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High Debt Pushes Diesel Marketer, Otedola, Off The Rich List

Nigerian diesel marketer Femi Otedola couldn’t make it to Forbes’ richest 40 Africans because of his huge debt profile and the steep fall in the share price of his petroleum marketing company, African Petroleum (now Forte Oil), the Magazine reports on its website.

“Otedola had been one of Nigeria’s biggest debtors for the past few years with non-performing loans reported at close to $1 billion”, said the journal, a self – appointed tracker of the world’s wealthiest, quoting the Nigerian media. Mr. Otedola’s flamboyant lifestyle and the fact that he often gets photographed with the country’s president reinforces the perception of an influential man. But media reports, especially since the fuel subsidy bubble bust earlier in the year, have emphasized the liabilities of the son of a former governor of Lagos State.

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Frank Timis, Dahiru Mangal, Influence New Acreage Awards In Niger Republic

Frank Timis, Dahiru Mangal, Influence New Acreage Awards In Niger Republic

IP’s blocks are the most prospective after the Chinese operated leases.

In the end, the recently concluded award of licenses for nine hydrocarbon acreage in Niger Republic, came down to the influence of two people: Frank Timis, founder of International Petroleum, and Dahiru Mangal, the Nigerian owner of Persoil Trading and Maxx Air.

Imis, who has, through Africa Petroleum, built a substantial portfolio of acreages in deepwater West Africa, got his day in the desert by winning four acreages in the Sahelian country for his other company: International Petroleum(IP).

A Cabinet meeting on July 6, 2012 awarded Manga 1, Manga 2, Aborak and Tenere West to IP. All of the blocks awarded on IP are trending along the flanks of the trough where reserves have been discovered and currently under production in areas operated by the China National Petroleum Company.

Mr Timis, who is becoming one of the most aggressive hydrocarbon explorers in Africa’s frontier basins(His African Petroleum drilled two deepwater wells in Liberia in 2010/2011 and opened up the country with the first commercial discovery), had courted the Niger Republic president for months, flying into the country several times, according to reports.

Dahiru Mangal, the Nigerian businessman with the most extensive logistics operations along the Nigerian-Nigerien border, was able to get three blocks for Advantica  Gas &Energy and Labana Petroleum, companies linked to two former governors of states in Northern Nigeria.

Labana won Dibella 1, which adjoins CNPC operated  Bilma block to the east. Advantica was awarded the Manadaram Block, south of  I. P’s Aborak. Labana’s other award is Dallol, which is located in the far South west of the concession map.

Mangal’s companies have been responsible for transporting Nigeria’s Northern Pilgims to the Hajj for years and that is quite an important work in the context of economic issues in that part of the country. He was very close to Umar Musa Yar’adua, the late Nigerian president, but more crucially for these new awards, Mr Mangal is very chummy with Mahamadou Issoufou, president of Niger Republic.

Sirius Energy, another company linked with Nigerian owners, won the Grein block, which sits directly north of CNPC operated Tenere block. The Djado 1 permit went to Genmin Bermuda.


Faga Takes You To First Oil

Abraham Faga runs a company that serves as well design, drilling operations and well completions department for a host of homegrown Nigerian E&P firms. He is in a niche market. He brings to it a wealth of experience gained largely from his background working in some of the world’s most remote places for Schlumberger (the largest oilfield service firm on the planet) and the psychology of a structured E&P company which he learned in his 12 years working for Shell, the Anglo Dutch major who operates the largest hydrocarbon asset portfolio in Nigeria.

Oil majors working in Africa have the capacity to run their own drilling operations; from well design to completion.

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SacOil Admits Carina de Beer To The Board

SacOil Holdings limited has appointed Carina de Beer as the Financial Director of the company. Ms de Beer is a Chartered Accountant (SA), who has been a part of the SacOll executive team from the time of the acquisition of Samroc (as SacOil was then called) while it was still listed under the Venture Capital board of the JSE. Carina completed her articles with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and she has extensive experience in corporate financial management and reporting, company secretarial practice and corporate governance. Carina is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Chartered Secretaries of South Africa, and the Institute of Directors.

Robin Vela, the Chief Executive of SacOil, had this to say about the appointment: “We are pleased that Carina has agreed to join the SacOil Board of Directors. She is an excellent addition to the team, and brings a wealth of experience with her that will greatly benefit the company”.


Orca Promotes Andrew Brown

Orca announced two senior natural gas operations and marketing appointments. Andrew Brown has been named General Manager of the company’s natural gas production, gas marketing and distribution operations in Tanzania. Pierre Raillard has been named Vice President, East Coast Transmission and Marketing, the new infrastructure development division of Orca.

