The Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited (NAE) is to begin work on its Zabazaba deepwater project estimated to cost $13.5 billion.
The firm will this month begin to receive commercial proposals for the various activities lined up for the development of the field.
The request follows the conclusion of the technical evaluation for the main packages of the project by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and NAE, with the aim to maximize local content. The packages include the floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units, subsea, installation and rigs.
According to Nation NCDMB’s Executive Secretary, Simbi Wabote, the Board fast-tracked its evaluations and approvals on the Zabazaba project with a view to increase Nigeria’s crude oil production and create opportunities for the growth and development of Nigerian Content.
Wabote noted that the conclusion of the technical evaluation has paved the way for NAE to proceed with its plans to receive and evaluate the commercial bids, conclude negotiations and award contracts in the second quarter of 2017, adding that with the call for tender and consequent commencement of work on the deepwater facility, a fresh wave of work activities is set to begin in the Nigerian Content sector.
He commended the NAE for working harmoniously with the Board, adding that the company took all Nigerian Content requirements on board.
The NCDMB Chief stated that the NAE plans to achieve first oil in 2020, hence it is determined to achieve the final investment decision (FID) in the second quarter of 2017 and start execution of the project in the third quarter.
To bring the project to fruition, Wabote, urged contractors to submit reasonable commercial bids, bearing in mind the prevailing price of crude oil and the fact that Zabazaba is the only major project that has reached execution stage at the moment. The deep water project was introduced a few years ago, but later suspended after cost projections and other push backs made it unviable.
He praised NAE for its determination to pursue the project despite the challenges in the market and charged all stakeholders to support fast-tracking the execution.
NAE Vice Chairman, Mr. Massimo Insulla, had at a meeting with Wabote underscored the importance of Zabazaba project to Nigeria, all Joint Venture (JV) partners and stakeholders in terms of revenue for the government and job creation. It will also grow small and medium enterprises, expand existing facilities and develop the skills set of the work force.
Insulla praised the NCDMB and THE NAE teams for concluding the technical evaluation at a speed that was unprecedented in the industry. He also advised other approving entities to adopt the NCDMB’s model while executing their evaluations of tenders and other processes.