Nigeria as a major maritime hubMarch 9, 2023
Ayo Olugbode, managing director of Admiralty Maritime Services (AMSL), talks to The Energy Year about the role the company plays in the energy sector and its strategy for local content development. AMSL is a subsidiary of Navy Holdings that was set up to enhance national socioeconomic development by engaging in commercial operations across the maritime value chain.
Can you give us an overview of Admiralty Maritime Services and your mission?
Admiralty Maritime Services was rebranded from the Nigerian Navy Maritime Services in 2021, and we effectively started operations in January 2022. Under the leadership of the current chief of naval staff, vice-admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, our mission is to promote the Blue Economy in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea. According to the World Bank, the Blue Economy is described as the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.
In line with this mission, AMSL offers a suite of maritime services driven by technology, expertise, ethics, sustainability and commerciality. We are positioned to better serve the maritime energy space by leveraging certain distinctive attributes, such as our ability to deploy world-class training programmes; application of our legacy data and deep understanding towards acceleration of project delivery for maritime operations; and our potential to exploit or repurpose some of our maritime assets that are currently underutilised.
Given that sustainability is a key driver for us, we also aim to bolster the diversification of the economy beyond fossil fuels. We will advocate and invest in maritime renewable energy ventures such as solar energy, offshore wind, tidal energy and biofuels from algae.
How can you play a significant role in the developments emerging from the 2020 marginal field bidding round?
A marginal field typically has narrow margins for commercial success. Excluding access to capital, the main critical success factors for marginal fields are cost discipline and production risk mitigation. Inadequate attention to these has resulted in low rates of development and commercialisation for players from previous bid rounds. AMSL is an ideal partner for marginal field operators, as we can proffer development solutions which address both factors.
For instance, unmanned platforms are often considered development concepts for marginal fields in shallow water. This approach is heavily reliant on maritime services, and resultant operating expenses can be critical. On the basis of our context, an AMSL partnership would offer several avenues for cost reduction here.
Production evacuation challenges faced by Nigerian operators are well documented. For marginal field operators, the problem has been existential. AMSL will work in partnership with winning operators to provide a corridor of safe evacuation to custody transfer destinations. A central element to our approach is the inclusion of host communities as equity stakeholders.
How would you evaluate the Deep Blue project?
The Deep Blue Project is an integrated national security and waterways protection infrastructure project involving NIMASA [the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency], all service branches of the Nigerian Armed Forces, the police force and the Department of State Services. Its objective is to contribute to the security architecture of Nigerian waters up to the Gulf of Guinea. It will promote increased maritime domain awareness by upscaling our surveillance capability, response initiative and enforcement mechanism.
AMSL will be providing an additional layer to maritime domain awareness in terms of an economic, social and human footprint. We will conduct real-time, on-the-ground surveillance to enrich Deep Blue’s security agenda. One of the ways we will achieve this is through the reskilling and upskilling of maritime talent that would otherwise be put to misuse, constituting a security nuisance. These talents can be channelled towards value creation in the maritime industry.
What is your company strategy regarding local content development?
Nigeria’s greatest resource is its human capital. The link between national security and gainful employment is indisputable. Therefore, investing in local content development resonates strongly with AMSL’s purpose of enhancing national security through socioeconomic development.
With more than six decades of offshore operations experience, Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea should be major maritime hubs, exporting talent and services across the globe. Towards this agenda, we are developing an indigenous shipbuilding programme that is linked to a 15-year plan. It is currently in the conceptual stages. The in-country local capacity initiative developed across the E&P value chain will be leveraged to AMSL’s domestic shipbuilding initiative. This strategy fits well with the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act.
The Nigerian Navy has built three seaward defence boats (SDBs) in the last two decades. It is now time for us to advance to more automated technology systems and upscale the construction of these SDBs to large tonnage with utility for the maritime as well as the oil and gas industry. We invite investments from patriots and allies towards the indigenisation of our shipbuilding programme.
What is your main project at the moment?
We are excited to report that AMSL is on track to establish an integrated aquaculture fish farm and maritime logistics base along Nigeria’s coastline. We have completed the initial concept design and are currently seeking partnership opportunities. Our integrated maritime logistics base will benefit the oil and gas industry because it will serve as a platform for showcasing and accessing our multi-sectoral indigenous capacities. We entreat the energy industry to collaborate with us in driving the growth of maritime opportunities in Nigeria through the use of our facilities.
Where do you see your company in the next five years?
AMSL’s vision is to become a world-class maritime and logistics service provider, not just within Nigeria, but for the entire region.
There are two key trends driving our vision. The first is that the energy industry is changing and facing the dilemma of balancing energy access and energy security against environmental sustainability. The second is that Africa is set to dominate world demographics in the 21st century. In eight years, one in five people on this planet will reside in Africa. The implications of this are that the energy market dynamics are set to change dramatically. Energy access in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea must improve dramatically to capture the development potential from the population explosion, and renewables must play a major part in that.
AMSL is preparing to contribute to our quota in empowering the region to capitalise on these trends. In five years, our goal is to be a leading maritime and energy services provider that’s powered by indigenous capacity that is serving the region and beyond. We have received enquiries from some countries within the sub-region, and these support our business case for filling this market gap.