Mr. Brown has had a broad and successful career in downstream gas marketing and operations. He previously held senior management positions over a period of 36 years within the BG Group. Mr. Brown recently served as Managing Director for BG’s Nile Valley gas company in Egypt. His skill and experience are ideally suited to managing operations and continuing the development of Orca’s gas markets in Tanzania. Mr. Brown will be based at Orca’s operations headquarters in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He replaces Pierre Raillard as In-Country Manager.

Mr. Raillard has been with Orca since it began its natural gas operations in Tanzania. He has played a key role in the development of the Company’s Songo Songo natural gas operations and has been at the heart of Orca’s market development work with industrial and utility gas customers. Mr. Raillard will head up a previously announced new division of Orca committed to expand midstream gas distribution beyond Dar es Salaam and potentially for export to other countries in East Africa.

As part of this, Mr. Raillard is leading a study focused on expanding the onshore natural gas pipeline system that currently transports Songo Songo gas to Dar es Salaam. An expansion would require the twinning of the existing 207 kilometer onshore pipeline. Ultimately it is envisioned that the pipeline could be extended along the coast – north to Mombasa and south to Mtwara near the Mnazi Bay gas discovery on the border with Mozambique.


Ojo Grabs The Reins Of NAPE

Africa’s largest body of petroleum professionals has elected a new leader. Jide Ojo, who is general manager of Exploration for Addax’s Nigerian subsidiaries, is the new President of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Exlorationists (NAPE).

Established in 1975, NAPE has grown over the years into the foremost Oil and Gas geoscience professional organisation and has consistently taken a central role in influencing policy decisions. The association also sustains a platform for individuals as well as corporate entities to further both socio-strategic and technical interactions to leverage competitive advantage in the Oil and Gas industry. NAPE membership transcends academia as well as the Oil & Gas, Mining and Energy sectors within and outside Nigeria. The Association is an affiliate of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and is supported by a large number of corporate entities which champion its programmes.

A graduate of the University of Ibadan, Jide Ojo served as NAPE’s Vice-President and Ex-Officio member from 1996 to 1997. In 2010, he became the President-Elect of the Association as well as the Chairman, of the Planning Committee of the recently concluded Regional Deepwater Offshore West Africa Conference.

This event, a collaboration between the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists  (AAPG), featured workshops, oral as well as poster presentations and short courses which focused on successes, challenges and future prospects of the West African deepwater and ultra deepwater terrains. The five-day programme was attended by over 1,000 leading global industry players and stakeholders.

Mr. Ojo is a certified  Petroleum Geologist with over 30 years of local and international work  experience in the Oil and Gas industry.


Ogunbiyi Takes Hold Of FHN

First Hydrocarbon Nigeria Limited has appointed Constantine ‘Labi’ Ogunbiyi as Chief Executive of the  Company.  FHN was established in 2009 by Afren, the UK listed operator and some Nigerian partners, with the objective of increasing indigenous involvement in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry by acquiring and developing substantial oil and gas assets in Nigeria from the joint ventures between the Nigerian government and international operating companies. The Company has announced its initial acquisition, subject to regulatory and government approval, of the Oil Mining Lease(OML) 26 from the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) Joint Venture in October 2010.

Mr Ogunbiyi was appointed following a request from the company’s Board of Directors to Afren Plc that he be released to focus on the growth and development of FHN, as the Company seeks to establish itself as a leading indigenous player in the upstream oil and gas sector in Nigeria.

Constantine Ogunbiyi became an Executive Director of Afren on 3rd January 2008 and was part of the management team that established the Company in late 2004. In his role as Executive Director he was responsible for business development, growth and strategy at the Company and was instrumental in the establishment of FHN, its capital raising efforts and its subsequent acquisition of an interest in OML 26 In Nigeria.


Centrica Boss Moves On To SEPLAT

Stuart Connal, who, only last June was briefing the press about the changes in status of Centrica’s operations in Nigeria, is now working for SEPLAT. The former managing director of the Nigerian subsidiary of the British Gas company resumed as the Chief Operating Officer at the Nigerian Independent, around November 2010. He reports directly to Austin Avuru, SEPLAT’s CEO and Managing Director. Connal is well liked by the Nigerian media, who find him easily accessible and engaging.


CEES UIJLEN HOED, A BIO

A Dutch national with over 10 years of living in Nigeria. Married to a Nigerian lady from Onitsha. Three daughters who have all lived in Nigeria, but currently in The Hague (Holland) because there is no Dutch education in that West African country. They visit regularly.

Studied and graduated at University of Amsterdam where Cees read economics.

Joined Shell in 1982 and had a long career in general management and finance. Left Holland in 1985 to work in such places as Saudi Arabia, Chile, London (UK), Dubai and Nigeria. Was the Finance Director for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria in 2004/5 and subsequently took up the position of Finance Director for Shell in Africa (E&P). Moved to Dubai to become Finance Director for Shell in the Middle East, Caspian and South-East Asia. Left Shell in 2009 to return to Nigeria and join Sahara to become their Group CFO. In the middle of 2010, took on the responsibility of CEO/Managing Director of the upstream/E&P companies of Sahara with the prime objective to expand the E&P business both in Nigeria, the rest of Africa and the Middle East.


