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Molopo To Supply Gas To A South African Distributor

MOLOPO HAS SIGNED A Memorandum of Understanding to supply a leading South African industrial gases company, with gas generated from its Free State Gas Field. The name of the putative purchaser of the gas was not included in the press release. Molopo merely states that the company is a major gas distributor with a presence throughout sub-Sahara Africa. Under the MOU, Molopo may supply up to 80,000 gallons per day of LNG which will be used to replace high priced imported LPG with natural gas from Molopo’s plant.

Methane is currently venting from old mineral exploration boreholes in Molopo’s Free State Gas Field. Existing production has been measured at over 1 million cubic feet/day and Molopo will seek to increase these volumes by a programme that includes well work-overs, new wells and the identification of additional gas emitting boreholes. Molopo will now undertake a full feasibility study, seek reserve certification and apply to convert its Exploration Rights into a Production Right, the company said in the release. Work to date on the Free State gas project has included: Identification of existing and previous gas emitting boreholes; Measurement of gas flow rates; Gas analysis including gas composition and origin; A 2,000 sample soilgas survey; Magnetometer traverses; Geological mapping; Well workover and new well design plans.

The soilgas information was integrated with emission data to delineate areas where gas is migrating to surface at potentially commercial rates. Three high-graded areas have been identified in the Free State that could be developed independently or as one project. Molopo’s next phase of work in the region will entail analysis of seismic and other subsurface data, interpretation of the petroleum system from gas genesis and migration to potential storage, tests to enhance recoveries from existing wells, and identification of leads and drillable prospects.

Molopo is now monitoring on a daily basis gas flows from 10 wells totalling 1 MMscf/d to provide the production history to support initial reserves certification, development planning and production license application. Monitoring under advice of the independent certifiers will continue for the next 3-4 months before the reserves certification process commences.

Molopo and its South African partner will now work together to complete a definitive formal gas sales agreement.

NGC Restores Gas to Egbin

THE NIGERIAN GAS COMPANY, subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, has resumed optional supply of gas to the Egbin Thermal Station Lagos and other installations of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). This development rekindles the hope of improved performance by PHCN, which had blamed its lackluster performance en inadequate supply gas by NGC to rum its installations.

Gas supply to other industrial consumers nationwide has also been restored. The development follows the successful repair of the Escravos Warri Trunkline, which conveys gas from the various fields of the U.S oil major Chevron, in Escravos, by a Nigerian indigenous oil servicing contractor, De’Wayles International Limited.

De’Wayles completed the job, two years after the line was vandalized by Niger Delta militants in Chanomi Creeks, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.

The pipeline, measuring 58 kilometres from Escravos to NGC, was ruptured in February 2006. It supplied 180 million standard cubic feet of gas per day to PHCN and other establishments before it was ruptured in 30 locations by the warlords. Gas was introduced into the flow line after it was certified suitable for operations by a team of engineers from NGC and De’Wavles. The oil servicing company also repaired the Odidi Central Node, which filters gas from the fields. Consequently, the pipeline had successfully conveyed gas to NGC’s Gas Treatment Plant, Ekpan, from where it was being channeled to PHCN and other customers of the NNPC subsidiary. These, Victor Egukawore. Chairman and CEO of DeWayle and Patrick Okoro, Head, Engineering and Contracts report that the gas pressure at the gas treatment plant in NGC is up to 85 bars and that the NGC has started supply of gas beyond the Warri treatment plant. “The outcome of the pressure test indicated that the integrity of the pipeline is strong. Regular supply of gas through the pipeline had resumed.”

LITERACY: Moroccan Book Fair promotes women’s literature

THE MOROCCAN CITY OF FEZ HOSTED  A book fair devoted to women writers in early March 2008. Dozens of Moroccan writers, poet and literary publishers convened March 7th in Fez for the first-ever Women’s Book Fair. The event offered Moroccans the chance to meet writers and discuss gender issues, as well as enjoying various theatrical and musical displays. Female academic’ students, activists, journalists and housewives attended the two-day event entitled “Female Writers of Yesterday and Today”. Feminine Creativity Association, one of the oldest defenders of women’s rights in Morocco, co-sponsored the event with the Mubadarat (Initiatives) Association “We felt that women’s creative writings, when so highlighted, become significantly prominent. However, when they are presented in a joint spat with men’s writings, the latter’s writings dominate,” Tanana said. “In ordinary book fairs, important women’s books would be kept on shelves. They don’t appear amidst the congestion of writings,” Roughly 85% of attendance was Moroccan and Arab female writers.

