By Prospectus Mojido, West Africa Regional Correspondent.
Layi Fatona, the Nigerian petroleum geologist whose career most symbolises the idea of growth of African indigenous E&P companies into functional, thriving, integrated entities, will turn 70 on June 1, 2019.
Two industry lectures and a panel session, spaced out over the course of two weeks, are some of the highlights of the series of seven events, planned to mark the milestone.
Fatona’s core constituency, the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), will host the first lecture on Wednesday May 15, 2019.
An industry lecture, planned for a more diverse, inclusive audience, will take place on May 30, 2019.
In between the two lectures, is scheduled a panel conversation, which comes up on May 27.
All three events are to hold at the Eko Hotel, located a whistling distance from the south Atlantic ocean in Lagos, the hub of Nigerian commerce.
The NAPE lecture on May 15 will be delivered by Fatona himself. Centering around the celebrant’s 45 year industry career, from the first postgraduate job at Shell, through consulting work at Geotrex, to building the Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP) into the country’s first homegrown integrated oil company, “Reminiscences on my 40+ year Journey in the Oil and Gas Industry in Africa”, will be the May 2019 edition of NAPE’s monthly, lunch hour technical session.
The industry lecture on May 30, to be delivered by Bayo Akinpelu, former Exploration Manager at Chevron Nigeria, will tackle the large elephant in the room. For 50 minutes, the founding President of the Africa section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), will process the question: “For How Long More Will the World Need Nigeria’s Oil?” The event will be chaired by Ben Osuno, former Chairman of NDEP, former Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, (the Nigerian oil industry regulatory agency) and the first Nigerian earth scientist to be employed by Shell, the AngloDutch major.
Fatona, the celebrant, is especially fixated on the Panel Session scheduled for May 27, members of which are entirely his own selection. Their remit will be to interrogate the issue of Where Nigeria’s NEXT Real Oil & Gas Industry Entrepreneurs will come from. “The nation is in search of the real defenders of a prime development sector”, he argues.
Fatona worries that career earth scientists, petroleum engineers and other professionals with experiences spanning several decades, forged in the smithy of the E&P sector, are often not interested in either investing or running the business of the sector and too often, non- professionals fill the gap.
The “Vibrant Panel Session”, as he calls it, will be moderated by Uche Dimiri, founder and CEO of Depthwize, a Drilling services and rig operating company. Members include Eke U. Eke, VP & Group Managing Director West Africa at Schlumberger; Demola Adeyemi-Bero, CEO of First E&P; Bank Anthony Okoroafor, Chairman Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) and Chief Executive, CB Geophysical Solutions Ltd; Toyin Akinosho, Publisher, Africa Oil+Gas Report; Emeka Ene, Chief Executive, Oiltest and a Director at both Energia and Eroton, both E&P companies; Austin Avuru, Chief Executive of London listed Seplat Petroleum, AbdulRazaq-Isa, Executive Chairman Waltersmith Petroman, and Bashir Koledoye, Chief Executive, D’Harmattan, an E&P consulting firm.