Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Strides Energy and Maritime Limited, Mr. Moritz Abazie, has lauded the Federal Government over the implementation of the Nigerian Content Law, stressing that it has recorded great success in creating new “home-grown” skills in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.Speaking in Lagos recently, the chief executive of the Port Harcourt-based oil and gas services company, however, noted that the Federal Government also needed to end the recurring issue of gas flaring in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector by enforcing stringent penalties against defaulting companies to make the practice unprofitable for them.
Abazie observed that the Nigerian Content Act has opened the floor for indigenous companies to prove to the world that they are capable of playing competitively in the international oil and gas scene. The Strides Energy and Maritime Ltd CEO observed that Nigerian companies, with the capacity to carry out contracts efficiently, are continually being marginalised before the Nigerian content policy came on board, saying that the level of implementation so far has been quite impressive.
According to him, the project could still be described as “work in progress” considering the compliance level by the International Oil Companies (IOCs), which, he said, has been satisfactory to a reasonable extent.
“The Nigerian Content Act has been quite effective and very useful because you cannot compare the present situation of local players with what it was before this policy came on stream.
“The implementation has been quite good so far but could be better. The point remains that with the policy, the law is well cut out because it was long overdue. But the good news is that it has come to stay and the IOCs are implementing it.”
Explaining further, he stated: “Before now, dredging services, which is one of our areas of core competencies, was a major hit. Nigerian companies were not given a chance. But it is something we could do efficiently. We have companies like former Willbros, Van Ord, Westminster Dredging, Dredging International and others in the sector.” These are multi-national companies and they made it look like a humongous task that no Nigerian company could even carry out. But with the Nigerian Content Act, the IOCs have been compelled to give Nigerian companies a chance.
“We have been given a chance and we are doing it and very well too. The oil is being produced with us providing the access in the same terrain they used to. Also, in pipeline construction both on-shore and off-shore, in mechanical installation, construction, fabrication, commissioning on-shore and off-shore, Nigerian companies have shown, to a great extent, that we can do these things if given the opportunity.”
However, he noted that some areas needed to be addressed if the recorded growth were to be sustained and improved upon, even as he pointed out that financial constraints remained a major challenge.
“Some companies will need financial support but in this area, the Nigerian financial market is yet to live up to expectations. This is important because these companies need to grow and develop into world-class companies capable of taking complex projects. This requires that they have the capacity, strategic assets, both physical and human resources, which are capital-intensive. This is where the financial market comes into play.
“But on government’s side, the laws are there; the monitoring agencies are doing their best ensuring that the laws are implemented. The IOCs are improving in compliance and we believe it will get better,” he said.
On the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), he noted “that the bill is a consolidation of all existing oil and gas laws in the country into a single legislation, with the introduction of some dramatic changes to things like the deep-water fiscal regime. This is meant to improve government income from the oil and gas sector and boost economic retention.