The impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area TEY_post_Taofik_Adegbite

The African Continental Free Trade Area will provide a boost for Nigerian companies to position themselves within the African market.


The impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area

November 24, 2022

Taofik Adegbite, CEO of Marine Platforms, talks to The Energy Year about the competitiveness of the Nigerian energy industry and the company’s value proposition and growth strategy. Marine Platforms performs completion, subsea and marine services in Nigeria and counts major international companies among its clients.

What are the expected implications of the African Continental Free Trade Area on the Nigerian energy industry?
The African Continental Free Trade Area will provide a boost for Nigerian companies to position themselves within the African market. With a key role played by the NCDMB [National Content Development and Monitoring Board] the increase in continental trade and connectivity brings with it tremendous benefits to Nigerian service companies and the energy market.
The fading market barriers in West Africa will increase competition with international players. They are ready to wrestle to protect or expand their market shares. The opportunities and growth will come to those who are ready to take on the challenge. Nigeria is now strong enough for a growth phase.

How would you evaluate the competitiveness of the Nigerian energy industry?
The 2020 bidding round provides strong opportunities for local and indigenous companies to invest and acquire the assets divested by the IOCs. Hopefully, it will generate growth for Nigeria as a whole. We can expect service companies to get busy and help create value for the country. This will also bring along further investments.
One aspect, of course, is the burden of piracy in Nigerian waters. This impedes economic progress and poses significant security threats. Institutions such as NIMASA [Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency] have contributed to the serious reduction of incidents while fostering economic growth in Nigeria.
The Covid-19 period was quite challenging as we dealt with high operating costs. Having parked vessels and running them with minimal crew on board, in addition to insurance costs, added weight to companies’ financial burden. Debt can play a decisive role for businesses in uncertain periods like Covid-19.


Can you give us an overview of Marine Platforms’ footprint in Nigeria?
We are a SURF (Subsea Umbilical Riser Flowline) contractor. We carry out inspection, repair, and maintenance (IRM) and ROV services. A major breakthrough for us dates back to 2010 when the gooseneck on one of Chevron’s water injection lines on the seabed was damaged and needed to be changed out. We assessed the situation, made a proposal and managed to repair the line onsite on the seabed. The client had thought the flowline will be recovered to a vessel deck before being repaired. The repair was ingenious, and we got an award for it. We currently operate on the major offshore fields in Nigeria, such as Bonga for Shell, Agbami for Chevron and Egina for TotalEnergies.
We also work for TotalEnergies at the Ikike field, where we installed umbilical lines and currently manage the spools insulations and the diving operations carried out by Boskalis diving vessel, the Boka Da Vinci.
Two major jobs that helped us through the Covid-19 period were the First E&P field development project and the Dangote Refinery Offshore Calm Buoy installation.

What value proposition does Marine Platforms put forward?
We place a strong emphasis on training our crew and operating at the highest standards. We work with diverse people, committed and can-do-spirited professionals who have ample experience. If we can think of a solution, we can engineer and install it. That is our competitive advantage. It’s really about the people and we pride ourselves on thinking outside the box.
We don’t take advantage of our clients’ problems but rather sit down together with them and help provide the best solutions.
When there is a problem, there is an opportunity, so we always focus on developing trusted partnerships and sustainable growth.

What is Marine Platforms’ growth strategy?
We now have sufficient experience and resources to expand our services to the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa. We operate four construction vessels and 13 work class remotely operated vehicles (ROV) in Nigeria and have access to a wide range of assets. We have just signed a strategic partnership with GE for well intervention services in the region.
As a result of the 2020 bidding round, we are also well-positioned to assist in the development of shallow-water fields in Nigeria.

How does Marine Platforms integrate new technologies into its operations?
Our strategy so far has been to partner with a best-in-class company, acquire the skills and then procure the equipment. That is what we did in the past with ROVs. They are expensive toys; each unit costs around USD 6.5 million. We are a forward-thinking company, and we are gradually moving into autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) capabilities because that’s the future. Adaptability and flexibility of our assets are major advantages. Our vessels and other assets can be used in the renewable energy sector.

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