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Seven Items on Agenda for Industry Icon at 70

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.

Did Beni Peters Wield the Axe?

An immediate response to the news of Aiteo’s restructuring of its executive management was the question: Did the company’s founder and CEO ask its top two executives to proceed to retirement?

Did Benedict Peters ask Chike Onyejekwe, the pioneer Managing Director of Aiteo E & P Limited and Emmanuel Ukegbu, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, to move over for a new set of executives?

Africa Oil+Gas Report learnt that the two of them had been given seats on the board of directors, shortly before the announcement.
But that action still doesn’t answer the question. Aiteo’s press statement, released last Friday, said the retirement of the two and all new appointments were “with immediate effect”.

Victor Okoronkwo takes over Onyejekwe’s job. Emmanuel Ogagarue will move into Ukegbu’s role, which has been rechristened ‘Director in charge of Asset Development and Engineering’.

Part of the former COO’s job will be overseen by James Iwoh, who moves up from General Manager Operations, to Director in charge of Production and Operations.

The query around Onyejekwe’s and Ukegbu’s retirement arises from comparison of Benedict Peters’ management style with peer companies in the industry as well as how leadership changes in similar companies have been effected in the last five years.
Aiteo E&P Ltd, like Seplat, Shoreline Natural Resources, Neconde, FHN, Newcross E&P, NDWestern, and Eroton, is a product of Shell’s divestment of several of its leases in the last 10 years.

None of these companies, with the exception of Neconde and Eroton, has effected changes in the topmost management positions since they acquired Shell’s assets between 2010 and 2015. In the case of Neconde and Eroton, the Managing Directors who were appointed at the time of the start-up of the companies were consultants who had helped in executing the acquisition strategies and their contracts specifically stated that they were to be at the helm for a short amount of time.

Again, contrary to the practice by other companies, Aiteo’s directors; in executive management or otherwise, are not published on its website. The founder’s name and career history are the only such items on the site. Africa Oil+Gas Report learnt that Mr. Onyejekwe had been a little ill for a while, which may explain his ouster, if indeed that is what Mr. Peters did.
The one area in which the Aiteo management restructuring fits the industry mode is that the new Managing Director is a former Shell employee.

Laurence Sams Returns Home to Nigeria, For Century Group

Laurence Sams is back “home” in Nigeria.

He left the country in February 2018 after nine years as General Manager, Gulf of Guinea at PGS, the Norwegian Geophysical Company.

That company’s dwindling fortunes in Nigeria was the reason Sams left the place he loves so much, but now he is back in a new job, “to help forster Corporate Governance” at Century Energy a group of companies involved in E&P (operating the Atala marginal oil field in the Central Niger Delta Basin), Oil and Gas Logistics (developing the Kidney Island), FPSO leasing (it facilitated the lease of the Floating production facility on Ebok field for Afren/Oriental Resources) and FPSO management (It has managed for years, the NPDC controlled FPSO on the Okono field).

“We think his experience in such a place as PGS will serve us well”, says Ken Etete, founder and Group Chief Executive of Century Energy Group.

Sams is first and foremost a geoscientist; with a 1976 Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and Geophysics from Aston University and a 1978 Master of Science degree in Marine Geotechnics from Bangor University. He started his career as Project Geophisicist at Britoil Plc in 1980 and has been Senior Geophysicist at Carless Exploration Ltd and Chief Geophysicist at Nopec/PGS Nopec between 1985 and 1993.

He was first strongly noticed among the small, technical elite of  the Nigerian oil industry in 2005, when he was appointed Country Manager for PGS, a position he held until late 2008, before he was promoted to manage the Gulf of Guinea portfolio.


Oyelana Moves to Plusher Offices At CWC

Wemimo Oyelana has been promoted to the position of Vice President for Africa at CWC, the UK based oil and gas exhibition organiser.

Until the promotion, she had been Vice President Production for Sub-Saharan Africa, a job she took after two years as the company’s Project Manager for Nigeria.

Ms. Oyelana has kept Nigeria as part of her portfolio, even when she was Vice President + Production for Sub Saharan Africa. And in her new job of overseeing the entire continent, she says she will still be managing Nigeria “but expanding our business scope” in Africa.

