“Two Decades Of Organic Growth: The Remarkable Journey Of The “Problem Solving” Century Group” - Africa’s premier report on the oil, gas and energy landscape.

“Two Decades Of Organic Growth: The Remarkable Journey Of The “Problem Solving” Century Group”

By Osamede Okhomina

OPINION

Who would have imagined we would end up here today? That we would end up in an investment regime where oil and gas capital would be so hard to come by. In this era of chasing “renewables” and with the anti-fossil fuel campaigners lobby investment funds to pull out of our sector, oil and gas capital has become a very scarce commodity. So oil companies are scrambling around looking for innovative ways to recapitalize themselves and re-tell their development strategy.  Into this mix, we can now appreciate the foresight of Century Energy who had for nearly two decades had been drumming the story that we all needed to re-invent the way we approached our “use of capital”.  That is, as it’s Group CEO, Ken Etete, would always say, that by “farming out” key elements of our oil and gas infrastructure to companies like his, we could better focus our attention on the sub-surface and leave the heavy engineering to strategic partners like Century. This was Ken’s key Innovation and one that took the industry a relative long while to come to fully appreciate.

Ken’s long journey to establishing Century in this space is not so well known. So let me say a few words on it.

In this dynamic landscape of the oil and gas industry, where volatility is constant and innovation rare, few companies have demonstrated the resilience and adaptability of Century Group. Over the past two decades, Century Group has not only weathered the storms of doubt, non-paying clients, difficult funding regimes and geopolitical tensions, but has also managed, against the odds, to carve out a path of sustainable growth through organic means.

Twenty-two years ago, Century Group began its journey as a modest servicing firm through the flagship – Century Energy Services Limited (CESL) firm – with a hand in only one asset. However, the company’s founder – Mr. Ken Etete, driven by a vision of value redistribution anchored on productivity and a commitment to excellence, laid the foundation for what would become a powerhouse in the industry.

One of the key pillars of Century Group’s organic growth strategy has been its relentless focus on unconventional solutions, innovation, and operational efficiency. From the outset, the company invested heavily in obtaining stakeholder insight (the values and challenges peculiar to diverse energy installations) to unlock the potential of an integrated business which has now given birth to a full-fledged energy infrastructure company supported by sister companies in gas commercialization, offshore logistics support, exploration and productions as well as information technology. By leveraging on its nimble operation principle and philosophy of sharing in the risk of its partners and clients, Century’s flag has been successfully hoisted in several international energy fields both directly and indirectly where it has continually added value to stakeholders. Century Group’s penchant for tapping into previously moribund assets and turning them around has significantly expanded its portfolio and contribution to the sector.

Moreover, Century Group embraced a culture of continuous improvement, fostering collaboration between its operations and commercial teams to optimize asset management, and efficiency and enhance safety standards. In addition to the safe and prudent execution of projects, the company pursued strategic acquisitions and partnerships to complement its organic growth initiatives. By selectively acquiring assets with high potential and forming joint ventures with industry-leading players, Century Group diversified its portfolio strengthened its competitive position within the African market and proudly stands among the top ten FPSO Companies in the world.

Furthermore, the Group prioritized sustainability and people development in its operations, investing in initiatives to enable people and create value to reduce poverty and the associated cost of socio-economic deprivations. By embracing best practices in environmental management and corporate social responsibility, the company not only safeguards the communities and ecosystems where it operates but also enhances its reputation as a responsible corporate citizen.

Two decades on, the fruits of the company’s organic growth strategy are evident. The company has evolved into a diversified energy powerhouse, with a balanced portfolio of assets spanning conventional and unconventional resources across multiple continents. Its robust production profile and operational excellence have consistently delivered value to shareholders, even in challenging market conditions. As Group CEO, Ken has unequivocally expressed his belief that although the business climate is principally volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) the philosophy of “development partners” rather than cutthroat competition is what will mine the best value for all players within the sector. Sabotage, corporate espionage, and unethical practices could only give a head start but not sustain any entity to finish the race which is to optimally promote energy security through the mitigation of associated infrastructural, production, and distribution risks.

Looking ahead, the company still remains committed to its principles of innovation, efficiency, and sustainability as it navigates the opportunities and challenges of an evolving energy landscape. With a legacy built on two decades of organic growth, Century Group is well-positioned to continue shaping the future of the global oil and gas industry for years to come beyond Africa. Over and above all, Ken’s near obsession with cost cutting has made him a darling to Oil and gas CEOs and shareholders. In Ken’s mantra, “why travel along with a Rolls Royce on a journey a where a well airconditioned VW can do just as well!”

About the Author: Osamede Okhomina is a graduate from Cambridge University and former CEO of private and public oil and gas companies. He is now a Principal Adviser to company CEOs and assists them in capital raising and formulating strategy.

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