All articles in the Petroleum People Section:

Chol Deng Thon Takes Charge At Nilepet

By Fred Akanni, in Nairobi

Chol Deng Thon Abel, a 41 year old Civil Engineer, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Nilepet, the South Sudan state hydrocarbon company.

He replaces James The lweng Mathiang Rok, the former banker who was on the job for only five months.

No reasons were given for Mathiang’s axing, but gasoline and diesel shortage, encouraged by illegal diversions, had hit the war ravaged country for several months now.

Abel was born in Malakal, South Sudan in 1976. He graduated from the University of Khartoum, Sudan in 2002 and holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Civil Engineering. From September 2002 to September 2005, he worked as Civil Engineer at Irrigation Works Corporation after which he joined Lahmeyer International – consulting Engineers (Germany) as Soil Laboratory Engineer during the construction of Merowe dam (1250 MW) from October 2005 to March 2007.

In April 2007 to February 2010, Chol assumed the position of Assistant Coordinator for Southern Sudan hydro power projects as part of Dams Implementation Unit (DIU) of the presidency of Sudan.

In October 2007, Chol was awarded a scholarship from the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Programme to study at UNESCO-IHE where he obtained a Master of Science in Municipal Water and Infrastructure. In March 2010, he started his Ph.D. study entitled: “Soil Aquifer Treatment: Assessment and Applicability of Primary Effluent Reuse in Developing Countries” at UNESCO-IHE and Delft University of Technology under the financial support of UNESCO-IHE Partnership Research Fund (UPaRF) through NATSYS project.

Akufo-Addo Sacks The Last Man Standing

Theophilus Ahwireng, former geophysics manager at GNPC, was the first CEO of Ghana Petroleum Commission

The last political appointee in Ghana’s oil industry from the last dispensation has been fired.

Theo Ahwireng, appointed by former President John Mahama as the founding Chief Executive of the Ghana Petroleum Commission, the E&P regulatory agency, was removed early in the week of August 7, 2017, as President Akufo-Addo announced Egbert Faibille as the successor.

Ahwireng went to the job four years ago as a veteran oil man. He had been manager geophysics at the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation and was credited as one of those in the GNPC who had proposed the drilling of the prospect that turned out to be Jubilee, Ghana’s first significant sized oil and gas field.

The location had been “on the drawing board”, long before Kosmos and its partners acquired the licence area and drilled the prospect in 2007.

Ahwireng established and fleshed out the local content philosophy in the hydrocarbon market, guided by the Petroleum (Local Content And Local Participation) Regulations, 2013. It was both his signature contribution to the fledgling industry and his major headache. Critics accuse him of using Local Content tools to feather the nest of cronies and disallowing competitive tenders.

But that was not the major reason why he was fired. President Akufo-Addo would not have an opposition party sympathiser at the head of such a crucial agency.

The man who takes over from Ahwireng has a lot to learn, even though some media platforms say he is incorruptible. Egbert Faibille, 47, is a keen supporter of President Akufo-Addo, and he has worked very briefly with the GNPC during which period he was seconded to the West African Gas Pipeline Project (WAGP) as the Ghana Country Communication Representative of the project.

He was on the job for less than a year and has not worked anywhere near the oil industry since. He is the publisher of the Ghanaian Observer Newspaper. He had previously worked for the Independent Newspaper.

After graduating from law school, he worked in the law firm of Yoni Kulendi, after which he moved on to establish his own law firm Faibille & Faibille.

‘I Will Improve the Approval Turnaround at the Regulatory Agency’-Maseli

Pat Maseli, head of the Upstream Monitoring and Regulation at the Department of Petroleum Resources, Nigeria’s hydrocarbon regulatory agency, says she intends to drive improvement in approval turnaround time in her department.

Maseli took up the job six months ago; a deputy director’s role and one with significant responsibilities.