The daughter of a stupendously famous Nigerian musician (Tunji Oyelana), Wemimo has been with CWC for eight years, since she joined as a marketing manager in February 2011. She left CWC briefly in March 2014, joining rival Energy Net as a senior Marketing Manager. By October 2014, she had left that company, returning to CWC.

Oyelana holds a first class Bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications from the University of Pedfordshire in the UK. Her Linked in entry says that she has “a demonstrated history of working in energy events within emerging markets. Certified in Project Management, skilled in Marketing Campaign Management, Business Planning and Sales. Strong media and communication background”.


Tullow Appoints Two Black Women to the Board

Irish founded, London Listed Tullow Oil, which styles itself as The Largest African Independent, has tweaked the membership of its board of directors, appointing two distinguished Black Women.

Sheila Khama, a policy adviser on the mineral, oil and gas industries at the World Bank and Genevieve Sangudi, Managing Director for The Carlyle Group based in South Africa, will join six white men and a white woman at the company’s Board Meeting on April 26, 2019, following Tullow’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 25 April 2019.

It would be exactly a year since Tullow welcomed its first female Chairman of the Board.

Dorothy Thompson, Chief Executive Officer (until the end of 2017), of Drax Group Plc, the international power and energy trading company, has been, for the past year, the only female on Tullow’s eight-person board.

Ms. Khama and Ms. Sangudi join the board as Tutu Agyare, the Ghanaian investment banker and only African on the board, exits after nine years. Mr. Agyare “has provided significant support and insight to Tullow, particularly with regards to Ghana, during his time as a director”, the company says in a release.

Sheila Khama’s job at the World Bank focuses on host government relations with commercial companies. She also represents the bank as an observer on the International Board of the EITI. She had worked in a similar role for three years at the African Development Bank, before taking up the World Bank job in 2016. Khama had earlier spent eight years with Anglo-American in Botswana as their Corporate Secretary before joining De Beers as their CEO in Botswana for five years until 2010.

Genevieve Sangudi has over 15 years of investment experience in Africa in the healthcare, financial services, oil & gas, petrochemicals, agribusiness and telecommunications sectors. She joined Carlyle in 2011 and played a lead role in launching Carlyle’s maiden Sub-Saharan Africa fund, including fundraising, strategy, origination and execution. Prior to joining Carlyle, Genevieve was a Partner and Managing Director with Emerging Capital Partners where she established and managed the firm’s Nigeria operations. Genevieve started her career in business development at Procter & Gamble in Boston.


Oyebamiji Takes Hold of NAPE

By Prospectus Matusha

Ajibola Oyebamiji has taken charge as President of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), the largest group of technical professionals in the oil industry on the African continent.

He is the 36th President of the 44 year old body

Oyebamiji had been waiting for the position for a whole year. The 50 year old biostratigrapher with ENI, the Italian explorer, was elected President Elect by the 7,000 strong body in November 2017, but as the NAPE constitution goes, the President Elect serves a term of a full year, waiting on the President, all the while running the continuing education structure of the organisation, which includes the monthly technical meetings and the annual, five day conference, the biggest technical-focused oil and gas summit in Nigeria.

Oyebamiji’s daytime job at ENI is largely as representative on the board of the Stratigraphic Committee of the Niger Delta (STRATCOM). He is currently the Chairman of the Biostratigraphic Subcommittee, a consortium of seven (7) IOCs.

Under Ajibola’s watch the Stratigraphic Committee of the Niger Delta successfully published a treatise titled -“Cenozoic Foraminifera and Calcareous Nannofossil Biostratigraphy of the Niger Delta”  The document published in December 2016 is the first publication on the biostratigraphy of the Niger Delta. He co-authored the publication.

Ajibola Oyebamiji obtained a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech, Hons) degree in Applied Geology from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, (FUTA) in 1991.  He graduated with a Master of Science degree in Micropaleontology, from the University College London, in 1996.

