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Africa’s Most Mercurial Entrepreneur And His Team Take Steps To Bring Erstwhile Underperforming Fields To Full Production

Partner Content

By Jennifer Daniel

On the 7th of October, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR presented the 2022 National budget to the Nigerian National Assembly, and the concern for many remains the huge dependence on borrowing and the corresponding cost of debt financing.

Alarming as it is, a few analysts have continued to comment on the way forward and seem to jointly echo one message; “improve the revenue generation”! I for one joined the ‘tech and Agriculture’ bandwagon; after all we have the land area and the human resources to harness both. Hon. Muhammad Gudaji Kazaure representing the Kazaure Federal Constituency of Jigawa State at the National Assembly is a notable member.

For the fact that revenue generation and the affairs of future generations is on the front burner of discourse, the grass ahead could really be greener. It is no news that oil and gas is the bloodline of the Nigerian economy and so proper attention must be paid towards its efficient operation and administration, pending our effective transition to a more fluid and robust multi-contributory economy.

The good news is that the price of oil has been on the rise; from $37.46 Per Barrel to $83.00 Per Barrel within the last twelve months. What does this mean for Nigeria besides a jump in her foreign reserves from $33.66B to $36.26B between August and September 2021 alone? It means this is the best time for strategic action by stakeholders; this is arguably the most ideal time to ramp up production considering the shortfall that we have experienced in relation to our OPEC Quota, a staggering 161,000 BPD deficit. With a budget that targets 1.88 Million BPD, this is an overt invite.

Africa’s most mercurial entrepreneur and his team at the Dangote Group seem to have been bitten by the action bug. They are not moping and wishing but actually taking steps to bring erstwhile underperforming fields within their legitimate control to full production as soon as possible. Indications are that the Group through its subsidiary, WAEP is partnering with an indigenous oil and gas company to make sure Nigeria’s revenue from oil is relatively shored up and potentially reduces the need for borrowing. This move highlights the intelligence of the team as the strategy of having the whole operation undertaken in country aligns with the local content policy and inhibits capital flight and forex repatriation should such contracts be awarded to foreign companies.

This is undoubtedly an unequivocal call for all asset and infrastructure owners to mobilise to location barring any safety concern for better engagement of local contractors, in-country resources/assets for the salvation of the Nigerian economy through the generation of Forex and reduction of the scary inflation.

The author is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, University of Bristol

Oriental Energy Announces 2021 University Scholarship Scheme


Nigerian independent, Oriental Energy Resources Limited, has announced the commencement of applications for the 2021/2022 University Scholarship Award Scheme from the 1st of September till the 30th of September 2021.

Operating in Nigeria’s south east offshore in Akwa Ibom State, the company targets scholarship applicants specifically from Effiat and Mbo communities as well as applicants who are indigenes of other Local Government Areas of the state.

Applications are Open to only 200-level students currently undertaking undergraduate studies in any recognised university in Nigeria, and are expected to be completed and submitted online through the company’s scholarship application portal at

“Oriental Energy is committed to sustainable and human capital development in the communities within our area of operations and Akwa Ibom state in general”, says Mustafa Indimi. Oriental’s Managing Director “We will continue to focus on social investments in education, community health and enterprise development that meet the needs of our stakeholders. The university scholarship scheme is one of such interventions.”

Uwem Ite, the Head of Community Relations at the company, adds: “Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an aptitude test after which finalists will be selected for the scholarships on the basis of test results as well as other academic indices submitted by applicants. The deadline for all submissions is Thursday, 30th September, so interested applicants have a full month to take advantage of the opportunity. We look forward to welcoming another batch of bright young persons from Akwa Ibom who will be awarded the scholarship, just as Oriental Energy continues to contribute meaningfully to education sector in the state.”

Since commencement of the scholarship award scheme in 2009, more than 1,500 indigent students in universities across Nigeria have benefited. Among other recent projects, a Science Laboratory Complex built and fully-equipped by the company was handed over in March 2021 to Community Grammar School in Ebughu community, Mbo Local Government Area. The company also delivered a fully-equipped Youths Empowerment Centre in August 2020. Located in Enwang, the centre is a multipurpose printing and reprographics facility under the management of Mbo Youths Empowerment Foundation, with the Paramount Ruler of Mbo LGA as the Chairman, Board of Trustees. Positioned for a sustainable partnership with the communities, Oriental Energy also focuses its social investments on healthcare and empowerment programmes to support social development efforts in Akwa Ibom State.


