The effort of the federal government towards making gas accessible and affordable to Nigerians through its National gas master plan received a boost with the inauguration of a new ultra modern $150 million steel pipe mill by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, said the company established by SCC was a great milestone in a collective effort to promote and increase local content in the oil and gas sector.
He stated that it would also fast track effort transferring technology and technical capacity to Nigerian engineers and artisans as well as conserve the much needed foreign exchange.
He said: “Have always believed that it is only companies that have total faith in the capacity of an economy to grow and excel in mutual prosperity that will embark on such major investment like iron, pipes, steel, even in a situation of inadequate raw materials and energy supply as it is in this country.
“SCC, a company that has operated in Nigeria since 1976 has satisfactorily demonstrated it faith and believe in the Nigeria project. From its humble beginning as a medium line engineering and construction company, mainly engaged in infrastructure and development project, hydro power dam, water, road construction….it has metamorphose into a frontline manufacturing and a construction giant.”
The president stressed that SCC venturing into steel pipe manufacturing speaks volume about the company’s readiness to key into Nigeria’s ambition of developing local content capacity to promote Nigeria rapid industrial growth.
“In the face of our increasing demand for steel pipes which today stands at 1.2 million tons annually, the SCC pipes mill is expected to provide close to 10% of the nation’s oil and gas pipe demands which is about 100,000 tons annually.
“I will therefore commend SCC in this regard because having started operations two years ago with only fifty expertise staff, today you have about 250 Nigerians employ in the pipe factory with only four expatriates
“I particularly note your concern about the shortage of raw materials in Nigeria, obviously the comatose Ajaokuta Steel Company cannot satisfy your needs, the fact that you have to import rods , steel and other accessories will put pressure on your capacity,” the president added.
“Therefore, the government will continue to promote and protect such investments and all other effort aim at achieving industrial growth and social economic development by creating enabling environment and regularly putting in place policy measures which will safeguard local investment by banning imported products that are at times below quality,” Buhari noted.
The president remarked that he was aware that some major oil companies in Nigeria have placed order to about 100km pipelines to SCC, which he said would sustain the employment of Nigerians and create more opportunities for training
Earlier, SCC Director, Mr. Patrick Cole, said the company keyed into the policy of the federal government to increase local content by investing millions of US dollars to establish this pioneering pipe manufacturing factory for the manufacture of three-metre diameter double wielded helical water pipes across 75km for the Gurara water conveyance project.
He emphasised that the factory has since been upgraded and retooled to produce diverse sizes of steel pipes for the oil and gas industry in strict adherence to the quality requirements of the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Standards Organisation (ISO 9001).
Cole revealed that as of date, the company has successfully manufacture steel pipes of APC 5L specifications for Exxon Mobil, Chevron and AGIP.
“Not only have we retooled and upgraded the factory. SCC has taken a decisive action to increase the initial installed capacity of the steel pipe factory front 80,000 tons per annum to 280,00 tons. Per annum through the addiction of a brand new modern state of the art mill which will further ensure the capacity and capability to produce high quality steel pipes for the oil and gas industry,” he added.
Cole explained that the decision of SCC to continuously invest in Nigeria was a tribute of its strong belief in the vision of federal government for local content development, stressing that the company currently employs 400 Nigerians directly and thousands more down the line.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director, SCC, Mr. Yuval Levy said despite the steel company costing over $150 million, that SCC would also invest additional millions of dollars in the establishment of a pipe coating plant within the same factory premises, which would be completed by 2016.