ABUJA, Nigeria -- Offshore oil and gas projects are becoming larger and more complex as developments move into deeper water, and local Nigerian companies need to acquire the skills to participate. Aloy Chiege of Cameron discussed the topic at the Offshore West Africa Conference & Exhibition on March 20. "Deepwater offshore activities present a golden opportunity," he said.
Nigeria's objective is to increase the local content requirement from 45% in 2006 to 70% in 2010. "The big question," Chiege said, "is 'Can it be achieved?' "
Increasing local content is a challenge, Chiege said, because there is a shortage of manpower, a need to develop skills, to build capacity, and to develop infrastructure. The 70% local content goal is ambitious, but it is not impossible, he said.
Chiege noted other countries have achieved high levels of local content, citing Norway, Brazil, and Malaysia as success stories.
Despite his optimism, Chiege said, Nigeria presents particular challenges. He listed the unpredictable market environment, the high cost of investment, and the need to balance investment, risk, and reward as examples of potential stumbling blocks.
Chiege discussed several local content milestones Cameron has achieved in Nigeria to show that the objectives are reasonable. Most significant among them are achievements reached ruing the Erha project. "Manifolds for Erha were fabricated and assembled in country," he said. This achievement provides experience upon which to build local competence, Chiege said.
The primary ingredient for success is willingness to spend money to train local people. Speaking on behalf of Cameron, Chiege said, "Our biggest investment has been in our people."