Africa Oil Week: “Unrivalled Opportunities in the E&P Sector”

Africa Oil Week is the voice of E&P – the global platform for stimulating deals and transactions across the African Upstream. The event is now entering its 27th year, where we bring together governments, national and international oil companies, independents, investors, the G&G community and service providers.

AOW prides itself on offering unrivalled opportunities that drive investment and deal-making across the continent, thus shaping the future of Africa. What sets us apart from the competitors is the seniority of delegates. In 2019 we welcomed 26 global ministers, 400+ C-level delegates, as well as hundreds of SVPs and VPs of Africa, Exploration, New Ventures and more.

The Africa Oil Week conference provides 4 days of pioneering insights, from ministerial panels to strategic outlooks and sessions designed to drive investment into the African upstream. At the heart of the event is the exhibition, where companies from across the sector can showcase their offering.

Join us for this year’s event in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) at the Madinat Jumeirah 8-11 November 2021. Where you can expect extensive and varied networking opportunities, CPD certified content streams and an event full of business opportunities.


Register today!.


BOAZ rebrands to deliver apex of service and technology-enabled solutions for the energy industry


Boaz Integrated Energy (BOAZ) (

has rebranded and unveiled its new logo to re-position to offer cutting-edge services in the oil and gas industry.

“The Company has completed its rebranding program in response to the new opportunities for technology-enabled solutions in the energy sector”, said Adeola Adebari, the Chief Executive Officer for BOAZ.

“Our visual identity is an essential part of the BOAZ Brand. Each element in the new logo was carefully crafted to symbolize the company’s dynamism and forward-thinking positioning within the Oil and Gas Servicing Industry, and the energy space at large. Indeed, this is a major milestone for us as a company”.

BOAZ provides revolutionary solutions to production and reservoir management challenges for the oil and gas industry, in partnership with such technology companies as Roke, Blue Spark, Jorin, and Data Science Nigeria.

The new brand captures the company’s readiness to support the industry’s renewed focus on maximizing ultimate hydrocarbon recovery, using cost-effective solutions, leveraging digital technologies, transitioning to renewable energies as well as maximizing returns on investments through safe, quality and sustainable solutions.

Here is the new visual identity of the Company:





The rationale behind the new logo, according to the CEO, is in alignment with the strategic intent: “Our new logo consists of two main components: BOAZ typeface and Apex Wheel Icon. The Apex Wheel Icon is a stylized ‘A’ that points forward within a wheel or ‘O’. These two elements symbolize our drive to offer the apex of service and technology within the energy industry, in alignment with our  corporate strategic intent. It is important to note that the Apex points forward, indicating that we are disruptive, ready and willing to change the status quo and the way business is done within oil and gas servicing in Sub-Saharan Africa. This of course is complemented by the wheel or ‘O’ which is also all about moving forward”.

The oil and gas industry has undergone major changes in recent times, which have fundamentally changed the way things are done. As the industry heals from the debilitating dual impact of price wars and COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders have learnt to do things differently as evidenced by the increased adoption of green solutions and digital technology innovations. These changes require new thinking. BOAZ new brand speaks to this new thinking in that the Company is poised to deploy its revolutionary technologies in the industry.

Some of the flagship solutions of the Company include Quad Reservoir Saturation Logging Technology, Wireline Applied Stimulation (WASP) Techology, and Visual Process Analyser (ViPA) Technology. Their benefits are highlighted below:

Quad: For reservoir saturation measurement, fluid contacts, lithology, porosity, clay volume and relative bulk density.

WASP: For wellbore cleaning, removal of scales, fines and debris from screens, perforations, downhole subsurface safety valves, gas lift valves etc.

ViPA: For produced water management, production chemical optimization and surface production equipment optimization.

