Indigenous service companies have been asked to be involved in the construction of $14 billion Dangote Oil Refinery as a way of avoiding enormous capital flight from Nigeria.
However, the Project Consultant for Dangote Refinery, Mr. Babajide Shodoye, in a telephone interview with Vanguard, regretted the capital flight, but insisted that there was not enough competence in Nigeria.
“It (capital flight) is true, but sad. But where are they going to do it in Nigeria? Let us know where they can fabricate the components,” Shodoye said.
According to him, the company would not compromise competence in favour of local content development.
“Refinery construction is based on licensed patented technology. So, how much of this technology exists in Nigeria? The last time such was done in Nigeria was 30 years ago and it was not done by any Nigerian company. In other words, none of these things have been done by Nigeria,” he said.
But Nigerian firms, under the auspices of the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria, PETAN, maintained that its members have capacity to deliver.
PETAN Chairman, Mr. Bank-Anthony Okoroafor, told Vanguard exclusively: “PETAN companies have the capacity and capability to fabricate facilities and even pipe coating.
“So for the interest of our country and for our survival, those millions of dollars should not be used to provide jobs for two to three thousand jobs abroad when those jobs can be provided within the the country.”
Okoroafor noted that the 1,000-barrel capacity Niger Delta refinery was built by Nigerians.
“There are many components of a refinery. There is a tank farm, that would have several storage tanks; we have storage tanks for crude, and storage tanks for finished products.
“They would have pipelines. There are pipelines instrumentations, civil engineering works, metering, and all these components can be done by PETAN companies. So when you give these jobs to Nigerian companies, this money is going to reside in the country. That is what we refer to as value added local content. We are not moving the dollars international, we are empowering Nigerians,” Okoroafor said.
As a result of the numerous applications, Shodoye said interested Nigerian firms were urged to form associations and liaise with foreign partners, particularly Engineers India Ltd. (EIL) to execute the jobs.
“Eil has done almost 47 refineries. In a real sense, it has about 50 years experience,” Shodoye said.