Shoulder-to-shoulder with IOCsNovember 26, 2021
Taofik Adegbite, CEO of Marine Platforms, talks to The Energy Year about the company’s edge in providing ROV services and prospects for Nigeria’s marine sector. Marine Platforms performs completion, subsea and marine services in Nigeria and counts major international companies among its clients.
What’s your track record in the brownfield space and what inroads are you making in the greenfield scene?
As a company, we have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the IOCs in their deepwater operations. In 2016, we successfully carried out Chevron’s Agbami Phase 3 deepwater project, where a cluster of wells were drilled and tied back to the FPSO. This project involved the transportation, installation and pre-commissioning of flexible flowlines, jumpers, umbilicals and manifolds. We carried out this endeavour successfully, hitting over 122,801 LTI-free man-hours, without cutting corners or lowering the quality or security standards in our delivery. We have also carried out well services in the Agbami field, namely well intervention and acid injection, among others.
Over the years we have managed to gain a strong place among the IOCs, with a track record that includes SURF activities for Nigerian Agip Exploration in the Abo field, where we carried out load-out, transportation and installation for the Abo-8, Abo-3 and Abo-12 flowline replacement and flowline and riser transportation and installation. Other works in our portfolio include for SNEPCo on the Bonga field; ExxonMobil on the Unam, Ubit, Usari, Mfem and Erha fields; Total on the Akpo field; and Afren on the Ebok, Okoro and Okwok fields.
While our focus is brownfield, we have started working in greenfield plays, wherein we recently developed the Anyala and Madu fields in OML 83 and OML 85 for First E&P. We managed to hit first oil in October 2020. We provided end-to-end solutions that involved subsea umbilicals, risers, flowlines installation. This was an important step for us in the greenfield arena. We still do not have the capacity to do large-scale greenfield projects all by ourselves but we are willing to do these types of projects in collaboration with other construction companies.
How important is Marine Platforms’ ROV business?
At present, we have three construction vessels and 13 ROVs. We also have in-house engineering and all the support structure to do the job. We charter other vessels that we use depending on the size of the project. The ROV fleet in particular makes us unique, with its ability to do inspection, maintenance and installation in depths of up to 3,000 metres (although in Nigeria projects tend not to exceed 2,000 metres).
The edge we have with the ROVs is that we’ve been involved in it for a long time, holding a fleet composed of Triton XLX 200-hp, 150-hp and 125-hp vessels. We are Nigeria’s only local company with this level of know-how and capabilities in the ROV space, competing head-to-head with international players. We also have a simulator where we train our staff. It is a very specialised area.
What type of participation are you targeting in the upstream space?
With regards to the marginal fields, we will be available to work for anyone who has won an offshore block. We are ready to render our services. Some marginal field operators have even approached us for equity participation but we are still weighing our options. It is said that there might be a deepwater offshore bid round in the near future and if so, we will be available to compete.
How do you aim to outperform yourself and what are your targets?
One key performance area we pride ourselves in is our safety record and local content of our business. However, we have a very solid track record that we are proud of. We have tried to outperform ourselves consistently through our people and assets. As for people, there is continuous learning and improvement as we have people that have been with us for over a decade. The aim is to keep doing things better. Our job is not easily measured in terms of outperforming another company because there are standards set by the IOCs and standards organisations. We pride ourselves on the quality of our work and performance of our assets.
As for our core corporate targets, we aim to deliver quality services safely and in a timely way. No matter what the environment is, all clients look at safety and quality, and we will not compromise this.
What are your projections for the marine sector given the current state of the industry and the passing of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)?
The marine sector has been harshly affected. Many oil companies cancelled, suspended or downsized their contracts and operations. This affected the array of supply, support and intervention vessels that service offshore operations. There was a clear domino effect. The first ones affected were seismic companies. This then dovetailed into rig companies which saw their operations dwindle, consequently impacting support companies.
We have actually been lucky as our vessels are more specialised and thus at the top end of the value chain. We directly support FPSOs in the production of oil and subsea infrastructure, services you cannot just jettison. Companies have to check subsea infrastructure and wells, which has to be done by intervention vessels and ROVs. Although we’ve faced a cut in prices and reduction in rates, there continues to be a need for these services.
In terms of lessons learned, this period has been unprecedented. Ships have been parked, with the owner left paying the parking fees and port charges. Others have decided to cold stack their vessels, or to keep working if they can. We can couple that with the fact that the IOCs are moving out and hence the prospects for new projects are nil.
The PIB is also something people have watched closely as it will have a direct impact on the marine sector. It will give clear directions to IOCs, which hopefully will activate projects such as Bonga South West. The environment is changing rapidly, and we are also witnessing a growing competitive scene in West Africa – with Senegal and Ghana having attractive business environments. There is plenty of potential in Nigeria, but we are waiting until the PIB triggers a more friendly environment for investment, spurring activity and development in the marine sector.
We are aiming to consolidate our services in Nigeria. This market has many opportunities. It is the African epicentre when it comes to FPSOs, so our services will remain here for now.