Can Cees Win The Bet On Sahara?

 “I will take your money”, the Dutch National warns a Nigerian journalist.

Minutes after Cees Uijlenhoed concluded a press conference in which he spoke of Sahara Energy’s plans to commence oil production by July 2011, a reporter walked up to him, held his gaze and challenged him to a bet.

Uijlenhoed, CEO of Sahara Energy Fields, the Nigerian independent, took up the challenge.

“Come back later in the year and I’d take your money”, the Dutch national responded.

At stake was whether Sahara Energy Fields would, indeed, deliver on the promise it was making: to commence, within the year, field development on Oki field, one of the four undeveloped discoveries in the Oil Prospecting Lease(OPL) 274, its 870km2 land acreage in the northwest Niger Delta Basin. Mr Uijlenhoed had admitted, in the course of the conference, that as of the last week of January 2011, there was no rig contract in place for the development, a fact which made the claim of likely oil production by mid year quite a stretch. The Oki structure straddles the NPDC operated Oziengbe south, a producing field which lies on adjacent acreage. This is supposed to be a low hanging fruit. But Sahara has other such opportunities strewn all over the 5,994km2 of onshore and offshore acreage in which it has interests in the Niger Delta basin. One is the Tsekelewu field, another oil pool straddling a producing field, which the company has held for more than five years without either re-entry, nor new drilling. Reasons proffered for the inactivity on Tsekelwu field include the excessive militant activity in the swamp terrain.

Still, Cees Uijlendoed, a former CFO of Shell E&P Africa, is nothing if not but optimistic about Sahara Energy Field’s prospects. He believes there is a significant opportunity for a “credible radically change in the next five years and the domination of IOCs will diminish”.

When someone tried to take advantage of his pedigree and steer him to a discussion about why Shell left Angolan deepwater in the early 2000s, Uijlendoed returned the topic back to Sahara Energy: “Look, that is a big company”, he says of Shell. “Here in Sahara, we are smaller and focused on more specific things”. It is Sahara’s objective to step into the vacuum likely to be left by IOCs, in Nigeria he argues. “But also outside of Nigeria, the concept of a privately owned, ‘fast decision making’, credible E&P company resonates with host Governments because Sahara is focused on its partners, builds the relationship and aligns its interest with host Governments, It is not hindered by global portfolio considerations and rankings, like the IOCs, which make Country X the flavour of the month in one year but fail them the next”.

Sahara Energy Fields Ltd, part of the Sahara Group of Companies, represents the E&P sector for the group and has extensive interests in onshore and offshore blocks in Nigeria and Ghana.

Mr Uijlendoed’s speech was peppered with a rosy account of Sahara Energy’s place in the sun and the value the company was bringing to the table in its joint venture agreement with Azimuth Limited, a private limited company “currently being registered in Bermuda”. A joint statement by the two entities declared that Azimuth had purchased a license to view, under certain terms and conditions, the global multi client data library of Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS), which contains “150,000km2 of 3D seismic data and “21,500km of 2D seismic data across West Africa. Azimuth was drawing on a pool of 85 technical experts, and was well positioned to analyse E&P assets throughout Africa and to develop credible bids for acquiring attractive properties”, the statement added.

Sahara Energy says that it has plans for seismic surveys in its “highly prospective acreage onshore and offshere Nigeria”, to “enhance prospectivity and thereafter seek improved farmout terms for drilling”.

“The agreement formalises a partnership between the two companies throughout West Africa — from Mauritania in the north to Namibia in the South (the Area of Mutual Interest). To leverage the strengths of both partners, Sahara and Azimuth will pool resources and collaborate openly when identifying and acquiring attractive E&P acreage. Where possible, and as appropriate, the partners will seek to utilize PGS’ proprietary technology — such as the industry-leading “GeoStreamer” seismic acquisition system — when developing acquired acreage. In all cases, Sahara will act as Operator on behalf of the partners when such a role is required by the terms of relevant Petroleum Contracts”.

What is key is that Sahara is well known for acquiring acreages. Now is the time to work up their development, because it is in field development work that the real value is added, in the form of job opportunities in communities, building local skills, and providing onsite services that accelerate neighbourhood economic development. When a government like Nigeria’s chooses to award acreage to an indigenous company like Sahara, it is hoping that the company can build the capacity to develop those assets as a truly Nigerian company. It is Nigeria who ultimately wins the bet if Sahara Energy goes through as operator of the Oki field and delivers first oil in good time as a Nigerian company.

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