Plugged in always into forward thinking

At the heart of the rebranding programme is a renewal of the Company’s corporate vision and mission statements to emphasize its expanded focus on the energy industry.  The Company also renewed its Corporate Culture with a new corporate look for its website. (

BOAZ Culture (

Abimbola Onaolapo, one of the Company’s Directors, gave some insight into the new corporate culture: “Our strong corporate culture is based on our shared values, represented by our name BOAZ. We are BOAZ, we stand for:

 B:      Boldly rising to challenges through innovation, excellence and teamwork

O:      Obligation to exceed clients’ expectations, always.

A:      Acting with Integrity and Respect

Z:      Zero harm to people, assets and the environment

 This is what we represent.”

The new BOAZ brand signifies the Company’s commitment to remain innovative, nimble and agile in order to help its clients achieve ambitious goals and stay ahead of the curve in the next normal.

BOAZ…. creating value, unearthing possibilities.



The Alarming Dearth in Critical Infrastructure for West Africa’s Oilfield Development


By Jennifer Daniel

With the recent surge and relative stability of the price of oil within the last couple of weeks; for several economies, the economics of sustained and improved production capacity is beginning to make sense. Oil producing countries in Africa, especially those in West Africa, are the most excited.

The commercialization of fields in this region, at a time like this, is a compelling case, considering the plethora of fields that were erstwhile shut-in or undeveloped due to the coronavirus pandemic and the fluctuating price of oil in the global market.

Crucial to the effective commercialization of unproduced oil molecules in West Africa remains availability and access to field development infrastructure and resources especially for offshore locations in the light of the obvious preference of oil majors to leave onshore oilfields to independents.

Drilling rigs, Early Production Facilities, Storage facilities and FPSOs will be in demand on a larger scale if investors are to successfully milk the prevailing price advantage. Investors will need to comb the industry locally and internationally for equipment that are available and economically friendly. It is reported that the West African oil and gas industry alone has over 10 FPSOs planned and announced which are expected to come live by 2022, with 7 (seven) of those split between Nigeria and Angola.

The catalogue of equipment and infrastructure available is quite scanty but surprisingly, Century’s FPSO Tamara Nanaye, formerly Front Puffin and Tamara Tokoni are reported to be available for deployment to a full field that require floaters. This follows the purported decision of the operators of the AJE field OML 113 to harness the gas potential of the field. This is great news for fields in dire need of an FPSO within the region.

With the increasing number of fields whose development requirements necessitate the deployment of floaters, the ultimate question remains how they will be sourced, financed and deployed.

Jennifer Daniel is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, University of Bristol.


Stanley Uzochukwu is Appointed Member of Igbinedion University Governing Council


Stanley Uzochukwu, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Stanel Group, has been appointed a member of the governing council of the Igbinedion University in Edo State, in mid-western Nigeria.

The appointment was communicated “through a letter written to him personally by the Honourable Chancellor and Chairman of the university – His Excellency, Chief Gabriel O. Igbinedion”, according to a release by Stanel Group.

Stanel Group “is an energy company specialized in marketing Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), AGO and Kero”, according to its website. “The company has also expanded in its functions; and is now engaged in the production and sales of automobile parts, vehicle consumables amongst others for domestic and industrial use”.

The release describes the Igbinedion University appointment as a high mark in Uzochukwu’s life journey: “Igbinedion University is one of the prominent and widely known higher institutions of learning in Nigeria”, it says. “Dr. Stanley’s tenacious hard work has given him the pedigree to make such a huge leap at this stage of his life”.

The release says: Dr Stanley Uzochukwu is a Nigerian business magnate, investor and philanthropist who, through passion, dedication, and hard work, has himself excelled, and is now impacting the lives of others, creating employment opportunities for people of different ages and social status through his business conglomerate, Stanel World.

Uzochukwu graduated a with a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany from the University of Jos, in Nigeria’s north central region and “being passionate about business, ventured into petroleum product sales, supplying diesel to corporate organisations until Stanel Oil was registered in 2012.diesel and petroleum supply

“A recipient of the Forbes 2017 African Achievers Award, hosted by the British Labour Party, he is also the youngest board member of the Golden Tulip Hotel; a position he bagged due to business acumen and entrepreneurial intelligence.

