Nicolas Terraz, Chairman/MD, Total Nigeria
By Felix Douglas
Total, as an International Oil Company (IOC), did the unusual by projecting Nigerian Content Act through the Egina FPSO that was fully integrated in Nigeria. At present, Egina has become the darling of the oil industry in Nigeria owing to its immense value and creation of job opportunities for indigenous oil companies. The project which startled industry operators including other multinationals, is believed to be a leading light for the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Act (NOGIC)
In his industry address at the 8th Practical Nigerian Content (PNC) Forum. Managing Director of Total, Nicolas Terraz, opined that as a key industry forum, PNC has over the years, provided a very important platform for key government functionaries and stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, to brainstorm and proffer practical solutions to drive the attainment of collective and national aspirations for developing local content across the Nigerian oil and gas value chain.
The Total boss said, since its establishment in 2010, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has successfully created the push and motivation needed for business continuity in-country and recorded some impressive and continuous improvements in all facets of oil and gas operations.
For instance, under the leadership of the NCDMB, the industry has evolved a practical framework for the implementation of the NOGICID Act which has its 8th anniversary in 2018. According to him “With other stakeholders, we have successfully aggravated a sizeable fund – the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) – running into several millions of dollars, for collective strategic capacity development interventions.”
Total has long been part of the drive to develop local skills and capacity in the industry. The steady increase of the percentage of total man-hours worked in Nigeria for its deepwater projects like Akpo which recorded 44%; Usan 60% and Egina project took it to a whole new level by achieving 77%
Terraz revealed that when Egina project was launched, there was a bold decision made with regards to the integration of some key components of the FPSO in Nigeria and this has had a very significant impact on the development of local competencies. The arrival of the 330- meter long FPSO in Lagos for integration of the six topside modules at the SHI-MCI Yard, Lagos, before its final sail away to the Egina field has changed the game as far as the execution of deep offshore oil and gas projects in the country is concerned.
The project gave room for a world class facility with a 500-meter FPSO integration quayside that was constructed at the newly built SHI-MCI Yard on LADOL Island, changing the activities possible in-country because, before now, this was not possible in Nigeria. Six topsides of the Egina modules of the FPSO have successfully integrated in Lagos and the company is proud of this achievement.
During the Egina development phase, the project brought in many first-of-its-kind developments to the oil and gas project infrastructure available in the country.
In addition to the integration quay and new yard facilities, several other existing fabrication facilities, such as Aveon Offhore Yard, EWT, SCNL and PCNL, all in Port Harcourt, saw a facelift and expansion in their respective capacities. Other yards like Nigerdock and Dormann Long were assigned significant parts of the local content scope on the project.
There is also the GNI Automation facility in Ikeja Lagos where several components of the Integrated Control and Safety System (ICSS) were fabricated and assembled. These local companies have increased their capacities and expertise, thus ensuring retention of billions of dollars in the Nigerian economy.
Terraz added that over 24 million man-hours would have been spent in-country at the end of the project phase and this translates into direct employment for a large number of skilled and semi-skilled personnel, as well as in-direct employment.
As a matter of fact, in a few weeks, Total’s Egina project will add another 200 000 bopd, which is approximately 10% of Nigeria’s current production. This will significantly increase the income accruing to the Nigerian economy.
Apart from the Egina project, Terraz said Total also has established CSR initiatives in Nigeria with many also geared towards capacity building. The company ventures beyond its immediate areas to operations and its host communities to include other parts of Nigeria.
On the aspect of education, Total scholarships at all levels: primary, post-primary, and post-secondary, and this includes national and international scholarships for some categories with over 50 000 beneficiaries since inception.
The company has also invested in the establishment of world class training facilities, Research and Development centres of Excellence including the Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS) at the University of Port Harcourt. IPS is sponsored by NNPC/TEPNG Joint Venture and in partnership with the Petroleum school in France, the IFP, it has produced more than 506 world class graduates since inception. Statistics show that employment rate of these graduates is at 96%, testifying to the international standard of education they receive.
Another programme sponsored by Total is the MIT-Empowering The Teachers fellowship to boost capacity of lecturers from local universities in Nigeria. over sixty professors from Nigerian universities have been sponsored to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US since 2010 to acquire new teaching methods and facilitate the development of new curriculum and approaches to problem solving and entrepreneurial skills.
Other capacity development schemes include training of youths in various skills. Over 1000 youths are trained annually and those trained are supported with starter packs to enable them establish small and medium scale businesses, thereby boosting the local economy while also improving livelihoods.
While these achievements are remarkable, as the company makes progress on its Nigerian Content Development (NCD) journey, the authorities and key players of the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry need to work together to achieve even more significant legacy projects that are consistent with its NCD objectives.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2018 between the NCDMB and OPTS on Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a demonstration that the company can sustain existing collaboration between regulators and other government authorities that affect stakeholders on issues of Nigerian Content performance.
It is believed that the Total story will continue to be a foot hold in Nigeria’s history for a long time.