Delivers career centre, medical insurance and training for Africa’s largest grouping of geoscientists
Nosa Omorodion took charge of the presidency of Africa’s largest club of petroleum geoscientists at an inauspicious time.
Crude oil prices have remained at less than 40% of their 2013 value and a wave of retrenchments has swept the industry, affecting jobs and careers. The Presidency of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) has largely been a ceremonial, non-executive chairman of the board kind of role.
Now Mr. Omoriodion, 48, finds that he must turn the position into a more hands-on job.
His quarterly open letter to the 7,000 strong association demonstrates the urgency of the task to make NAPE a tent of comfort that could shield as much as possible, its members from the stormy gale.
“From where I sit I feel everyone’s pain”, he says in his first floor corner office in the Lagos office of Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield service company.
He doesn’t have to expatiate. Mr. Omorodion is a director in the Schlumberger Nigeria system. In the fourth quarter of 2015 alone, the company worldwide effected workforce reduction of 10,000 employees. He has personally witnessed long- time friends and colleagues around him asked to take a walk.
Still, his response to the carnage as NAPE President has been unique in the 41 year history of this advocacy group for the geoscience profession.
In his last letter, he announced that NAPE has set up:
- A Career Centre that will help with job postings.
- A one-off ”Graduated dues” payment scheme for members. Details will be in my next communication. This will however have to pass through the rigors of the AGM.
- Online Training Platform to help retool the professional careers of members will kick-off in Q3 2016
- Commencement of the much anticipated Healthcare scheme. This is set to go live by mid-August with Zenith Medicare as NAPE’s Healthcare provider
Each of this initiatives is new to NAPE which, on the surface, looks like a gathering of some of Nigeria’s highest earning tribe of professionals.
Mr Omorodion, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology in Akure, in the west of Nigeria, has put in 26 years in the hydrocarbon industry, 15 of them in the Schlumberger system, in Europe and Africa. But he has also devoted much of that time in the structure of geologist’s associations such as NAPE. He was, between 2010 and 2012, President of the Africa Region chapter of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), the largest body of petroleum geologists on the globe.
What he has observed is that the current downturn has also come at a time of the Great Greying of the industry in Nigeria. In the mid-1990s, the earliest generations of geoscientists to have reached the top executive ladders of the major multinational corporations started to retire. Several generations have followed them and with the recent drastic drop in crude oil prices, the industry is resetting itself.
It is to the credit of this incumbent NAPE President that he sees that a semi cooperative structure is important for NAPE, to shield its members from the vagaries of an economy that is, especially in Nigeria, a see-saw of sorts.
“The economic situation, more particularly in relation to our plan to deliver superior service, institutional reforms, improve infrastructure, establish good governance and enhance overall membership experience”, Mr. Omorodion says in his letter, “confronts us with factors which are matters of grave concern”.
Top on his table is the Healthcare insurance issue, which he flagged off on June 30, in Warri, the main city in the western Niger Delta basin. “Our next stop will be Port Harcourt chapter on July 27 followed by Abuja, Benin, Lagos and University of Ibadan in August. Details of the coverage and network of Zenith Medicare, the Healthcare provider as well as application forms can be downloaded from the NAPE website http://www.nape.org.ng/news/general-news/item/232-nape-health-management-organizations-hmo-takeoff.”
The healthcare scheme caters to various categories of membership; from students to active/associates, corporate members and retirees. “A personal satisfaction for me is that regardless of the nature or type of employment, affordable first class Healthcare services for members and their dependents can now be accessed through NAPE.
My personnel commitment will be to mobilize many senior industry operatives to contribute to a pool that will aim to subsidize and support students and junior members to partake in this program and good news is I have already started the engagement”.
That settled, Omorodion talks about other things. NAPE is going to work on revamping the idea of the NAPE Foundation, which was created in the 90s to build up a buffer for a time when oil companies might not be keen on sponsoring the events of the body. “We have reintroduced the minimum annual N2000 foundation dues for members and have concluded plans to reinvigorate the NAPE Grants-in-Aid support for university students.
It was Lyndon Johnson, a former American President who said “There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few we can solve ourselves”. Our seniors and retirees will be encouraged to donate their works, papers, books, time, gifts and assist with sponsorship of YPs and students.
But the advocacy for quality oil industry governance is what NAPE has been known for. And President Omorodion is aware that even if he does well in other areas, including new, life-saving initiatives, he would have failed if he does’t advance the association’s cause as a leading think tank for industry policy. “We shall strive to remain relevant in the legislative processes for the development and enactment of the laws that regulate the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. Silence and non-participation is not an option.
Our capacities and resources may be limited, but our voice must not be muted. In June we initiated a forum for subtle advocacy where CEOs/senior industry operatives and top government personnel rub minds and thoughts on ideas around our beleaguered industry and economy. Our guest was the COO/GED Upstream NNPC. The goal is to institutionalize this into a quarterly senior industry evening reception.
A special business publication that will be the repository go-to reference book, covering sections from Exploration opportunities and resource placement, Funding and Investment Climate, Divestment and Acquisitions, Hydrocarbon accounting, gas supply and monetization is at an advanced stage. The target launch date remains October 2016.
“The industry may be passing through a tough phase but let us never fail to remember that as geoscientists we light up the world. Our ideas find oil and gas. Gas remains the major source for power, and power the cornerstone for industrialization. Can you imagine a world without geoscientists? “