AGRICULTURE: Nigeria to get $38million loan for agric development

NIGERIA’S DECISION-MAKING FEDERAL Executive Council (FEC) has approved total loan package of $37.9 million for the development of the agriculture sector and poverty eradication in the country. The Rome- based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will contribute $27.78 million, representing 67.8 per cent of the total loan, as well as a total grant of $386,800 towards the initiative. The Ford Foundation will provide a total grant of $500,000, the Nigerian government $6.17 million (15 per cent of the loan), the participating institutions $4.762 million and the beneficiaries (farmers) $785,100. The interest- free loan, payable over 40 years, has a moratorium on payment of 10 years, but will attract a service charge of 0.75% of the amount outstanding. The loan is aimed at the execution of a programme that will grant rural farmers direct access to credit. Some 345,000 beneficiaries from 23 of the country’s 36 states will benefit from the programme.

Drilling Rates, Performance, Upset Nigerian Regulators

NIGERIA’s STATE HYDROCARBON company and its petroleum regulatory department are worried about the increasing cost of drilling in the country. They are also concerned about aspects of compliance with performance regarding budget, as well as local content in areas of reservoir studies. These issues, in addition to the usual sloppiness from government quarters have ensured that the round of budget discussion for the year 2008 have dragged into the second month of the budget year. “ExxonMobil used to be a major example of low cost and high efficiency in drilling, but now their costs have gone through the roof’, officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources complain.

Industry sources argue that drilling rates for shallow offshore wells drilled by jack up rigs have increased by 45% on average. Drilling rates for Jack Up rig have shot up from between $130- 150,000 a day to $180,000 to 200,000 per day within the last one year.

Deepwater rates for a 9,000 feet well have shot from $400,000 a day to $600,000 a day.

But government officials counter that these sort of figures don’t cut it, especially because drilling contracts are usually long term. “We’d prefer they give us item by item”, they say. “But operators flinch when you say: let us have your details”, argues a DPR  official.

Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world running Joint Venture operations, where government partners actually put money into operations.

The Nigerian regulatory authorities are also concerned that TOTAL, the French major, has not domesticated its reservoir management studies as stipulated by the local content regulations. Chevron is seen to fulfill local content regulations in reservoir management studies, but the DPR and NNPC are worried that the company is running all its key projects out of sight of the authorities. “They are not communicating adequately on South Offshore Water Injection project, North Offshore Water Injection Project, nor are we getting much details on Tubu field project.” Of all the companies, Shell has had the best rapport with the upper levels of the Nigerian government, especially the President, in the last six years, but working level government officials are wary of this relationship. And the dissonance has led to spats between these officers and the company. “They (Shell), spent money on shelf (onshore and shallow water) projects way above agreed budget last year”, grumble petroleum engineers in government, “because they had the sympathies of the last civilian administration, who approved a supplementary budget”. The officials say that the incumbent government has insisted that any detailed budget discussion has to be directly with the regulatory units, below the Minister’s level.

Nigeria Helps Chad With Fuel

NIGERIA HAS DONATED 40 TRUCKS OF petroleum products and $2 million to its northern neighbour, Chad, which is recovering from a rebel attack aimed at toppling the incumbent President Idris Deby.  Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar’Adua announced the donation in the capital city of Abuja in late February 2008, saying it was aimed at helping to restore normalcy to Chad.

It’s Competence, Not Skin Colour

By Fred Akanni, Editor-in-Chief

Baker Hughes’ First African born Country Director in Nigeria says he is proud to be a local..

IF IMAGERY WERE WHAT THE JOB WAS all about, Tayo Akinokun would determine that his stint in Algeria, North Africa was the best in his 18 year career with Baker Hughes, the ranking oil field service technology provider.

It was a decade ago now (1998) and Akinokun was a Senior field engineer who flew in “those tiny planes”, and was dropped on various airstrips close to well sites and was taxied straight to locations to lead field crews in deployment of the latest technology in Electric Wireline Logging services for the acquisition of various forms of petrophysical data.