He started his career with Mosunmolu Limited in March 1993, as a Micropaleontologist, where he spent twelve (12) years. He rapidly became the Head of the Micropaleontology unit, in that company, in less than two years, He doubled as the Technical/General Manager of the company before he moved on to ENI.











Helen Clark Is the Next EITI Chair

Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and UNDP chief, has been confirmed as the chair nominee of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)

She will take over from Fredrik Reinfeldt, former Swedish Prime Minister who will conclude his term at the EITI’s Members’ Meeting on 17 June in Paris. EITI is the global standard to promote the open and accountable management of oil, gas and mineral resources.

Clark served three successive terms as Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 – 2008. While in government, she led policy debate on a wide range of economic, social, environmental, and cultural issues, including sustainability and climate change.  She then became UNDP Administrator for two terms from 2009 – 2017 and was the first woman to lead the organisation. She was also the chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programmes and departments working on development issues.

“It is a great honour to be nominated as the next chair of the EITI,” Helen Clark said. “I am convinced that enhanced transparency and accountability in the management of the extractives sector can contribute to real improvement in people’s lives, notably in the form of economic growth, access to energy and better infrastructure, and diminished corruption. I am very much looking forward to working with governments, supporting companies and civil society organisations to ensure that the EITI delivers on its mandate, which will contribute to the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

EITI chairs are appointed for three-year terms. Former UK Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short and founder of Transparency International Peter Eigen have served as previous chairs.

Norway Banks on Taofik Adegbite’s Business Savvy

“We’d set up a consulate service in Lagos”-Ambassador

“If I need to be introduced to a Norwegian businessman, I go to Taofik”.

So says Jens-Petter Kjemprud, the Ambassador of Norway to Nigeria, speaking at a reception organised around the investiture of Taofik Adegbite as Honorary Consul of Norway in Nigeria.

He said it in a way that provoked laughter around the room. But the comment was more of a high praise than a joke, coming from someone who was awarded the Ambassador of the Year prize for 2017 by the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO). Translation: Jens-Petter Kjemprud was regarded the most business-friendly Norwegian envoy anywhere in the world.

“We decided on Taofik Adegbite, (among a few very good candidates), as a prominent Nigerian businessman because of  him doing his trade in sectors important for Nigeria and Norway namely oil and gas industry, his broad network of business partners in Norway, his innovative skills, his prominence in promoting local content and his personality and determination”, declared the envoy.

Adegbite is Chief Executive of Marine Platforms, an oil service company which owns two large Multi-Purpose Support Vessels, used for work in deep water oil fields, located off Nigeria.

Kjemprud is something of an African expert. He has served as his country’s representative on the continent since 2006; as Ambassador or special envoy in four African countries (Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Nigeria), a 13 year stretch punctuated by just two years as Ambassador to Iran. In his 30 months in Nigeria he has witnessed Adegbite, running “a well-established company which could serve Norwegian interests in Nigeria well”.

The primary connection between Marine Platforms and Norway was through construction of the $130Million African Inspiration, the newer and bigger of the company’s two vessels. Commissioned in February 2015, African Inspiration was built in Havyard Shipyard, located in the maritime cluster in the north west of Norway. The vessel deploys Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and associated equipment to water depths that divers can’t reach. The ROVs perform tasks on equipment and structures on the seabed and return to the vessel.

But the relationship between the Nigerian company and the Norwegian business sector goes farther back. Marine Platforms started dealing with Norwegian companies when it chartered its first vessel: African Vision, in 2008. Business dealings with Norway, however spiked with the African Inspiration project, which brought in the Guarantee Institute of Export Credits (GIEC), the Norwegian export credit agency, to guarantee the debt incurred in the construction of the vessel.

Post the vessel’s commissioning, Marine Platforms has, in the last three years, done over $500Million worth of business with both Norwegian companies and Nigerian firms with which it has served as links to Norwegian companies, according to Adegbite.

“Since we have had an Embassy here since 1962 my predecessors have not seen the need for an honorary consul”, Kjemprud says. “On my arrival, being based in Abuja, I decided that we needed a more solid, visible and permanent presence in Lagos since most of the approximately 70 Norwegian companies operating in Nigeria are based there, and thus started the process of identifying candidates. Usually we have Norwegians as honorary consuls but we decided to go for Taofik. We would also like to have an honorary consul in Port Harcourt but Nigerian policy does not allow more than one.

