Local Content: Indigenous firm blazes trail in HDD technology

Horizontal Directional Drilling, TechnologyHorizontal Directional Drilling, TechnologyHorizontal Directional Drilling, TechnologyHDD technology28 January 2014, Lagos – The Loc al Content Initiative of the Federal Government is yielding greater results, as indigenous firms are gradually gaining global recognition through their exemplary performance in Horizontal Directional Drilling, HDD Technology, in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

Recently, Fenog Nigeria Limited, FNL, with the aid of two HDD rigs-PD 250 and PD500, set a new world record in the oil and gas sector with the gas pipelines project awarded to it by oil major, the Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC.

The management of NAOC, the Nigerian unit of Italian Eni, was probably impressed by the performance of Fenog in the NNPC/Chevron’s job in the Escravos river crossing, challenged Fenog to send gas pipelines across the Kwale end to ObOb end of the river, a distance measuring 2.82 kilometres.

The trunkline project, designed to convey gas from the various fields of NAOC in Kwale and its environs, to ObOb Gas Station to Bonny plant of LNG and beyond was awarded in February 2013.

Fenog completed the job within six weeks despite the challenges posed by flood in the area in 2013.

The company eventually gained access into the site on November 10.However, the job was completed by December 30, 2013, with the pipes laid 33 metres under the river from the entry point at Kwale to the exit point at ObOb across the turbulent river, with the combined forces of PD 250HDD rig and PD 500HDD rig.

Pioneering technology

As the pioneer user of the HDD technology in the industry, Fenog in August 2010, successfully laid gas pipes across the 1.7-kilometre Escravos River in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.

The feat was a novel achievement by an indigenous company in the nation’s oil industry. But that feat was a tip of the iceberg as the company had gone ahead to acquire seven HDD rigs and laid 24″ pipes across 2.82-kilometre/ObOb Kwale River in Delta State for NAOC to boost gas supply and distribution.

Despite the challenges posed by the new technology and agitations by the host communities, a team of Fenog’s engineers and technicians delivered within three months.

For the first time in the oil and gas industry, the PD 250 HDD technology successfully placed 24” pipes 42 metres under the water across the 1.7km across the river, from the entry point to the terminal point in Madagho, an Itsekiri community, Warri South West LGA of Delta State.

The prevailing world record was 1.2-kilometre river crossing. For setting a new world record, the company received accolades in the industry.

Speaking on the significance of the NAOC project, Engineer Chukwudi Uwakwe, General Manager, Fenog Nigeria, said no company had been able to achieve the record, adding that with the NAOC’s Gas trunkline project completed, Fenog had recorded another first in the oil and gas sector.

Uwakwe said, “The significance of this project is that it is a trunkline to convey gas from Kwale flow station to ObOb Gas Plant and to Bonny LNG and beyond. So it is an economic value line that Agip has put in place to ensure that gas is convened from Kwale to ObOb Gas Station to LNG.

“Fenog carries the flag of local content policy of the government because no company in Nigeria and even in the whole world, can be able to do this kind of project for now. A 24-inch by 2.82 kilometres river crossing is a challenging work and Fenog is showing an example to all Nigerian companies that we have the capacity and we are equally encouraging them to come up and build capacity to train Nigerians because this job was done by Nigerians and it was 100 per cent done by Fenog Nigeria Limited.

“We are using this medium to tell the Federal Government to encourage local companies so that they can be able to come up with standards that can be able to promote the local content.

“The local companies in Nigeria will develop Nigeria. If there is any project at all they should first consider Nigerian companies and this will help us to build capacity,” Uwakwe added. To sustain Fenog’s innovative local content strides and place it ahead of other operators, Uwakwe said the management of the indigenous oil firm had acquired seven HDD rigs in the categories of PD 150, 250, 350 and 500 HDD rigs as well as an Offshore and Deep Water Barge (Akpevweoghene), with the capacity to lay pipes from 2″ to 60″ offshore/deepwater, among others. Elated about the acquisition of a PD350 HDD rig, Uwakwe said, “PD350 HDD rig is different because we call it a Versatile Rig. Apart from the normal drilling which every other rig can do, it is also used for pulling, pushing, thrust-boring, tunneling and it has the ability to grab and push and overcome any force.

“The operation of PD 350 HDD rig is all-encompassing. It is the first of its kind in the whole world. We (Fenog) told the manufacturers what they would do for us and they came up with it and it is the latest of the HDD technology.”

Curtailing criminal activities

The company’s huge investment in the acquisition of latest technology, especially in pioneering underground pipelaying in the country, Uwakwe said, was conceived to salvage the oil industry, particularly to assist and collaborate with the authorities to curtail the unwholesome acts of crude oil theft.

Describing the HDD as being of ‘immensurable value’, Uwakwe added that the acquisition of the equipment is part of the company’s contribution to the ongoing war against sabotage activities in the oil industry.

Also speaking, Fenog’s Executive Director, Mr. Mathew Tonlagha, recalled how the company used the Continuous Horizontal Directional Drilling, CHDD, for one of its ongoing crude oil pipeline project within the Escravos region. He noted that this pipeline will be the most secured in Nigeria.

Tonlagha also lauded the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke’s initiative to empower Nigerian companies, which he said rekindled hope for the indigenous players.To this end, he expressed delight that the management of NAOC deemed it fit to patronise Fenog in line with the local content policy and urged other multinationals to emulate Agip.

Tonlagha further said, “We have just completed the project for Agip to take gas from Delta State to Rivers State with our HDD rigs within six weeks and that project is one of the biggest pipeline project that Agip has embarked upon to contribute to the optimal use of gas resources in the country.

“We are not getting a fair share yet as the leading Nigerian contractor in HDD by way of patronage but we are encouraged by the disposition and actions of the Hon. Minister of Petroleum, who came to Delta State to commission our offshore badge.That shows that there is hope because of the encouragement from the Minister of Petroleum. And that has sent signals to the oil companies that they need to give us jobs to sustain this drive.
*Michael Eboh – Vanguard

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