Digitalisation in Nigeria’s oil and gas sectorNovember 10, 2022
Colm Doyle, CEO of Global Spectrum Energy Services, talks to The Energy Year about how the company is enhancing its services through digitisation, its plans for a modular refinery and the value of the Deep Blue maritime security project. Global Spectrum Energy Services supplies security patrol and offshore supply vessels to the oil and gas sector.
Which services does Global Spectrum Energy Services offer?
We provide security patrol vessels and other offshore supply vessels (OSVs) to the offshore sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry. Our clients include Total E&P, SPDC [Shell Petroleum Development Company], Agip, Addax, ExxonMobil, Chevron and First E&P. We have an MoU with the Nigerian navy as we deploy their personnel and armaments on our vessels in support of our clients’ security operations.
Our company also provides inward and outward security escort services to international shipping companies. Our clients include Maersk, Chembulk, Nordic and MSC. We provide inward/outward escorts up to a range of 200 nautical miles offshore for their merchant shipping vessels entering the ports of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Onne and Escravos.
We have also conducted several dredging activities as inland water projects in the Niger Delta region. We have not managed to expand further because dredging is a high-capital business in terms of equipment.
How are you approaching expanding your fleet and clientele?
We have a dedicated business development team which actively communicates with both our existing clients and potential new clients in order to convert them into increased business opportunities. We utilise the NIPEX portal to tender for contract and project opportunities in the Nigerian oil and gas sector. Our company has also expanded our vessel fleet despite the challenges faced by Nigerian companies in accessing capital.
How is the company positioned in the refining space?
In line with our business expansion and diversification plans and to further strengthen the capacity and profitability of our company in the upstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry, our company proposes to establish and operate a modular refinery in Rivers State with a total refining capacity of 25,000 bpd.
The project will be initiated in stages with the first phase involving the establishment of a 5,000-bpd modular refining facility. We have acquired the land at our proposed site location and we have made the requisite modular refinery licence to establish application to NUPRC [Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission] and we anticipate project commencement in Q4 2022.
How would you evaluate the Deep Blue maritime security project?
The Deep Blue project, with its integrated approach in terms of the type of assets that have been deployed, is most certainly a laudable initiative by the federal government in their efforts to fight the ongoing menace of piracy and insecurity, mostly emerging from the Niger Delta region. It is indeed being welcomed by both the oil and gas offshore and merchant shipping sectors.
While the Deep Blue project has recorded some initial success in terms of the reduction of piracy attacks in 2022, it may be too early at this stage to determine the overall impact of the project in the long term. Given the vast expanse of the offshore waters of the Gulf of Guinea, it remains to be seen whether this project is a total solution.
Another critical element in tackling the piracy and insecurity issues is the support of an effective legal framework for effective prosecution and punishment of offenders to serve as a deterrent. This requires effective legislation that is in line with international best practices.
What is Global Spectrum Energy Services’ value proposition?
As our client base is mainly with the major international oil companies, we have a high benchmark in terms of the quality of our service delivery. This is in terms of both the operation of our vessels in respect of efficient performance and ensuring a safe environment for our staff both onshore and offshore. Global Spectrum currently holds ISO 9001 certification through Bureau Veritas and is further strengthening our security industry compliance through the attainment of ISO 18788 and ISO 28000 certification.
How would you describe the role of technological advancement in the company’s strategy?
We have systems on board our vessels such as electronic fuel monitoring systems (eFMS) enabling both our company’s and client’s marine teams to remotely monitor and accurately record fuel consumption on our vessels. Fuel consumption efficiency is a major cost driver in the offshore oil and gas sector here in Nigeria.
However, the main challenge regarding digitalisation is its utilisation. It is one thing to have a system on a vessel and another thing is to maximise its benefits. We access these platforms on a daily basis and by doing this we know fuel consumption consistently. Thanks to our staff, we have managed to maximise our digital platforms while providing benefits to our clientele. We have access to a wide database which gives us a comparative advantage in terms of intelligence in the market.
One of the more positive outcomes of the recent pandemic was the recognition of the value of remote communication through Zoom and other platforms, which facilitated more frequent and closer interaction and communication between our onshore support staff and our vessel crews offshore. Similarly, this development has also improved communications with our clients’ staff.
What is your regional expansion strategy?
We have a pan-African approach in terms of expansion. We have a company in Ghana, and we have carried out contracts in Equatorial Guinea. We plan to expand beyond the Gulf of Guinea: we have tendered for contracts in Mauritania, for example. To deliver this growth, we would need a local reliable partner and we are actively looking for them.