The DPR processes applications for various Licences, Permits and Approvals across the entire Oil and Gas value chain in Africa’s largest hydrocarbon producing country. The permits and approvals range from Oil Exploration Licence (OEL) to Lubricant Retailers Licence. Mrs. Maseli’s department is the most influential of the six departments in that its activity delivers acreage renewals, approves field development plans and grants permits to seismic, drilling and well intervention, among other upstream activities. It serves as the gatekeeper to the all-important “Ministerial consent”, without which a farm in by any investor into an awarded acreage cannot be concluded.

“All Companies requesting approvals would have to apply early enough and ensure all the required are provided in line with provisions of the Petroleum Act and applicable regulations rather than stampeding the Department with ‘urgent’ requests every now and then”, she said in a high profile interview, published in NAPE News, an organ of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists.

“As a proactive regulator”, Maseli explains, “the DPR is expanding its capacity both human and technological to supervise the Industry more effectively. In evaluating applications and granting licences, permits and approvals, they should utilise appropriate tools to validate and review submissions from companies”.

“The Department, as the technical arm of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, does a lot of work at the back end and its staff are, most often than not, stretched to the limit”, Maseli avers. “The DPR provides technical inputs into development of policies carry out bid-round activities, mediate to resolve conflicts between companies”.

It is why she is keen on training and retraining: “My focus is to expose staff to state-of-the-art tools, like those used by the Industry and enhance their capacity to a level superior to their industry counterparts.
“For me, every Geologist, Geophysicist or Engineer should be able to utilise modern tools for evaluation, interpretation and processing of sub-surface data”.

Maseli, who entered the hydrocarbon industry as a Youth Corper (the mandatory one year post graduation service) in NNPC 35 years ago, is the first woman to get to that position. She admits to the journal that she has broken the ceiling into multiple shards of glass at the agency, but argues that women “have only scratched the surface”, in reaching upper management in the Nigerian oil industry.

“There are more glass ceilings to be broken. I want to see more women in key positions in the oil industry. We are yet to have a female GGM in NAPIMS, (the investment arm of the NNPC, the state hydrocarbon company), a female Director of DPR and a female Group Managing Director in NNPC. These three strategic positions have been occupied by men since inception of the oil industry. Until this is achieved, there are more glass ceilings to be broken, and I would like to use this medium to appeal to Government to consider the female folks with wealth of experience and right competencies to be appointed to those positions. Government should ‘search and shall find’ worthy women to be appointed to key positions in the sector”.

Mwangi Takes Hold of Kenya’s NOCK

MaryJane Mwangi, former General Manager in charge of Downstream at the Kenyan state hydrocarbon company, has been confirmed as the firm’s CEO, a position she has held in acting capacity for 18 months.

Ms. Mwangi, who is contracted by the board of directors of the National Oil Company of Kenya to serve a renewable three year term as the boss, has been in the company for nine years, starting as Head of Sales and Marketing in 2008. She also has worked for downstream units of Chevron, ENI and Shell-BP in a career spanning 18 years.

She succeeds Sumayya Hassan-Athmani who proceeded on terminal leave ahead of her contract expiry in March 2017, after a troubled tenure that began in September 2010.

But the seeds for the same challenge that faced Ms. Hassan-Athmani have been sown for Mwangi.

Whereas Hassan-Athmani was accused of, among other things, granting exclusive rights to acquire data over any offshore acreage exclusive permits to Western Geophysical, a subsidiary of the oil service behemoth Schlumberger, Ms. Mwangi faces the certain prospect of being accused of nepotism, should Tullow Oil, the top upstream oil company player in Kenya, be seen to be favoured on any issue.

She is married to Martin Mobogo, Tullow Oil’s Country Manager in Kenya.


Sola Falodun, General Manager, Drilling and Completion Systems for Nigeria-based OES Energy Services, has been presented with an Exemplary Service Award of the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC).

The former chairman of the Nigerian chapter (and the only African chapter) of the association received the honour at the IADC World Drilling Conference and Exhibition 2017, held at The Beurs van Berlage, a picturesque building on the Damrak, in the centre of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Mr Falodun was recognized for his service as Chairman of the IADC Nigeria Chapter, as well other contributions to the organization, including serving on the Programme Committee for IADC Drilling Africa. “The spirit of camaraderie and friendship that characterizes our association has been immeasurably enhanced by your presence and generosity of giving up your time and talents to our organization,” Jason McFarland, President, IADC worldwide, reportedly said in presenting the award.

