The oil and gas industry in Nigeria got a boost with the official inauguration of the Nigerian Content Research and Development Fund and its council by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, on Thursday.
The council aims to drive the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board’s intervention in research and development.
The Nigerian Content Research and Development Council is headed by the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, with members drawn from the oil and gas industry, government and academia.
At the event, Sylvia also launched the NCDMB Technology Incubation Innovation Centre located inside the Local Content Towers in the Bayelsa State capital.
A Technical Advisory Board chaired by NCDMB’s Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Patrick Obah, had earlier been constituted to ensure transparency in evaluating the proposals for research funding.
The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, announced initial funding of $50 million for the NCRDF.
The fund will focus on research studies, commercialisation of research, the establishment of centres of excellence and the endowment of a professorial chair.
He explained that it would provide the platform for idea generation, incubation and acceleration of innovative ideas for the marketplace.
The minister called on stakeholders and youths across Nigeria to take advantage of the fund to adapt existing solutions and create new ideas that will address the challenges faced in the oil and gas industry.
While speaking, Wabote said the time had come for Nigeria to focus on home-grown technology and reduce the reliance on importing innovations into the country.
Wabote said the agency was focused on research and development which is essential for the country’s sustainable development.
He said, “The research and development fund is in fulfilment of the NCDMB mandate to achieve the target of 70 per cent Nigerian Content by 2027, and research and development is one of the key parameters for sustainable local content practice.”
The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, promised that the state government is committed to providing an enabling environment for the changes that the NCDMB will bring to the state.
The New Diplomat earlier reported that Timipre Sylva said the modular refinery programme to boost local production of crude oil in the country is on course.
He said that the federal government had licensed a good number of modular refineries and some of them had already started operating effectively.
Checks show that a modular refinery generally refers to a simple or complex refinery whose parts are fabricated or constructed in several parts or units called modules.
These modules can then be assembled easily to form the plant. Furthermore, they can be transported in modules across distances and put together at the location desired.
“Modula refineries, we have licensed quite a bit. I am not in a position to give you an exact figure now but I know that a few of these refineries are under construction and very soon, we will be commissioned.
“You know that last year, we commission the Waltersmith which is functioning well and since then I have also laid the foundation stone for Atlantic refinery and there is Niger Delta own that is ongoing, one almost ready to be commissioned in Port Harcourt and there are quite a few. That programme is on course,’’ he said.