18 March 2014, Lagos – The Nigerian Institute of welding (NIW) has lamented the action of the Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (Total E&P) in constituting itself into an approving and regulating agency in the Nigeria Oil and Gas industry.
The National President of the NIW, Dr. Solomon Iyobosa Edebiri, said this while commending the decision of the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMD) to clamp down on the company for violating the principles that set up the Nigeria Content Act.
The NCDMB had wielded the big stick against Total E&P by stopping the company’s Ofon II project.
The board also banned Italian engineering, construction and drilling contractor, Saipem as well as Hyundai Heavy Industry (HHI) of Korea, the contractor for Total E&P from participating in the ongoing and future tendering processes in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
He said that Total E&P’s attitude is creating unhealthy business practices which encourage unprofessional local capacity development in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
According to Dr. Edebiri, the Federal government should go a step further by ordering Total E&P to review its internal processes in the involvement of Nigerians in various fields in line with the provision of the Nigeria Content Act as it relates to welding and related fields.
He insisted that what is happening in the industry right now, if not checked, will kill the local content drive which the Nigeria Content Act is established to encourage.
Dr. Edebiri disclosed that some offshore projects belonging to the company, such as the Akpo, USAM, OFON phase II and Obage upgrade projects have not supported the local content drive as enshrined in the act as it relates to welding and fabrication.
He said that such actions kill the drive and development effort of Nigerians.
The NIW president urged Total E&P and other international oil companies to take a cue from Snepco a subsidiary of Shell Petroleum Company which encourages local capacity building and participation in the oil and gas sector.
He said that with the support of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the NIW has developed competent capacity in welding engineering, welding inspection, non-destructive testing (NDT), underwater welding, underwater intervention techniques, welding coordination, welding instructions, welding supervision and international welders to support the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
Edebiri therefore wondered why Total E&P is still encouraging the use of foreign nationals to the detriment of competent Nigerian professionals, adding that very soon there will be no need for the involvement of foreign nationals in welding activities in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
– Segun James, This Day