According to a story in The Drilling Contractor, the IADC organ, Mr Falodun noted his gratitude in receiving the award, stating that he was “profoundly humbled.” He further thanked the IADC executive team, including Mr McFarland; Bob Warren, IADC VP Onshore Division; and Mike DuBose, IADC VP of International Development.

“Without hydrocarbons, the world would be a dark place,” Mr Falodun told the conference attendees. “Keep on drilling”.

Angola’s Next President Is Quite Popular

Joao Lourenço, the man handpicked by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos to succeed him as Presidential candidate in the August 2017 election, “enjoys wide support across the ruling MPLA party and the military”, according to Lucy Corkin, a keen student of Angolan affairs. “Crucially, he has remained out of the lime light and evaded allegations of corruption, a sensitive issue given the rising international concerns regarding anti-corruption and corporate compliance”, Corkin writes in After the Boom: Angola’s Recurring Oil Challenges in a New Context, published by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. “Even more significantly, his wife Ana Afonso Dias Lourenço is a political force to be reckoned with. She served as Vice Minister (1997-1999) and Minister of Planning (1999-2012) and is currently an executive director on the Board of the World Bank Group. This renders the couple a power base with the right credentials to appease a wide variety of stakeholders and interest groups”.

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Fatona Begins His Exit from Executive Leadership of NDEP

By Akpelu Paul Kelechi, in Lagos

Layi Fatona, Managing Director of Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP), will progressively relinquish the functions of his position as Managing Director and Chief Executive of Niger Delta Exploration and Production, Nigeria’s most integrated indigenous E&P Company.  The process is the first of several phases of the company’s “Executive leadership succession and implementation programme”.

Fatona has held the reins of NDEP for 25 years. The company is the country’s first formal operator of a marginal field. It has been producing the Ogbele oil field (current output: 6,000BOPD) since 2005. It operates the only private owned crude oil refinery in the country and has built and run a gas processing plant for the past four years.

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NAPE Hosts A State of Play for Sylvester Adegoke

By Johnbull Nwokoh, in Abuja

Africa’s largest body of petroleum geoscientists, the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) is hosting a technical session in honour of one of the continent’s most erudite geoscience scholars in July 2017.

Sylvester Adegoke, professor of earth sciences, will be 80 on July 9, 2017 and a group of individual and corporate members of NAPE has come together to sponsor a Technical Session in his honour, under the aegis of NAPE, with membership of over 5,000 strong.

The July 2017 edition of NAPE’s lunch hour monthly technical session, scheduled for 11am on July 12, 2017,is sponsored by a group that includes Waltersmith Petroman and Platform Petroleum,both E&P companies producing crude oil and gas, as well as Energy and Mineral Resources (EMR) and Degeconek, both of whom are hydrocarbon asset consultants.

“NAPE is a platform for discussion of the most current advances in petroleum geosciences”, says Abiodun Adesanya, President of the association. “We are proud to be asked by sponsors who want to fund this session and who already have a line-up of speakers headlining a robust technical programme”.

The lunch hour event, to be held at the Eko Hotel, is themed: State of Play: The Trailblazing Path of an Illustrious Geoscientist.

“It will feature three technical papers and a tribute, all of which touch on activity that Professor Adegoke has been involved in during his illustrous career”, says Adesanya.

PAPERS include:

1. Refinement of the Stratigraphic Framework of the Niger Delta by Ajibola Oyebamiji, Coordinator, Geosciences Research & Development & Knowledge Management, Nigerian Agip Oil Company -15 minutes.

2. MOS Energy (A Journey in Upstream E&P Entrepreneurship) by Dayo Adegoke, Managing Director, Mos Energy Company-10 minutes

3. Petroleum Systems of Nigeria’s Cretaceous Sedimentary Basins-Insights and the future By Kenny Ladipo Ph.D, who is Senior Exploration Advisor at Lekoil -18minutes.


