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South Africa Gets Its Sixth Energy Minister in Five Years

By Fred Akanni, in Windhoek

Immediate task is to rein in the crisis

A new Energy Minister was part of the cabinet portfolio changes effected by South African President Cyril Ramaphos a President in the last week of February 2018. Jeff Radebe, veteran member of the ruling ANC, was moved from the position of Minister in the Presidency to the Energy Ministry. His was one of the 24 changes the new President made in the 38 Cabinet portfolios.

Mr.Radebe, who has been a South African minister since 1994, is the sixth in succession, in the last five years, to Dipuo Peters. After Ms.Peters served as Energy Minister from May 2009 to July 2013, former President Jacob Zuma made several changes in relatively quick succession. Ben Martins, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubaneand, most recently,David Mahlobo, followed.

Under their watch, debts piled up and reputation floundered as corporate governance weakened in PetroSA, the country’s hydrocarbon E&P company; a Gas master plan, on the drawing board for over a decade, remained stubbornly on the back burner; the Integrated Energy Plan is out of date; oil companies have dithered about exploration in South Africa as uncertainty grew around the content and likely passage of the Mineral and Petroleum Bill; the country’s widely applauded Renewable Energy programme suffered disinvestment as Eskom, Africa’s largest Energy Utility, called off the connection of completed projects into the National Grid. The last victim of the country’s unforced Energy crisis is the plan to roll out a gas to power, Independent power programme.

Radebe was a student when he joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1976. The following year, he was dispatched to Mozambique and soon after to Tanzania where he worked as a journalist for a radio station in Dar es Salaam. Radebe was arrested in 1986 after an unsuccessful secret mission by the ANC, and was convicted under the Terrorism Act of the then Apartheid government. He was sentenced to a 10-year imprisonment on Robben Island. After a successful 12-day hunger strike, he was released from prison in 1990.

Radebe served as Minister of Public Works from 1994 to 1999 under Nelson Mandela. President Thabo Mbeki made him Minister of Public Enterprises (1999–2004) and Minister of Transport (2004-2009). He was Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development from 2009 to 2014. Radebe is South Africa’s longest continuously serving cabinet member.
South Africa’s media has outlined priorities for Mr, Radebe. “He has to reinforce the message that nuclear is unaffordable and is not on the cards”, wrote Engineering News, a reference to widely reported insinuations that former President Zuma was keen on foisting the building of very expensive, large scale nuclear power plants on the country.

The newspaper also wants the minister to reaffirm government’s support for the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, “which has delivered more than 60 projects to date, while simultaneously facilitating a material decline in renewables tariffs. He can deliver a quick win by overseeing the signing of the 27 power purchase agreements that have been illegally delayed by Eskom”.

Sam Dossou Is The New ABR Chairman

By Sully Manope, In Lagos

Sam Dossou-Aworet, the widely influential Beninois businessman, who is Chairman of the Board of NDWestern Ltd, has been elected President and Chairman of the Board of the African Business Roundtable (ABR).

Dossou-Aworet is first and foremost founder and Chairman of Petrolin Group, which has extensive interests in oil and gas operations around the globe. Petrolin holds about 40% of the equity in NDWestern, a special purpose E&P firm which holds 45% in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 34 onshore Western Niger Delta.

Going by his pedigree, it is unlikely that the Presidency of the ABR will excite Dossou-Aworet, unless he plans to turn around the moribund entity, described in a recent press release as an affiliated group of the African Development Bank (ADB).

The toothlessness of ABR is evidenced by the fact that one man, Bamanga Tukur, a politician from Northern Nigeria, had held the Presidency for over a decade. And for all the conversations around Africa as an emerging business hub, ABR’s voice has hardly been heard.

Dossou-Aworet has far more influence in the business world than his predecessor on the job. His tenure may provide the tonic that ABR needs to step up and make impact on the African business landscape. Until he makes the required changes, his takeover of ABR is meaningless.

