The Nigerian engineer, Leye Falade, has been appointed as Country Chair for Shell in Namibia.
In the role, Falade has the overall oversight of the multinational’s ambitious technical, managerial and regulatory activities, in one of the world’s hottest hydrocarbon exploration jurisdictions.
The new country chair was, until August 31, 2023, the General Manager in charge of Production at the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Ltd.
He takes over from Dennis Zekveld, who has held the fort since Shell returned to Namibia for exploration in 2014.
Falade’s Linked in profile describes him as an “experienced senior business leader with a demonstrated history of working in the oil & energy industry, who has worked across upstream and midstream assets in seven different countries across Europe, Asia, Middle East, Russia and Africa”.
By his own account, he is skilled in Gas, Petroleum, Product Optimization, Engineering, business improvement and change management.
He has “strong energy professional with an engineering degree and a MBA from Henley Business School, UK”, he explains.
Falade is taking over after the initial exploration work has been successfully done and the maturation phase begins. He is to superintend the clear line of sight to delivery at the terminal.
Namibia has witnessed a string of elephant sized oil and gas discoveries in the last 20 months. By some estimation, over Four Billion (probable and possible) barrels of oil and gas equivalent have been discovered by Shell and TOTAL, in the country’s deepwater Orange Basin, which also straddles South Africa.
Shell was a player in Namibia in the 1990s to early noughties, when it made the decision to exit the development of Kudu Field, the country’s only-if problematic- discovery at the time. In the 12 years between that exit and the return, Namibia’s exploration fortune hung in a “hoping“ mode. There were several dry holes drilled by several independents, the most notable of which was HRT, the Brazilian explorer.
Since arrival in 2014, Shell has completed three seismic surveys, analysed the data, and launched a hugely successful drilling campaign. Shell’s mega-discovery with the Graff-1X well, located in Petroleum License (PEL) 39, came in the first quarter of 2022, 20 years after its exit from Namibia. Shell operates PEL 39 with a 45% working interest and partners include Qatar Energy with 45% and NAMCOR, the national oil company of Namibia with 10%.