The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote has performed the groundbreaking ceremony of a pipe manufacturing plant at Polaku Bayelsa State, being promoted by AS Energies Limited.
The plant would manufacture Glass Reinforced Epoxy (GRE) and Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) pipes and has an estimated investment outlay of about N7.04 billion ($8.8million).
Speaking at the event which held last week, the Executive Secretary commended the Management of AS Energies Limited and its subsidiary, African Star Manufacturing Services Ltd, on the successful take-off of the construction work on the pipe manufacturing plant.
He noted that the project is in line with the mission statement of NCDMB: “to promote the development and utilization of in-country capacities for the industrialization of Nigeria through the effective implementation of the Nigerian Content Act’’
He further described the ongoing construction activities as a dream come true for the Polaku community as plans for a pipe manufacturing mill in the area had been on the drawing board for a decade.
He said the Polaku community and the Gbarain Clan, generally are blessed, given the concentration of strategic industries in the area and indications that others would be there.
Some of the firms that are in the locality include the Shell Gas Gathering Plant, Azikel Refinery (a modular hydro-skimming processing plant), the US$45 million Types 3 LPG Composite Cylinder Manufacturing Plant, owned by Rungas Prime Industries Limited, and Eraskon Nigeria Limited.
Engr. Wabote said the Pipe Manufacturing Plant is a testament to the giant strides in local content drive in the country, while assuring AS Energies Ltd that the NCDMB would give due consideration to its request for support. He equally enjoined the company’s Management to explore available financing options so as to ensure project delivery on schedule.
He expressed delight that AS Energies’ pipes will be produced to meet the regulatory standards such as: ISO 9001- Quality Management System Requirements; ISO 14001 – Environmental Management System Standard; & BS 18001 – Occupational Health & Safety Management System Standard,
In a welcome address, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of AS Energies Ltd, Engr. Gbenga Olaniyan, said the choice of Polaku as site for the US$8.8 million project is deliberate, as the company seeks to be a development partner in the area. He expressed profound appreciation to the State Government, the NCDMB Management, and the host community for the encouragement as his company initiated moves toward actualising its plans.
Engr. Olaniyan assured that AS Manufacturing Services Ltd would integrate the community in its operational plans and activities, adding that one of its cardinal principles is to source essential materials locally in advancement of Federal Government’s drive for in-country value addition. He expressed confidence that the construction phase of the plant would be completed within 12 months, giving way to actual production.
In his own remarks, the Managing Director, AS Manufacturing Services Ltd, Mr. Augustine Taribene, described the pipe manufacturing plant as “echo-friendly,” stating that the company has a waste management policy and strategy that would keep the environment free of any form of pollution. According to him, “We want to ensure that whatever we do will not hurt the environment.” Besides, company policy is to establish a workshop to guarantee that operational tools and spares are produced locally and not imported.
According to the company, the Glass Reinforced Epoxy (GRE) and Glass Reinforced Plastic pipes are more resistant, lighter, less corrosive, and more durable than conventional carbon steel pipes in use, meaning reduced maintenance cost.
Also speaking, the Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, King Bubaraye Dakolo, Agada IV, expressed pleasure at the physical presence of the company in the community, and thanked the NCDMB for wonderful work it has done facilitating the establishment of major indigenous firms in the State.
The monarch urged the Management of the company to avoid the practices of international oil companies (IOCs) in the Niger Delta that have done very little to assist in development of host communities, but have rather been engaged in divide-and-rule and causing intra- and inter-communal crises. He assured them of the full support and cooperation of the community if they take the community along in their operations.
A spokesman for the Polaku community, Chief Kenigua Dinikpite, welcomed the company into their midst, assuring them of peace and the full cooperation of their indigenes. He expressed hope that AS Manufacturing Services Ltd would abide by NCDMB’s Community Content Guideline, which stipulates obligations of corporate organisations to host communities and expectations from communities to to create a conducive work environment for the firms.
The presence of the plant, which is the first of its type in Nigeria, is expected to facilitate technology transfer in pipe manufacturing technology and development of a variety of skills among the local population.