Orlean Invest, active in both the maritime as well as Oil and Gas industries of Nigeria, entered into partnership with relevant government agencies, including the ministries of transport and petroleum to drive Nigeria’s Oil & Gas Investment Forum at Onne Port, now in its second year.

This is specifically in support of the Federal Government’s transformation agenda and its resolve to attract foreign investors into the country.

The maritime sector plays a very crucial role in the security, development and economic growth of nations. In Nigeria, the sector ranks next to oil and gas in terms of revenue generation, with prospects of generating numerous direct and indirect jobs.

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) have become an important tool for governments to attract private finance for infrastructure investments. In the face of tight budgets, PPPs are seen as a means to maintain investment and limit public spending at the same time.

Nigeria has also adopted PPP in financing most of its projects in various sectors. However, experience with PPPs has been mixed. According to a report by the International Transport Forum (ITF) at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), some transport PPP projects have delivered major cost savings; many others have exceeded their budgets.

Under its transformation agenda, the Federal Government has repeatedly emphasised its resolve to enhance the country’s economic growth on a sustainable basis, through the provision of infrastructure and partnership with the private sector.

According to experts, with the right policies and personalities in place, the maritime sector in Nigeria can attain sustained economic growth despite various challenges.

Chief Executive Officer of Orlean Invest, Gabriele Volpi, said he has a business relationship with Africa and Nigeria, which dates back to 1976. About 30 years ago, Volpi recognised the need to play vital role in the transformation of infrastructure at Onne Port into a world-class logistics centre for the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and sub-Saharan African.

He reportedly took advantage of his unique entrepreneurial qualities to partner with the Federal Government of Nigeria in the creation of a dedicated and one in Africa specialised Public Private Partnership scheme known as the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone.  “The Partnership has been described by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as “a unique model” which was to later set the pace for transformation of the Nigerian Maritime industry,” he said.

The company said it initially established activities at Onne Port Complex and gradually extended the scope of facilities and services as one of the major participants in the development of energy logistics and the first Oil & Gas Free Zone in the region.

During the same period, operations were extended with the creation of Oil Service Centres at Warri, Support Base at Calabar, Oil Service Centre in Luanda and Lobito in Angola, Pointe Noire in Congo, Abidjan in Cote d’voire, and other prospects of operations in Mauritania, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe.

Business activities at Orlean Invest include: transit and supply, dedicated base concept, agency for support vessel, provision of camp facilities among others.  “Our core business values are reliability, predictability and transparency. It is evident in all Orlean Invest activities,” he said.

Under the arrangement, Transit & Supply Base is a “One-Stop-Shop” with tailor-made packages of services, for port facilities, equipment and personnel specific for each client solutions. Companies operating the Oil & Gas sector, receiving a cargo direct from overseas at Orlean Invest bases, in client dedicated areas before final delivery as the concept significantly minimise risk of cargo damage.

He said the company provides dedicated port facilities, the equipment and the personnel to manage and supervise the logistics requirements of the oil producing, service and project companies.

This concept, according to him, provides assistance from arrival of cargo, through the stacking/racking stage, to final delivery of materials to designated transportation (support vessel, barges or trucks). In Nigeria, as in most West Africa countries, all movements of barges, tugs and support vessels into and out of operating bases, channels and waterways are subject to government rule and regulations.

Compulsory pilotage and declaration with the relative law enforcement agencies is required. But Orlean Invest acts as Charters’ Agent and seeks to ensure an efficient and cost-effective operation beneficial to the Oil & Gas industry.

“Orlean Invest supports sustainable community partnership, which it strongly believes that competitiveness as a company rests on having transparent relations with all stakeholders, so a method known as the integrated participatory approach is applied whereby goals and benefits are mutual in order to create an environment in which the host communities and company become fundamentally interdependent for growth and development.

“As a matter of principle, the company believes in moral obligation to be inclusive of their host community’s welfare hence the development of college of football in order to create a new reality for the promotion of sports and development of young talents in football and other sports. This approach guarantees host communities friendly operation.

“Orlean Invest implements its stated vision in co-operation with respective Government Authorities, National Oil Companies and with the participation of all the major Oil and Gas Producing and related Service and Construction Companies. The vision being ultimately in line with the African Institute of Petroleum philosophy of adopting a Pan-African regional approach to handling Oil and Gas related activities in the Region”.

Volpi, who is described as a philanthropist, investor and industrialists, has spent half of his active years in Nigeria; also boast of Nigerian citizenship apparently due to his dedication and contribution to the nation’s economy.

The NPA said that Onne Port Complex, as a Landlord Port has been a model for port reforms in Nigeria, saying the complex, which started in 1982 as the Federal Lighter Terminal (FLT) has grown over the years to a very enviable state due to Public/Private Partnership.

Onne Port Complex is situated along Bonny Estuary on Ogu Creek, which is about 25 kilometres south of Portharcourt, Rivers State of Nigeria. The geographical area of the Port spans between NAFCON (Now NOTORE) Jetty and Bonny Island. It criss-crosses three Local Government Areas of Rivers State, namely: Eleme, Ogu-Bolo and Bonny.

The land area  of approximately 2,500 hectares is situated on the soil of Eleme Local Government Area while the  channel to the Port along Bonny River and Ogu Creek within Bonny and Ogu-Bolo Local Government Areas.


Information from Daily Independent was used in this report.