Joseph Duntoye is the General Manager of Aveon Offshore Limited. In this interview at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), Houston, Texas; he speaks on some of the activities of the company in the nation’s oil and gas industry. Excerpts:
Aveon offshore has been consistent at OTC; can you please tell us what the drive is and why OTC is important to your company?
Our drive is to showcase to the whole world that a company domiciled in Nigeria and 100 per cent owned by Nigerians can do anything other companies outside Nigeria can do. If you visit our yard, it’s an improving one all year round and the drive of the shareholders is to ensure that we can take on more sophisticated jobs and bring work home and that means employment for Nigerians. Charity they say begins at home, so we come to OTC to tell the world what we can do; not only looking at IOCs domiciled in Nigeria alone. Wherever you are, quality plays an important role and I think that is our drive, safety of lives of our workers is very important. Our clients can always get their products as scheduled; so we are also telling the world that what is in Europe and the US is also in Nigeria and we are very competitive.
How has OTC been beneficial to your company?
You can see how OTC operates. First, the Nigerian companies come under an umbrella of PETAN which means that if we can showcase what we can do to the whole world, not only for Aveon offshore, other Nigerian companies can bring their products home. As a young engineer in the early 90s, most of the sales that go on in the oil and gas industry were mainly done Abroad, but with PETAN taking coverage and seeing NNPC’s stand, it means Nigeria wants to be recognized by the world. So, we should take our place in the oil and gas industry because I think we deserve to be there and I think with OTC showcasing what Nigeria can do, with time it would get there.
As one of the companies that participated in the Egina project, what’s the next big thing for you?
The Bonga south west, there is also the LNG train 7 to mention a few and you know about the Zabazaba that is plagued with lots of legal issues; these are the things we are actually looking into now and some of them are at the tendering stage. Once you have the facility, it needs to start running. You know I liken fabrication with the surgeon, a medical doctor, you need to continuously do this and if you don’t and anytime jobs come in, you need to retrain the people and you miss out on schedule.
When you come to the Niger Delta, to take a lot of boys off the street, of course you need an engineer but you also need the technical expertise, and that is what Aveon offshore offered to a lot of the youth in the Niger Delta, they come in as unskilled and after a couple of years, they become professionals in dredging, welding, fitting and dimensional control.
Is there any technology here you think you can adopt for your company?
Not to be specific, first once you have the contract, the contract details would specify the technology needed. We are up there when it comes to fabrication, but you see it’s ever changing. Once your clients specify what’s needed on the project, equipments are brought in, people are trained to do that and that is the whole essence of the OTC. We don’t want to be saying we have not heard of this before. So when we get back, we take stock of new things we see, we are not only having our stands, the shareholders are here too, the top management is around. I also won’t only be visiting Nigerian companies. I will go out and see what is out there, and when provision is specified, it won’t be new to us.