The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board have revealed that the Federal Government has begun a feasibility study for the construction of a shipyard in Brass Island, Bayelsa State.

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The NCDMB, in a statement entitled ‘FG begins feasibility study for Brass shipyard project,’ said the shipyard would cater for the maintenance and repair services of cargo vessels, oil tankers, and Liquefied Natural Gas carriers.

It said the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, chaired the project’s kick-off meeting on Thursday.

Sylva was cited as saying that the project would be executed by China Harbour Engineering Company, which he said had carried out similar projects across the globe as well as in Nigeria.

According to the statement, the feasibility study will be funded by the NCDMB as part of its overarching mandate to domicile key oil and gas industry infrastructure and increase retention of industry spend.

It said the scope of the feasibility study included geotechnical and bathymetric surveys, conducting a market study, ascertaining an optimal construction scale, developing technical proposal and construction plan and estimation of the required investment to bring the project into reality.

Sylva said the high traffic of vessels in and out of Nigeria provided a huge opportunity to retain substantial value in-country through the provision of dry-dock services.

He stated that the shipyard project would further develop and harness the nation’s position in the oil and gas value chain and linkage to other sectors of the economy.

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The statement further added that the project’s schedule indicates that the site work would be executed within six months and the feasibility study completed in four months.

The Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, said the Brass shipyard project and other ongoing efforts to catalyse manufacturing would help the board achieve the target of 70 per cent Nigerian content by 2027.

He said the project was being driven by the NCDMB in conjunction with NLNG as a Capacity Development Initiative on the back of the Train 7 project.

According to him, there are over 20,000 ships working for the oil and gas sector in Nigerian waters, with an annual spend of over $600m in the upstream sector.

Wabote said the oil sector spent $3.05bn on marine vessels between 2014 and 2018.