By Henry Uche
Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria (SHIN) Limited has yet again reaffirmed its commitment to continue its operation in Nigeria by setting another record in offshore technology, berthing a 330-metre-long very large crude carrier (VLCC), an international vessel used for export of crude oil, at the SHI-MCI yard in Lagos for the first time.
Top officials of SHIN at the fabrication and integration yard told journalists that Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria berthed the VLCC at its quay wall at the yard to carry out the vessel repair and upgrade works.
VLCC, also called ‘SuperTanker’ for its mammoth weight-carrying capacity, can transport massive quantities of crude oil across the oceans to the international market.
The berthing and repair work that is being carried out on VLCC at the SHI-MCI yard is significant in the sense that it marks the first time such work wuld be carried out in Lagos Port.
With this development, prospective clients in other parts of Africa and Europe that carry out services such as ship repairs, maintenance and upgrades in Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, Dubai and Singapore will find Nigeria as a more attractive location and cost-effective country for such works.
According to the managing director of SHIN, Mr. Jongseok Kim, Nigeria holds strong geographical advantage that will enable the country to become the hub for various maritime services such as ship repair and conversion and upgrades.
The company pledged to sustain its operations in Nigeria through business diversification, particularly in crude oil carrier to floating storage unit (FSU) conversion, repair and upgrade of ultra-large and offshore vessels.
Since 2021, SHIN has been providing a suitable and alternative location that provides various maritime services such as cargo, container logistics, ship repair and conversion and FPSO upgrades.
Indeed, owing to its strategic location by the coastline, Nigeria is the pivot of West Africa’s shipping activities with over 3,000 merchant vessels every year in the range of 19,000 to 200,000GT flocking in and out of the country for various marine activities. Furthermore, following the shift in energy transition as well as the Ukraine-Russia crisis, there is a growing demand for alteration and modification works on large vessels and FPSO units globally.
While Nigeria has its location advantage, such works could not be carried out in Nigeria as there was no adequate ship repair or shipbuilding facility in Nigeria, which could accommodate ships in the range of 19k to 200 global.
Through Samsung’s business diversification at its yard, however, such works can now be carried out in Nigeria.
Strategically located in Tarkwa Bay Free Trade Zone, the SHI-MCI yard in Lagos is the only fabrication and integration facility in Africa built on a landmass spanning 121,000 square metres. The yard represents over $300 million investment by SHIN for the local fabrication and integration of floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) units and other offshore vessels in Nigeria. The yard has the capacity to accommodate and carry out fabrication, maintenance, refurbishment and modification works on ultra-large and high value-added vessels due to the yard’s state-of-the-art facilities and its robust integration and assembling purpose-build quay wall, stretching over 502 metres long with 12.5 berthing water depth and over 3,000 tonnes load-bearing capacity.
The yard also provides optimum proximity to the main shipping channels from and to Nigeria, thanks to its strategic location that enables fast and convenient entry point. This makes the facility the choice destination for international vessels.
“The SHI-MCI yard was built in Lagos by Samsung to make Nigeria the hub of FPSO fabrication and integration in Africa. But the beauty of our yard is that it is highly scalable, which means that it is not only optimized for world-class, ultra-large and high value-added projects, but also is designed to service and maintain vessels of any size,” Kim explained.
Indeed, SHIN broke the record in Nigerian content development in the oil and gas industry when it used the yard to fabricate and integrate the Egina FPSO locally, the first time such works were carried out in Africa. Being the first project launched after the enactment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act of 2010, Egina FPSO advanced the Nigerian content to record levels.
With the successful completion of the repair works on the VLCC, SHIN has set a new record in its efforts to make Nigeria the hub of offshore technology in Africa, particularly the integration and fabrication of FPSO vessels, ship repairs and FPSO conversion.
SHIN’s efforts in this direction have led to the development of local capacity and capability, creation of employment opportunities and boosting the gross domestic product of the country.
According to top officials at SHIN, the hosting and servicing the VLCC was the fourth major project handled by the SHI-MCI yard, after the sail-way of the Egina FPSO to the deep offshore oilfield in August 2018.
The berthing of an international vessel christened Pacific Ruby was the second project after Egina. The dimension of the vessel is 249.869 metres length, 43.8 metres breadth, 21.2 metres depth, and 13.6 metres designed draught. The project before VLCC included carrying out repair works on floating storage unit vessel for the local client.
SHIN has since diversified into container terminal and logistics operations for international and local clients such as Cosco. The empty containers terminal business is also an alternative revenue earner during ‘low season’ of offshore project while creating more job opportunities for Nigerians.
The container terminal includes the berthing of barges at the SHI-MCI FZE quay wall for the offloading of empty containers; storage of empty containers at SHI-MCI FZE laydown area; and the berthing of feeder vessel at the quay to backload the empty containers unto the vessels for shipping.
Also, due to its strategic location and capacities, the yard is expected to bring in other valuable projects such as mooring and skid installation, ship upgrades, and fabrication of various modular works.