By CHIKA IZUORA, Lagos
Despite initial delay experienced in the timeline originally scheduled for the takeoff of the N76.25 billion ($250 million) power generation and equipment manufacturing for the oil and gas sector, the project may take off in January 2018.
LEADERSHIP reliably gathered that the project conceived and financed by global energy solution company, General Electric, GE, ran into initial hiccup following crashing oil price as well as other challenges rocking the country’s oil and gas sector.
The manufacturing and assembly facility, located in Calabar, Cross River state is currently under construction and presently, the most visible sign of GE’s commitment in helping the country deal with her energy crises.
On completion, LEADERSHIP learnt, the Calabar multi-modal facility will create 2300 jobs of which will be direct and the remaining 2000 jobs indirect created through supplies that will support its expanded operations
GE is investing $250 million capital expenditure into the project to turn Nigeria into a regional hub for the manufacturing services and innovation with improved ability to support a broader range of product lines in power generation as well as oil and gas exploration.
The investment is over the next five years and is aimed at strengthening GE local presence in Nigeria, creating direct and indirect jobs through supplier development, and technology transfer.
Equally, the investment will significantly increase the local content of GE operations in Nigeria by increasing local ownership of equipment in the country project execution expertise and use of local legal, financial and engineering services.
Apart from the gigantic project,the company is also doing fabrication of subsea wellheads at its Onne facility in Rivers state. This is the culmination of 4 years of planning, capital investment and training of Nigerian personnel to establish the first- of- its- kind capability in the country.
LEADERSHIP also gathered that the investment has resulted in a 40 per cent increase of covered workshop area at Onne facility.
Confirming these in separate interviews with LEADERSHIP in Lagos, chief executive officer, CEO, Sub-Sahara Africa of GE, Elisee Sezan, said the Calabar facility is being designed to transform the country’s oil and gas sector by building in-country capacity for critical equipment repair to save the country much foreign exchange used in repairs abroad. Sezan said, the group has supported the country to tackle its power sector problem by investing in equipment and repair of critical power sector infrastructure.
He said GE, has expanded its partnership and closely working with owners of privatised assets to ramp up power production. He listed assets collaborating with the GE to include, Ogorode, Benin, Omotosho, Olorunsogo and the Alaoji power plants. According to him, the new technology that GE provides is currently helping operators in Nigeria and others in the continent to reach their long term goals.
Giving specific example, Sezan said GE had assisted Transcorp to revive one of its power generating facilities to help it generate power optimally. Also, GE, executive service director, power services, Nigeria, Ahmad Zakari, that intervention of the company will help Africa connect to over 600 million peoples currently not connected to the grid system.
Zakari also said that GE is investing significantly in Digital Power Plants, that will help firms capture data, reduce operational loss by predicting machine performance and take possible action before machine breakdown.
LEADERSHIP reports that most recently, GE, commenced the execution of phase 1 of the Nigeria Fast Power Program at Afam, a $186 million order to deliver 240 Mega Watts, MW, of power. Additionally, the company entered a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with the northern state governor’s forum to generate 500 MW of Solar power across seven northern states to boost power supply.
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