The view from the sky was an endless stretch of desert sands, barbed wire fencing the wells, gendarmes guarding the fences and oil workers of various tones of skin colour. “Unlike in Norway (an earlier assignment) which was mostly Norwegians, the workers here were French, Arabs, Americans, Africans, you know, like colours of the rainbow”, he recalls.

But the images that come back to him, most vividly, were those of the rock formations. In Algeria, the essential rock sequences are carbonates. “I was acquiring an image log and it looked like a movie. The fractures in the formation leap at you”. In acquiring the acoustic log “you cold easily see the changes in the “acoustic travel time” very vividly”, this signifies essentially varying lithologies.

Akinokun joined Baker Hughes straight out of National Youth Service (a mandatory, one year post-graduation, quasi military service in Nigeria) in 1990. For a fresh bachelor’s degree holder in Electrical engineering, the opportunities, in his own words, were there to work in any service or E&P company”. He chose Baker Hughes because it was a place he thought he could make a difference. “The service companies are good building blocks. They roughen you up and build you for the future. Yours is just to perform”. Before long he was leading and supervising crews as a young wireline logging engineer.

Four years into his career he was transferred to Norway as a field engineer in the North Sea. Algeria, in North Africa, came after three years in Norway.

As this is the country that hosts the wealthiest state hydrocarbon company on the continent, this magazine is keen on what Akinokun has to say by way of experience in Algeria.

“There were lots of issues with security when I was there. But it’s like any other place-Nigeria, the United States-if you go to the wrong place you are dead meat.”

He went to Algeria because he “wanted to gather a lot of experience in a different environment”. He worked on various locations operated by various multinational operators and all operated out of Hassi Messoud.

Akinokun’s first management job came after the Algerian experience. He was appointed Operations Manager in Port Harcourt for one of Baker Hughes’ operating divisions, Baker Atlas in 1999 and then his career really took off.

“It was the first time I was managing as many as a hundred people”. He became a sales manager thereafter, a job which, in the upstream oil service company sector, is considered elitist, as it focuses on customers. The job description was Customer Service Manager, Baker Atlas, Port  Harcourt Nigeria. This was to prove a step to a bigger, more strategic sales & marketing job in Houston which, if you look closely at the CV, might have been the training ground for his current position.

In Houston, Akinokun worked as the Senior Technical adviser in the Baker Atlas Global Marketing Group. He was deeply involved in new tool development across the corporation, in the justification to build new technology services. “My job was to initially provide technical and financial justification to senior management for investment in specific new technology work and subsequently work with the scientists to intimate them with what the external customers wanted and interface with internal customers who engage with outside customers”. When a product reached the testing stage, Akinokun’s job was look for a candidate field, anywhere in the world, to test the product, receive the test data as collated from the field, engage the scientists again in refining the tool/product and then help in the deployment in the market. “I was traveling to every corner of the globe doing this job. It allowed me to know the corporation extensively”.  That job provided the greatest opportunity for exposure and global networking and was probably the leeway and to his present position.

He returned to Nigeria in 2004, as Business Development Manager for Baker Hughes in Port Harcourt. The following year he became the Deputy Country Director for Nigeria, a job which, with the benefit of insight, has proven to be just a stewardship for the current job.

Now he runs all of the Nigerian operations which consist of approximately 400 staff, taking over from Phil Vogel, who was the Country Director until December 2007.

In a sense, Akinokun’s rise to Baker Hughes’ top job in Nigeria feels like a breeze and it’s clearly atypical, in the international segment of the oil service sector in Nigeria, let alone in the major E&P companies, where technical people throw big parties if they make it to field superintendent at 50 and go for huge thanksgiving services, if they become General Manager of any unit at all, at age 55. “I have never been stagnated”, he notes. “Every two years, something happens”.

He quickly chips in that he’s not telling what will happen in 2010. “I have an assignment to further develop, stabilize and reposition the organization for bigger successes in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Does that include, we ask him, getting an African, or a Nigerian for that matter, ready to succeed him? “It could well be a Nigerian as we have several bright Nigerian rising stars working for us both in Nigeria and around the world, but as an International multinational Company with several nationalities it doesn’t have to be a Nigerian”, he says. “The way we operate; the Country Director’s role is about the skill set, competencies and experience just like a Nigerian with the right skill set could lead the business in any of our locations and countries around the world”

If I can get here, anyone else can and it is not a matter of skin colour. Baker Hughes employs more than 34,000 people around the globe.