Uganda’s Mugisha, Ghana’s Faibille For WAIPEC Conference in Lagos

Frank Mugisha and Egbert Faibille Jnr, heads of the petroleum regulatory agencies in Uganda and Ghana respectively, are expected to join dozens of leading industry personalities at the two day West African International Petroleum Conference starting in Lagos Wednesday, February 7, 2018.

Mugisha, who is acting Commissioner at the Petroleum Directorate in Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, will be speaking in a panel titled ‘Africa Overview’, scheduled for 12 noon on Wednesday. His participation is expected to provide new information about Uganda’s large scale oil development, the 200,000BOPD Lake Albert Basin project, scheduled for financial close sometime in 2018.

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Chevron Elects Caterpillar CEO To Its Board

Chevron Corporation has elected Jim Umpleby to its board of directors. Umpleby’s appointment is effective March 1, 2018, and he will serve on the Board Nominating and Governance Committee as well as the Management Compensation Committee.

“Jim Umpleby brings valuable perspective to the Board as chief executive of one of the world’s leading manufacturers of heavy equipment,” said Michael K. Wirth, Chevron’s chairman of the board and chief executive officer. “He has a strong background in varied dimensions that are relevant to Chevron’s business, including international policy, heavy equipment engineering, environmental policy, and global workforce development.”

Umpleby, 59, is Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of Caterpillar Inc. He joined a Caterpillar subsidiary, Solar Turbines, in 1980, and held leadership positions in a wide variety of functions at Caterpillar. Umpleby was named group president of Caterpillar’s Energy & Transportation business segment in 2013 and assumed the role of CEO on January 1, 2017.

A graduate of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering, Umpleby has also completed an executive leadership program at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. He serves on Rose-Hulman’s board of trustees, on the board of directors of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, and is a member of the Latin America Conservation Council and the Business Roundtable.

Chevron Corporation is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies.

Colin Klappa Takes Charge at Addax Nigeria: He’s Unlikely To Sell

Klappa: I See Only Upside

By Sully Manope, Lagos
Colin Klappa moved to the corner office of Addax Petroleum in Nigeria with a message to the employees that can be summarised in 19 words: “I believe in the future of Addax Petroleum Nigeria and look forward to leading a transformation of this company”.

The new CEO’s upbeat note to colleagues on January 9, 2018, contradicts the widely reported talks of an impending sale of Addax Petroleum assets in Nigeria. He talked of firm focus on safety, but also “the need to improve our operating results, reduce costs, and deliver faster and superior performance compared with our peers”.

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Fired: José Filomeno dos Santos

Angolan President, João Lourenço, dismissed José Filomeno dos Santos as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Angola Sovereign Fund on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

He immediately installed Carlos Alberto Lopes to the post. It was the second time in two months that the new President, elected last September, would fire a child of his predecessor, José Eduardo dos Santos, from a high ranking public position. Last November, Lourenço sacked Isabel dos Santos as head of Sonangol, the country’s state hydrocarbon company.

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Keter Returns To His Seat As Kenya’s Oil Minister

Charles Keter, 49, has been reappointed to the Kenyan ministry of energy and petroleum as cabinet secretary. It will be his second term. Mr. Keter was one of the six Cabinet Secretaries (Ministers) that President Uhuru Kenyatta has reappointed back to their former ministry posts.
Keter was first posted to the ministry in 2015.

He belongs to the United Republican Party (URP) on which ticket he was elected to represent the Belgut Constituency in the December 2007 Parliamentary elections. In 2013 he ran for the senatorial seat for Kericho County on a URP ticket under the Jubilee Coalition led by Uhuru Kenyatta.

With this appointment Keter is one of six cabinet secretaries that have retained their former seats after the elections that returned Uhuru Kenyata to the Presidency.

Keter comes back to the Petroleum Ministry at a transition time between the heady days of discovery after spectacular discoveries of crude oil in the country and the sober work of developing the discovered fields. President Kenyata is anxious that Kenya reaches first oil at terribly short notice, but these are financially challenged times for the industry and, as a site of oilfield development, neighbouring Uganda has retaken the lead in terms of consideration of International Oil Companies.

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”.

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