‘How Nigerian companies export technology, services to neighbouring countries’
Mr Ranti Omole is the Chief Executive Officer of Radial Circle Limited, an indigenous service provider in oil and gas industry. He is also the Public Relations Officer for Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN). In this interview with OLATUNDE DODONDAWA, he explains how PETAN members export technical services to foreign countries.
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has urged your members not to just focus on Nigeria but foreign operations. Why are PETAN companies not focusing on operations outside Nigeria?
That’s is very easy because we are in Equitorial Guinea, Ghana, Angola, Middle East and India. Nigerian companies now have a lot of experiences and expertise that we sell in those markets. Radial Circle has been in Ghana for about nine years now, we have been in Angola for about five years, we just incorporated in Uganda, we are almost finishing in Mozambique and then we have Senegal as the place we want to go. Our jobs don’t talk. We follow global practices and our devices will speak for us. That’s the same thing we are doing with all the PETAN members. You know we had WAIPEC (West African International Petroleum and Exhibition Conference) and after that, we had a mandate that we should ensure we have collaboration with at least four African countries with their service providers. And we have started that. We are talking with Ugandan Services Association, we are talking to Ghana, infact two associations in Ghana came to us and we are also talking to Mozambique and Angola. We want to ensure that we can share services, share facilities and work together to do things across Africa. And by working together, we are exporting technology and services to other countries in Africa and in the Middle East.
The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) has come and gone, what was your experience at the 50th edition and how has PETAN done?
Basically, it has been another different year and we always go back to the concept: why are we at OTC? We are at the OTC to showcase Nigerian capabilities in the oil and gas sector. We are at the OTC to also see the new technology and to network and also see what is going on (current) in the oil and gas sector. And also to provide a platform for Nigerian service providers in the oil and gas sector to be able to network. In terms of that, I think we have done reasonably well. We have seen a lot of people from other African countries coming to Nigerian pavilion to see how they can work with Nigerians and how to collaborate together and share from our past experiences which I think we have done well. Also, we have done programmes where we had very rare opportunities to get the top Executives of the International Oil Companies (IOCS), decision makers, the regulators, to come and tell us exactly the way things are and people will also appreciate the challenges around the sector. So we have done well. You know that OTC is 50 years, though the attendance went down during the oil glut but we can see that it is coming up again. Infact, there are more Africans coming now that we are all thinking how can we maximize returns from the oil and gas sector, how can we ensure that our people benefit a lot. So that’s why you have the Ghana contingents, the Angolans, the Mozambique. Everybody tries to look for investment (opportunities) in their oil and gas sector. For PETAN and for Nigeria, I think we have done reasonably well, there has been value added. Even for my company, I have seen people coming deliberately from various places to come and find us out, that means we are really in a global market place.
Stakeholders have been urging for collaboration among Nigerian companies, especially PETAN member companies, so the question is why are you not collaborating among yourselves?
I will say it is a typical Nigerian mentality that cuts across. We always believe we want to own everything. We want to do everything alone, we don’t trust each other and I mean that is generally Nigerian mentality. But based on the mandate given to us, we have been discussing within PETAN, amongst ourselves and say look the better we collaborate, the better for us and the industry. Because that means we can take bigger projects, domesticate more works in Nigeria. So I’m sure in the next 12 months or by the next OTC, it would be a different ball game entirely. The message is clear, we have discussed within ourselves and already, certain PETAN members are putting frameworks together on different platforms on how to collaborate and then that way we can actually start doing bigger projects. Not only that, it will also be a trailblazer to other parts of the Nigerian business community that we should not just focus on ourself alone. The bigger you share your resources, your capabilities, your network, it becomes easier. If companies from different countries can come together and maximize their areas of core competencies to be able to do jobs. We have seen lots of examples. I can also remember that Arab Vontractors that we see today were also formed when their former president gave them a mandate that civil engineers must come together and they came together to build a dam in Egypt and today the Arab Contractors we see came from that concept. Now they are all over Africa even in Middle East. Hopefully, when we are sighting proven cases, more people will see that we need to collaborate, we need to partner together, we need to harmonize our resources and assets so that we can do things better.