The Baker Hughes workforce in Nigeria is 90% Nigerian and 10% Expatriate. “Several Nigerians are also making a great career as key players in our international locations around the world”, he contends. “Training and development is a culture well entrenched in our organization which has contributed greatly to our success story. All our young engineers right from the first day at work are scheduled to attend training programmes in our educational training centres spread across the United States, the United Kingdom and the Middle East where they have the opportunity to compete and learn along with other international employees from several countries. A process which continues all through our career”.

Akinokun explains that the company has operated in Nigeria for 40 years and has been in the forefront of the development of the skill set and critical mass required for the development of our industry through the recruitment and training of young Nigerian graduate engineers who have eventually blossomed over the years to be key players at various levels of leadership across the industry.  “Such has been the case with my career and development over the last 18 years”.


Birthday Bash At The 19th World Petroleum Congress

THE WORLD’S, PETROLEUM Congress, coming up in late June 2008 in Spain, marks the 75th Anniversary of the World Petroleum Council. Thomas Dewhurst urged his fellow members of the Institution of Petroleum Technologists to create a world-wide forum of thought between oil men of various nations. This resulted in the call for the first World Petroleum Congress held in July 1933 in London. Their first and foremost purpose was to discuss the scientific issues of the petroleum industry, in particular the challenges of production, of refining, and especially of consumption of oil as questions affecting the well-being of not one but of all nations.

From June 29 to July 3 2008, about 75 years to the day, over 4,000 participants from more than 40 countries will be in Spain for the 19th edition of the Congress. The event, as in the last 18, is expected to provide an excellent overview of a cross section of the key issues in the petroleum sector, both in the areas of expertise of the industry and its demographics. From its early audience of learned academics and experts with decades of industry experience a younger group of delegates has evolved with many leaders of the future from around the world now participating in the Congress. In honour of Thomas Dewhurst, the World Petroleum Council recognizes one of the outstanding individuals of the industry with the Dewhurst Award. Ali AlNaimi, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, has been selected to receive this Award in WPC’s anniversary year and will deliver the Dewhurst Lecture at the 19th WPC. The Spanish Committee is hosting a special event in Madrid to celebrate the 75th anniversary which will take place on Saturday the 28th of June, in Retiro Park. Other National Committees from around the world will join them to commemorate the previous 75 years and 18 Congresses.

HHI To Build Usan FPSO

HYUNDAI  HEAVY INDUSTRIES (HHI) has received a Letter of Award (LOA) from Elf Petroleum Nigeria, Ltd. (EPNL), a Nigerian subsidiary of French oil company TOTAL S.A., to build a super-large Floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading unit (FPSO). The FPSO contract is worth $1.6 billion. The facility will measure 32Dm in length, 61m in width, 32m in depth, and weigh 114,000 tons. It will be able to produce 160,000 barrels of oil and five (5) million cubic meters of natural gas per day. and will be able to store two (2) million barrels of oil. The FPSO will be completed by the end of 2011. It will be located in the Usan field, which is in water 750 meters deep, 100 km southeast of Bonny Island in Nigeria. HHI will carry out all phases of the project on a turnkey basis, from the engineering, procurement, and construction, to the test runs. HHI has successfully completed at least one super-large FPSO every year since 1997, including the Kizomba A and B FPSOs for ExxonMobil, the Plutonio FPSO for BP, and the Akpo FPSO for TOTAL. The Korean builder has received five consecutive orders from TOTAL since 2005, when it won the first Akpo FPSO order. HHI’s Offshore & Engineering Division is now in negotiations for further projects in West Africa and the North Sea.

Expro Wins $60MM contracts in Western, Southern Africa

EXPRO, THE OIL SERVICE FIRM, HAS won contracts valued at over $60 million in the last six months in West and South African regions. The contracts cover a range of offshore deepwater projects and services and would be delivered on phases over the next three years. The work involved include provision of offshore deepwater technology for Chevron, Agip, Shell in Nigeria as well as increased scope of work from BP deepwater in Angola, as well as for TOTALl and Noble Energy in Cameroon. Another set of contracts were secured in North Africa, including BP and BG in Algeria and Libya together with multiple well- testing contracts in Egypt.

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