Professor O.S. Adegoke …….” Personal reminiscences about an Outstanding Earth Science Professional and a Role Model(Academician, Industry Professional and multiple National and International award winner), by Ebi Omatsola, Ph.D, Former Chief Executive, Conoil Producing and Africa’s leading exploration thinker. He has 10 minutes.

“There will be intro, welcome and appreciation by NAPE President for just five minutes”, says Seye Fadahunsi, a former NAPE Vice President who is the animating spirit behind this special session. We should wrap up everything,, including Professor Adegoke’s 10 minute response, under 1 hour 20 minutes”, he says. Messrs Fadahunsi and Adesanya were both students of Adegoke at the University of Ife’s geology department in the west of Nigeria in the early 80s.

Adegoke grabbed a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria’s premier University, in 1962, proceeding the following year to the University of California, Berkeley, to study for a higher degree in Geology with special emphasis on Paleontology, the study of fossils for dating earth structure.

He is reputed to have been one of the very few graduated Students in the history of that University who completed their Doctoral dissertations within the record period of three years. Angeline Myra Keen Myra, Emeritus Professor of Paleontology of Stanford University,noted that Adegoke’s dissertation at Berkeley clearly belonged to “the classic type that has been a hallmark of University of California Geological Series for the past half century.”

His main claims to distinction include extensive pioneering studies of the bitumen (tar sand) belt in southwestern Nigeria; comprehensive paleontology work that determined the major boundaries between the cretaceous Dahomey and tertiary Niger Delta basins as well as forensic level studies of the Chad Basin, the latter as consultant to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

NAPE on its own does not organise technical sessions for individuals. This session is being hosted on the association’s platform. “Corporate organisations and individual with robust technical programmes will be hosted on our platforms”, says Adesanya. “Professor Adegoke is clearly respected by companies and individuals who themselves are much respected”, the President explains. “They have brought this session to our platform and we are so proud to host it”.

Ayoade Is New Boss At Erin Headquarters

Erin Energy has named Femi Ayoade as CEO and new Director of the Corporation. He replaces Segun Omidele, who resigned effective February 22, 2017. Up until Mid-May 2017, when Ayoade took over, Jean-Michel Malek, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary, served as Interim Chief Executive Officer, while the Board conducted a search for a permanent replacement.

Ayoade has more than 20 years of experience in the oil and gas industry and extensive experience on exploration and production operations offshore Nigeria. From 2008 to 2013, he was a Senior Technical Executive at CAMAC Petroleum Limited and Allied Energy Plc Nigeria and from 2006 to 2008, he was a Senior Drilling Engineer at Nigeria Agip Exploration (a subsidiary of ENI).

New non- executive directors and members of the board who joined the board in Mid-May 2017 are John Rudley, an American and Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, a Nigerian. Rudley served as the President of Texas Southern University from February 2008 to July 2016; Ahmed, meanwhile, “has an extensive history of government service on behalf of the Republic of Nigeria and has served as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation of Nigeria, a role that involved serving as Secretary to all Councils and bodies chaired by the President of the Republic, such as the Federal Executive Council and the Council of State. Mr. Ahmed served as the Minister of Defense and as the Head of Civil Service.

PGS Chief To Become Chairman of Statoil

Jon Erik Reinhardsen has been elected as new chair of Statoil’s board of directors.

Øystein Løseth, who was chairman for the last two years, had informed the nomination committee that he did not wish to stand for re-election in 2017, as he wants to return to a career seeking more operational positions.

Løseth leaves the board on July 1, 2017.

Reinhardsen will resume from the position of Chief Executive Officer of Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS)a job he has held for nine years (since 2008), and take on chairmanship of the board of one of Europe’s largest E&P companies from September 1, 2017, until the ordinary election of shareholder-elected members to the board of directors in 2018.

Meanwhile, Roy Franklin will retain his position as deputy chair and will function as the acting chair of the board in an interim period fromJuly1, 2017, when Løseth leaves the board of directors, until and including August31, 2017.

WencheAgerup, Bjørn Tore Godal, Rebekka Glasser Herlofsen, Maria Johanna Oudeman and Jeroen van der Veer were all re-elected members of the board of directors.

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