The future of the local oil and gas sector depends on how well all the players can collaborate to reduce the risk attached to the Nigerian market and maximize the potential on offer.

Taofik Adegbite

CEO, Marine Platforms

Marine Platforms dealt with the foreign currency crisis by putting heavy emphasis on its strategies. Our foundation is based on intrinsic value and brand equity. Our strategies primarily focus on the oil and gas sector and human capacity development. Since we are a part of a global industry, it is extremely important to exchange ideas and have multinationals in the workforce. We give equal opportunities to Nigerians and foreigners. Ours has been a structured progression, and over the years we have partnered with several IOCs, not because we are local but because we offer quality service. Our quality ensures our name spreads through word of mouth. We did our first acquisition through a Nigerian bank. The second one, which was quite big at the time, was done through the UK's Export Credits Guarantee Department. We have also moved into capital structure and received funding from foreign companies and entities. The next level we are aiming for is being able to lend directly from financial institutions outside of Nigeria. With yield rates decreasing in other countries, the onus is on Nigerian companies to reduce the risk. Fundamentally, a company can de-risk by changing the paradigm of diversion of monies and building personalities rather than brands. Thereafter, a company can look at factors such as corporate governance. A number of funds are looking at Nigeria but the market needs to reduce the risk attached with it in order to attract them.

Sunmola Bakare

Managing Director & CEO, AB Offshore Marine Services Limited

When we started the company in 2008, the Nigerian Content Law was not in place; however, we decided to enter a field already dominated by foreign companies because we knew we could compete with them by providing quality services. We succeeded in doing this, and that formed the bedrock of our foundation services. The introduction of the content law gave us an additional advantage. We looked at the entire business pace and identified gaps that we could convert to opportunities. We also looked at the challenges being faced by IOCs and the industry in general. The main challenge back then was ensuring security, an area most of the foreign vessel owners did not cover. Thus, we decided to focus our attention on that, and it was therefore less challenging for us to enter the space. Our first two vessels were security vessels. At that time, we were able to provide services to protect installations and offshore operations in partnership with the Nigerian Navy. Provision of security vessels occupy around 40% of our portfolio. We are the first company to introduce properly outfitted security vessels in Nigeria. This gave us a headstart and a tremendous advantage. The other 60% of our business comes from provision of other categories of vessels, such as line tug vessels and fast crew supply vessels. We are also a vessel manning agency, certified by NIMASA. This means we provide qualified sailors for companies in need of vessel crew.

David Forrester

Managing Director, Cavmont Leasing (Nigeria) Limited

Everything transported in the oil and gas industry is moved in containers or tanks that meet a certain international standard known as DNV. We buy these units and rent them out to the industry on a daily basis. With the crash in the oil price in 2015, massive price cuts were demanded by end users to a point where prices fell to one-third of the previous level. Assurances that prices would rise in line with the future oil price have not materialized, and there continues to be pressure on prices by end users to this day. In addition, there has been a slowdown in cashflow in the economy. Many IOCs use a central global accounting system to pay supplier invoices, and once in the system, invoices are paid automatically. In Nigeria, some local companies are delaying the documentation for the submission of invoices into the global system, resulting in up to a year before suppliers are paid. There is a massive slowdown in cashflow. We are exploring the option of expanding our fleet. The industry cannot continue to suppress prices. We are looking at what we can do in Nigeria and what we can do to strengthen the company. I am delighted to see things pick up over the past year. Things are moving in the right direction. I hear new projects will come on board in 2021. While this is all exciting, I hope that we can work together as an industry to maximize the potential.