NAOC: Poor financing hindering Nigerian firms in oil industry

The Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) Joint Venture, comprising Agip, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Oando, on Friday identified lack of funding as a major impediment to Nigerian companies operating in the oil and gas industry.

The JV partnership noted that it was important to look for ways to make funds available for Nigerian-owned ventures if the country was to achieve the projected self-sufficiency in executing ground-breaking contracts and projects.

Vice Chairman/Managing Director of NAOC, Mr. Lorenzo Fiorillo, who spoke in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital during a workshop organised for industry operators, said however, that the collaboration with three Nigerian banks had greatly minimised the problem.

The two-day workshop had as its theme ‘Business finance options for Nigerian oil and gas contractors’ and was attended by several government agencies and captains of industry.

“We urge you to key into this process by acquiring some space for your business activities,” he said.

He said: “This workshop is to further demonstrate our strong commitment to Nigerian content development through the implementation of various activities and partnerships that support and enhance the attainment of the Board’s overall objectives

“Over time, we have identified financing as a major gap in the ability of Nigerian companies to bid and execute contracts in the oil and gas industry.

“Consequently, in the last four years, NAOC has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on vendor financing schemes with three major banks in Nigeria- Stanbic Ibtc, UBA and Zenith in order to support her contractors in providing funds for the execution of projects and contracts awarded by the company.“

Represented by Tajudeen Adigun, General Manager Nigerian Content Development (NCD) of the JV, Fiorillo, said the workshop would expose the participants to various financing options available in the market.

In his comments, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Simbi Wabote, urged Nigerian companies to take advantage of some of specific strategic initiatives geared at encouraging assets ownership and participation by indigenous companies in the industry.

He said that the Equipment Component Manufacturing Initiative (ECMI) was created to encourage indigenous companies to venture into manufacturing of equipment, components, spare parts or accessories used for oil and gas operations.

Wabote added that the Nigeria Oil and Gas Park Scheme (NOGaPS) also envisions the establishment of world class industrial parks in the nine oil producing states and provide low-cost manufacturing hubs through provision of site and services.

“Already, the Board has acquired sites for these Parks in Imo, Cross River, Bayelsa, and Akwa Ibom states. Work has commenced earnestly in Bayelsa and Imo states. We are determined to finish construction of these parks within the next few years.