
He said this would induce the acquisition of additional LNG carriers to the existing ones, all of which would need maintenance and servicing.
The minister added that the project would also benefit from the upcoming Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) implementation as Nigeria could serve as hub for ship-building and repairs.
He expressed confidence that the outcome of the feasibility study and subsequent construction and operation of the shipyard would create employment opportunities and contribute to poverty reduction.
Mr Simbi Wabote, NCDMB Executive Secretary, said that the Brass Shipyard and other ongoing efforts to catalyse manufacturing would help the board achieve the target of 70 per cent Nigerian Content by 2027.
Wabote confirmed that the project was driven by the NCDMB in conjunction with NLNG as a Capacity Development Initiative (CDI) on the back of the Train 7 Project.
He noted that Nigeria has a long coastline of 853 kilometers and navigable inland waterways of 3,000 kilometers, which offer immense potential for maritime sector development, stressing that Brass coastline, was very close to the Atlantic Ocean.
Wabote disclosed that there ”are over 20,000 ships working for the oil and gas sector in Nigerian waters and the annual spend was over $600 million in the upstream sector.”
He said the oil sector spent 3.047 billion dollars on marine vessels between 2014 and 2018 while 73 per cent of the total amount spent went to crew boats, security vessels, diving support vessels and fast supply intervention vessels.
He said that most of the vessels operating in the oil industry were taken to Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroun and other countries for dry docking because Nigeria’s local dry docks were built many years ago and no longer provide the required services.
He added that the project’s schedule indicated that the site work would be executed within six months while feasibility study would be completed in four months.