“The Honorary Consul mandate is to serve Norwegian residents and interests generally, but we also see the opportunity in him promoting bilateral relations and trade in cooperation with the Embassy. The consulate will be in charge of consular services apart from visa applications which is handled by VFS”



Kachikwu’s Aide, Gbite Adeniji, Leaves the Nigerian Ministry of Petroleum

Gbite Adeniji is leaving the position of Special Technical Adviser, Upstream &Gas, to the Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum, at the end of December 2018.

He will be returning to private law practice, from which he joined the Public Service in December 2015.

A widely acknowledged oil and gas lawyer with a practice spanning more than a quarter century, Adeniji was one of the several key aides appointed by ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s Minister of State For Petroleum Resources, to provide intellectual grounding for policy thinking and execution and help build capacity in a ministry that had nothing to vet the proposals coming from (state hydrocarbon company) NNPC and (industry regulator) DPR.

“I planned to stay for a year”, he said over the telephone from Abuja, the country’s capital. “The plan was to design policy”. At the end of the year it was clear that the job wasn’t done as completely as he envisaged it, “so it became two years and then three”, he said. “But government job is never completely done”! He joked.

Adeniji is grateful for the opportunity. “I have had a ringside seat to seeing how the country runs and to help in a little way”. He has worked on domestic gas policy for a significant part of his career, so he was clearly seen as a fit.  Asked if there had been any substantial move towards integrating natural gas into the mainstream of the national economy in the last three years, he responds that the team at the Ministry of Petroleum had “pushed the needle a little”. There is, he says “a policy on the table, and a legislation coming”, and he refers the reporter to the website on which the Ministry congratulates itself on the progress of the Buhari years. He parries the question on whether the team of professionals assisting the Minister of Sate like himself have been able to build the capacity of personnel at the Ministry.

Adeniji will be going back to Advisory Legal Consultants, a Lagos law firm focused on energy and infrastructure, which he runs with his partner, Ike Oguine, former General Counsel at Chevron and NNPC.



Colin Klappa Breezed In and Breezed Out

By Toyin Akinosho, Publisher

Colin Klappa had one of the briefest tenures as Managing Director of an International E&P Company operating in Nigeria.

He took charge in January 2018 as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Addax Petroleum Nigeria Limited, the largest subsidiary of the Switzerland based, Chinese owned company, but by September 2018 he was out of the job, reported in the company’s internal memo as having decided to leave “to pursue other interests”.

Considering the gush of optimism in his January 13, 2018 letter to the staff, it is curious whether he was forced out or he simply decided he was leaving.

“It is great to be back and in this new role”, Klappa a dual British-Canadian citizen with a PhD in geology from UK’s University of Liverpool, wrote in his address to his colleagues, referencing, in a very vague way, the fact that he had worked in Nigeria once (between 1990 and 1994).

“I believe in the future of Addax Petroleum Nigeria and look forward to leading a transformation of this company that we and our stakeholders can be truly proud of. This is my goal”.

Klappa was taking charge of a company that was in distress; failing production, a large indebtedness to the Nigerian state and a plunging reputation. There were rumours stirring that Addax Petroleum Nigeria’s entire assets were to be sold and newspaper adverts arguing that if they would be sold, certain stakeholders had the right of first refusal.

“I see nothing but upside at APN”, Klappa had said in that first note. “Will it be smooth sailing and easy to revive the company and realize material growth aspirations? Of course not. But that is what we are here for and what makes the significant challenges that lie ahead of us ever more exciting”.

Depending on whom you talk to, there are varying opinions within Addax, as to why Colin Klappa left. Some tell Africa Oil+Gas Report that the scope of the challenges overwhelmed him. Others say that he didn’t move to douse the fires quickly enough and yet others argue that the Chinese leadership, some members of whom are also resident in Lagos, did not allow him a freehand to work.

Younhong Vchen, who was Deputy Managing Director operations, took over from Klappa on as Acting Managing Director on September 30, 2018.


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