Speaking during a visit to the proposed site for the PEM Offshore Simulation and Innovation Center, supported by Kongsberg, Mr. Rolf Ree, Royal Norwegian Ambassador, said the country will help promote technology transfer and drive local content in the maritime and petroleum sector.
He said the efforts of Norway in driving growth and advancement in Nigeria’s maritime industry over the years, have not been successful, expressing confidence that the partnership with PEM Offshore will help link the competencies of Norwegian companies with their Nigerian counterparts.
He said Norway has been known as a maritime nation and is happy with the partnership with PEM Offshore in setting up the Simulation Centre.
Also speaking, Mr. Philips Matthew, Senior Vice President, Americas/Africa, said the simulation centre will help reduce the cost organisations spend in the training of their personnel abroad by 50 percent.
He said, “Organisations spent between N1.2 million and N2 million per personnel in sending them overseas for competent training and certification in Marine and Offshore Simulation Courses. With the Simulation Centre, organisations will only have to spend about half of that amount on the training of their staff. This is the same training they get overseas.”
He said the Simulation Centre has achieved 60 percent completion, and it is targeting March 2014 for the final take off of the centre.
He disclosed that majority of the materials for the centre is being produced from Norway and in the next couple of weeks, the materials will be brought into the country for the final set up. He said the partnership with Kongsberg has ensured that the certification issued is of international standard, empowering trainees to practice in Norway and anywhere around the world, not just in Nigeria.
Matthew said the centre aims to bridge the knowledge gap in the maritime sector as well as in the oil and gas sector, adding that it will help save time and resources.
He noted that in line with the aspiration of Kongsberg, the simulation centre will be the hub of the maritime, oil and gas sector in West Africa, as well as the entire Gulf of Guinea.
Matthew stated that the centre is not designed to take away the business of expatriates but will promote partnership between Nigeria and the expatriates and help in technology transfer.
According to him, local content development can not be achieved in Nigeria until emphasis is placed on technology transfer, training and in-country sale.
PEM Offshore had a couple of months ago, signed a multi-million dollar contract with Kongsberg Maritime for the supply of a full suite of Offshore Anchor Handling, Dynamic Positioning, Power Management and Crane Simulation systems.
The new simulators will form the main infrastructure for a world-class offshore simulation training centre and the first of its kind in Nigeria and West Africa.
*Michael Eboh, Vanguard