What is the status of the power plant within LADOL's premises?
We started construction of the 50MW power plant that we are building in phases. The first phase is 24MW; it is a gas-fired plant and will support not only our existing operations but also future operations where we now target non-oil and gas manufacturing companies as part of our high-value industrial free zone objectives. We will leverage the infrastructure we built through our oil and gas-related activities to support other businesses. One of our targets is to have cars manufactured locally in Nigeria out of Lagos.
Which other sectors do you target to work with LADOL in the near future?
It is important to look at heavy industries, where we currently spend a great deal of money though little manufacturing is being done locally. That includes the railway sector, general infrastructure works, bridges, and sectors like telecoms. Manufacturing handsets locally is not heavy industrial; however, it is high-value industrial and is an area that requires a skilled workforce and a great deal of automation. We thus hope to work with a wide range of industrial sectors and focus on areas where there is already a large market in Nigeria, little manufacturing capacity, and an opportunity to attract manufacturers to LADOL, where they will find great infrastructure, 24/7 cheap reliable power, and a trained workforce.
What role does technology and innovation play at LADOL?
The advantage Nigeria has is that we can skip over the technologies deployed in the west that are inefficient, polluting, or obsolete and can go straight to more sustainable technologies that have become significantly cheaper over the past decade. At LADOL, because sustainability is important and makes up a core part of our business model, we have sought sustainable options for power. We have the assistance of US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) in putting together a power plan for us that includes sustainable power generation. The LADOL area is not suitable for widespread deployment of solar power; however, we are planning to use gas and deploy a waste-to-power and solar power in small areas where it is feasible. In terms of our operations, we are becoming a cashless, paperless facility. We are not there yet; however, we are following a USTDA-funded feasibility plan of how we can roll out our operations and ensure that we become fully automated. Automated processes and widespread use of virtual ERP solutions are being built up based on our existing procedures and policies, helping to maintain quality, efficiency, and transparency as we scale. In addition, because we operate 24/7 it also allows us to integrate everything on an international basis. That also enables us to employ more Nigerians and deploy what will end up being solutions and a free zone that will be the best in the world, not just in West Africa.
What role do you play to support the diversification of the economy?
Our facility is designed to enable large manufacturing and fabrication jobs to be done in Nigeria for the first time. Our first phase of development of LADOL involved investing USD150 million in a deep offshore logistics base, building it out of a disused swamp in Apapa Port in Lagos. Our initial value proposition was based on servicing offshore oil blocks, including deep offshore, because supporting such blocks from LADOL lowers costs by at least 50%. In general, it has been confirmed by international oil companies since 2006 that it is easier, more efficient, and far cheaper to support deep offshore and oil blocks from Lagos. However, the fully integrated support model we built in LADOL makes us the only location in Lagos that can provide 24/7 safe, efficient, and competitive deep offshore support services. We have demonstrated that by working out of LADOL, companies can double their return on investment in Nigeria.