*Photo L-R: Executive Secretary Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe and Deputy Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr. Cosmas Iwueze after the visit of Chevron officials to the Nigerian Content Tower, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Friday.*
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has restated its commitment to accelerated approvals of requests and documents submitted to it by operating oil and gas companies. The goal is to ensure speedy development of oil and gas projects and contribute to increased oil production and improved national economy.
The Executive Secretary NCDMB, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe gave the assurance on Friday at the Nigerian Content Tower, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State when he received senior officials from Chevron Nigeria Limited led by the Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Cosmas Iwueze.
The Executive Secretary conveyed the Board’s willingness to improve on the timelines set by the Service Level Agreement (SLA) instituted by the Board, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPC Ltd) and international oil companies for shortening the contracting cycle for oil and gas projects.
He reiterated his proposal for the setting up of technical working groups (TWGs) between the representatives of the NCDMB and respective international oil firms. The working groups could meet monthly or quarterly to evaluate the companies’ expectations from the NCDMB on their projects. The intent, he explained is “to resolve contentious issues, close all the gaps and come to an agreement before the official correspondences are received. That will ensure quick turn-around and approvals will be dealt with quickly and that will help to cut downtime.”
Emphasising the need for all oil and gas companies to comply with the provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act, the Executive Secretary promised that the Board will accede to cogent urgent requests from companies to avoid delays that could cause costs overruns, impact negatively on oil and gas operations and the economy at large.
He encouraged the companies to see NCDMB as partners in progress, adding: “we want to create the enabling environment that will minimize conflicts with international oil companies (IOCs) and attract investments into the sector. We want to create employment opportunities for our youths and help achieve the economic objectives of President Bola Tinubu. We want to make international oil companies comfortable and reverse the exit of foreign investors because they create jobs, and we need all hands on the deck.”
Ogbe revealed that he had long and successful career with Chevron Nigeria and remarked that the hallmark of the company is teamwork. He noted that NCDMB operates with the same core value, hence the Board is determined to support oil companies to accomplish their operational goals. “We have to make sure that you succeed otherwise we will not be successful,” he added.
The Executive Secretary confirmed that NCDMB under his watch will not emphasise the use of sanctions, rather will seek to dialogue with companies to achieve win-win situations. “We will be flexible regarding your requests, but we all need to have open minds and look at the critical paths that will ensure that we make progress and produce effectively,” he said.
Contributing, the Director, Planning Research and Statistics, NCDMB, Mr. Isaac Yalah, commended Chevron Nigeria for supporting the Board’s development of the Nigerian Content Research Centre of Excellence at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), in Ondo State. He affirmed that the Board will continue to collaborate with Chevron on other projects and would address any issues relating to requests for expatriate quota approvals.
Responding, the Deputy Managing Director of Chevron Nigeria, Mr. Cosmos Iwunze commended the Executive Secretary for adopting the mantra of collaboration and pushing to increase crude oil production in Nigeria. He highlighted the importance producing crude oil at competitive costs, noting that the primary aspiration of oil companies and the Federal Government is to ramp up Nigeria’s crude oil production volumes and shore up the revenue accruing to the national coffers.
The Deputy Managing Director emphasised the need to incentivise investments in the oil and gas sector. He explained that international oil and gas companies in Nigeria compete for capital with their sister operations in other oil producing nations. He said: “The capital we need for big oil and gas investments is domiciled with global investors. We need to always present Nigeria as an investor friendly destination where people can come and do business.”
He also confirmed that the company was working on some major projects, relating to deepwater and Escravos gas-to liquids (EGTL) and he looked forward to receiving the Board’s support and collaboration when the projects come for consideration and approvals.