By Emmanuella Anokam
The Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc has unveiled its first prototype boat with applications and oil industry standard to be used as crew boat for International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other oil producers.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Olabode Makanjola, made this known on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking with newsmen on the sidelines of the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas (NOG) conference.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference has its theme as: “Funding the Nigerian Energy Mix for Sustainable Economic Growth.”
Makanjola said the 40-seater water bus would also support marine transport, especially in Lagos and other riverine areas.
He added that it would address traffic congestion in the country while moving people around safely.
“We were able to build our first prototype boat with oil industry standard and applications which could be used as crew boat for the IOCs and other oil producers in Lagos, Delta and other areas.
“We are targeting to explore all the riverine areas. We have got interest from Akwa Ibom and Bonny Island in Rivers.
“Initially, we thought of working with the Lagos State Government in supplying and maintaining a vessel because it cost so much in bringing in high quality vessel.
“We discovered that though there were boat yards in Delta and Rivers states with operators but people feel unsafe because a lot of boats in the market were of low quality and unsafe.
“We decided to invest in the community with positive things. We are constantly being checked in terms of ensuring that we meet the right level of safety,” he said.
Makanjola said in terms of diversification it sought out problems or looked out for where there were challenges and opportunities to develop the sector as regards to local content training.
He said the offshore logistic company that operated both in aviation and marine in 1999 with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) also began Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) LPG distribution programme in 2004.
According to him, it moved into the aviation space with the support of Nigeria Content Development and Management Board (NCDMB) and Shell and was able to break into that market which it currently uphold 70 per cent of the market.
“We first got into helicopter because we realised that there were no Nigerians in that sector and we conquered.
“We realised that aviation sector was struggling with Maintenance and Repair Overhaul (MRO) facility as well as training so we built the first business repair and overhaul centre in Nigeria.
“This basically means that we do not have to fly out any of our aircraft for major repair, we can strip our aircraft down for major report the idea is to create a hub in Sub-Saharan Africa for this sort of operation,” he said.
He said it was committed on training, especially when local content was concerned adding that initially 80 per cent of its pilots were expatriates but currently 95 per cent were Nigerians mostly trained by Caverton.
“Under the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta we trained a lot of pilots, a lot are flying with us today.
“We fly them out to Dubai, Europe, U. S. A for training, these facilities are difficult to come by and space is very limited we also designed a module using simulator to train and fly over the country.
Makanjola said it was focused on developing more training capacities and offering third-party maintenance in marine and offshore activities to spur economic diversification and growth. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma