Shell Nigeria has granted loans worth N472 billion to 290 local vendors and suppliers under its Shell Contractor Support Fund.

The oil company said today that the initiative aligned with the objective of the SCSP scheme.

The SCSP was launched by Shell companies in Nigeria to help vendors and suppliers in the oil and gas industry secure funds at reduced interest rates, relaxed collateral requirements and quicker processing time.

The deal, which was initially signed with seven Nigerian banks — Access Bank, Skye Bank, Zenith Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank, FirstBank, Standard Chartered Bank, and Guaranty Trust Bank — in 2012, guaranteed hit-free access to$2.2 billion agreed and set aside for contract execution by local contractors in the oil and gas industry.

The oil company also said it awarded contracts worth over N230 billion to Nigerian contractors in 2017, representing 94% of the total contracts in that year.

The Country Chair Shell Companies in Nigeria and Managing Director of The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) Ltd, Osagie Okunbor, expressed the company’s delight while launching the 2018 Shell Nigeria Briefing Notes in Lagos early today “to support Nigerian contractors to play greater roles in the oil and gas industry.”

Okunbor explained further: “As pioneers in the industry, we have taken deliberate steps to award contracts to Nigerian vendors and worked with them to grow their capacity, cost efficiency, and delivery timelines. We discovered, however, that access to finance has been a challenge, and the search for a solution led to the Shell Contractor Support Fund.”

With the contractual grants active, the focus is on Nigerian ownership of key assets such as rigs, helicopters, and marine vessels, with Shell Companies providing technical and financial support to companies across a range of sectors including transportation, manufacturing and research and development.

On social investment, Okunbor pointed out that Shell companies had continued to work with government, communities and civil society to fund and implement projects and programmes that have a lasting impact on people’s lives in the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole.

According to him, since 2006, the SPDC JV has disbursed more than N41 billion to 37 active Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) clusters in Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa and Abia states.

The GMoU agreement brought a group (or cluster) of communities together with representatives of state and local governments, SPDC and NGOs, with the SPDC JV providing five-year funding for communities to implement development projects of their choice.

Also, in 2017, more than N18 billion was spent on direct social investment projects by the SPDC JV, Shell Nigeria Exploration, and Production Company and Shell Nigeria Gas.

Okunbor also disclosed that Nigeria remained the largest concentration of social investment spending in the Shell Group.