By Udeme Akpan
INDICATIONS emerged yesterday that the development of local content had been boosted in the nation’s oil and gas industry following the provision of loans worth N472 billion by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, SPDC, to indigenous contractors.
The loans were provided under the Shell Contractor Support Fund, set up by Shell companies in Nigeria to help vendors and suppliers in the oil and gas industry secure funds at reduced interest rates, relaxed collateral requirements and quicker processing time.
Also, Shell companies in Nigeria awarded contracts worth over N230 billion to Nigerian contractors in 2017, representing 94 per cent of the total contracts that year.
Mr. Osagie Okunbor, Country Chairman of Shell Companies in Nigeria and Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, SPDC, Limited disclosed this while launching the 2018 Shell Nigeria Briefing Notes in Lagos.
He said : “As pioneers in the industry we have taken deliberate steps to award contracts to Nigerian vendors.”
and worked with them to grow their capacity, cost efficiency and delivery timelines. We discovered however, that access to finance has been a challenge, and the search for a solution led to the Shell Contractor Support Fund. Shell companies started their intervention in 2011 with the Shell Kobo Fund which gave way to the Shell Contractor Support Fund the following year with seven participating financial institutions which have since set aside more than N690 billion for contract execution by Nigerian companies.”
The banks are Access Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Standard Chartered Bank, and Guaranty Trust Bank.
‘’Nigerian ownership of key assets such as rigs, helicopters and marine vessels is also a focus, with Shell Companies providing technical and financial support to companies across a range of sectors including transportation, manufacturing and research and development.”
On social investment, Mr. Okunbor said: ‘’ Shell companies had continued to work with government, communities and civil society to fund and implement projects and programmes that have a lasting impact on people’s lives in the Niger Delta and Nigeria as whole. For example, since 2006, the SPDC JV has disbursed more than N 41 billion to 37 active Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) clusters in Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa and Abia states.
‘’A GMoU is an agreement that brings a group (or cluster) of communities together with representatives of state and local governments, SPDC and NGOs, with the SPDC JV providing five-year funding for communities to implement development projects of their choice.
‘’Social investment activities of Shell companies focus on community and enterprise development, education, health, access-to-energy and since 2016, road safety. In 2017, SPDC JV, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company and Shell Nigeria Gas spent more than N18 billion on direct social investment projects. Nigeria is the largest concentration of social investment spending in the Shell Group.”