Regardless of current economic downturn in most African countries, the United Kingdom has indicated plans to partner with Nigeria in the growth and development of companies operating in the industry, particularly in the oil and gas sector.
The indication emerged Thursday during the official visit of a high-powered British government delegation to the Apapa base of the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL).
The seven-man delegation was led by newly posted UK Trade Envoy to Nigeria, John Howell, accompanied by the United Kingdom High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright and his acting Deputy High Commissioner, Ahmed Bashir.
The team was received by the Managing Director of the indigenous logistics service provider, Dr. Amy Jadesimi, who conducted them round the base where LADOL is currently playing host as the local content partner to Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) in the fabrication of a $3.8 billion oil platform.
Speaking shortly after the tour, Howell, who expressed delight at the level of jobs being done in the yard, said the United Kingdom would be willing to partner with LADOL possibly in the areas of finance, trainings and technology transfer.
“I am here because I’ve just been posted as the UK Trade envoy to Nigeria. As sign of commitment that UK has to Nigeria, and the way to develop trade between our two countries.
“We are hoping to bring in here the expertise that is in place in UK, to be able to work with Nigeria, to be able to work with Nigerian companies, to be able to take advantage of that to the benefit of all, because the more the prosperity that is generated in Nigeria, the better for the British government as well”, he said.
The envoy who lauded the initiative in undertaking the project otherwise known as Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) to LADOL base, described the facility as meeting world class in modern oil and gas undertakings.
“From what I’ve seen here, I’m very impressed with the facilities here, the state of the art equipment, some of the very best you can find anywhere, and we are told its first of its kind in the whole of Africa. That speaks volumes of Amy’s visionary approach towards the whole idea of investments and developments here, which I’m sure, is going to take the centre stage in the future.
“With this project as first of its kind here, it tells me that we (UK) are dealing with somebody who is very visionary about how to address issues of development in Nigeria. It tells us about somebody who is in the fore-ront of being able to galvanize the finance, the interest of companies around the world to be able to put together, such an enormous operation. Such an enormous operation that has fantastic confidence in itself which is something I think we desperately need to bring to Nigeria,” he said.
While calling on the Nigerian government to continue to support LADOL in sustaining the development, the envoy said the outcome of his visit has put him in a good stead to adequately advise his home government as well as British companies to partner with Nigeria in bringing further development to the country.
“Looking at initiatives such as this, I can confidently go back and talk to some of our companies, particularly in the oil and gas industry to consider partnership with LADOL. They (should) not just work on what they see on paper, but what is actually happening on the ground and that spells volumes to companies to actually see somebody that’s been there at top stage and can really talk about it,” he said.
Earlier while taking the team round the base, the LADOL boss informed the special envoys that the company, which is the only 100% indigenous in Nigeria particularly in the oil and gas industry, was developed from the swamp about a decade ago.
She said apart from creating and domesticating jobs as well as contributing hugely to customs revenue generation, the base has no doubt reaffirmed Nigeria’s position as oil and gas hub in West Africa.
While expressing delight at the visit of the UK team, Dr. Jadesimi expressed optimism that the development would help in informing British companies and the world at large, that the Oil and gas service sector in Nigeria is ready to fully take its pride of place.
“This was the first visit of the British Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria, the MP John Howell. The fact that LADOL was one of the few facilities he visited makes us proud and we aimed to show the British government the many opportunities there are for investment in Nigeria and the significant benefits British companies would gain by being in Nigeria which will become West Africa’s hub,” she said.
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