The Federal Government has commenced the feasibility study for the construction of a shipyard on Brass Island, Bayelsa State scheduled foe completion in four months.
Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, made this known in a statement put up on the Twitter account of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) on Saturday. He said that the feasibility study would cater for the maintenance and repair services of cargo vessels, oil tankers and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carriers.
He also disclosed that the project would be executed by China Harbour Engineering Company, which had carried out similar projects across the world. The feasibility study according to him, will be bank rolled by the NCDMB as part of its broad mandate to domicile key oil and gas industry infrastructure and increase retention of monies spent in the industry.
And as touching the scope of the project, he said “The scope of the feasibility study includes geotechnical and bathymetric surveys, conducting a market study and ascertaining an optimal construction scale. It also includes developing technical proposal and construction plan and estimation of the required investment to bring the project into reality.”
Furthermore, he disclosed that the Nigeria LNG’s Train 7 project was expected to increase the company’s LNG capacity from 22MTPA to 30MTPA thereby inducing the acquisition of additional LNG carriers to the existing ones, all of which would need maintenance and servicing.
Again, while acknowledging the high traffic of vessels in and out of Nigeria which provides huge opportunity to retain substantial value in the country through the provision of dry-dock services, said the project would further develop and harness the nation’s position in the oil and gas value chain and linkage to other sectors of the economy.
The under minister noted as well that the project would as well benefit from the upcoming Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) implementation as Nigeria could serve as hub for ship-building and repairs. And expressed confidence that the outcome of the feasibility study and subsequent construction and operation of the shipyard would create employment opportunities and contribute to poverty reduction.
In his contribution, Mr Simbi Wabote, NCDMB Executive Secretary, said that the Brass Shipyard and other ongoing efforts to accelerate manufacturing would help the board achieve the target of 70 per cent Nigerian Content by 2027. He confirmed that the project was driven by the NCDMB in conjunction with NLNG as a Capacity Development Initiative (CDI) on the back of the Train 7 Project.
He further posited that Nigeria has a long coastline of 853 kilometers and navigable inland waterways of 3,000 kilometers, which offer immense potential for maritime sector development, stressing that Brass coastline, was very close to the Atlantic Ocean.
And making a case for viability of the shipyard project, Wabote revealed that there ”are over 20,000 ships working for the oil and gas sector in Nigerian waters and the annual spend was over $600 million in the upstream sector, stressing that the oil sector spent 3.047 billion dollars on marine vessels between 2014 and 2018 while 73 per cent of the total amount spent went to crew boats, security vessels, diving support vessels and fast supply intervention vessels.