“In recognition of his achievements, numerous bodies and important individuals have taken it upon themselves to praise him and offer him a seat at decision making tables when the opportunity arises. Some of those who have commended his drive for human capacity development and philanthropy include Tony Elumelu (Chairman of UBA), Willie Obiano, (Governor of Anambra state), Dr Cosmos Maduka, (founder and Chairman of Coscharis Motors), among many others”, cites the Stanel Goup release.

Uzochukwu has created a platform for youth empowerment titled: “Access More With Stanel”, a capacity development programme offering opportunity for networking, learning, mentorship and fun.

“This event holds annually and drags the attention of all with a long list of influential men and women from across the nation. The first edition was in 2019 and it has become the most anticipated youth festival in the South East”, the release explains.

The release the waxes lyrical in conclusion:

“When Martin Luther King Jr. during his speech in Minnesota (1963) said “Be an artist at whatever you do. Even if you are a street sweeper, be the Michelangelo of street sweepers”, not a lot of people would’ve understood what he meant. However, for those who did, the rewards are constant impact and unavoidable, unwavering recognition”.




PRESS RELEASE/Lekan Akinyanmi Leads a “Mass Resignation” of Directors from Lekoil Cayman

Lekoil Nigeria, in which Lekoil Cayman, a Cayman Islands-registered AIM-listed holding company holds a 40% equity holding, announces that a number of its directors and senior executives have resigned with immediate effect from the Board of Lekoil Cayman.

Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode, Chair of Lekoil Nigeria, has resigned as a non-executive Director of Lekoil Cayman. Lekan Akinyanmi, CEO of Lekoil Nigeria, has resigned as an executive Director of Lekoil Cayman. Gloria Iroegbunam, Company Secretary of Lekoil Nigeria, has resigned as Company Secretary of Lekoil Cayman. All three will remain in their current positions at Lekoil Nigeria.

The resignations have been prompted by the recent behaviour and actions of the of the Board of Lekoil Cayman. In particular, Mr. Akinyanmi vigorously disputes his unilateral termination as CEO of Lekoil Cayman and all of the statements made by Lekoil Cayman in connection with his employment contract and the loan agreement between him and Lekoil Cayman.

Mrs Muhammed-Oyebode commented: “The Board and management of Lekoil Nigeria remains committed to its vision of developing the company’s assets and we wish to assure our numerous stakeholders, especially our shareholders, partners and colleagues, that the strategic national assets under our purview will be protected by all legitimate means available to us.  This in turn will ensure the restoration of value for all shareholders, both in Lekoil Nigeria and Lekoil Cayman.

“The Board of Directors of Lekoil Cayman continue to show a blatant disregard for the Shareholder Agreement, a legally binding agreement which governs the relationship between Lekoil Cayman and Lekoil Nigeria and which was implemented at the time of Lekoil Cayman’s listing to meet the requirements in Nigerian law in respect of control of indigenous strategic assets.

“The continuous breaches of due process and corporate governance by the Board of Lekoil Cayman has left us with no option but to resign collectively from the Board of Lekoil Cayman.  Meanwhile, Lekoil Nigeria has separately written to Lekoil Limited’s advisers and to the AIM authorities requesting them to investigate the behaviour of the current Board of Lekoil Limited.”


Online Conferences on Industrial Valves and Components Come to an End


Over a thousand experts and industry professionals have gathered from all over the world during fifteen online conferences, waiting to meet live at IVS 2022.

Bergamo, 27th May 2021 – IVS WARM UP, the two-day event of technical and scientific conferences featuring the players in the global supply chain of industrial valves and components in virtual meetings, to discuss the most topical and innovative issues in the international debate, has ended.

The epicentre of the digital conferences was the city of Bergamo, where the fourth edition of IVS – Industrial Valve Summit will be held on 25th and 26th May 2022. 

Twenty-five speakers, representing as many companies and research centres, led the fifteen conferences of the event attracting, «remotely», over a thousand operators and experts from all continents to Bergamo.

These numbers confirm the centrality that the Industrial Valve Summit represents within the supply chain dedicated to the industrial valve and flow control solutions. The event, promoted by the organisers Confindustria Bergamo and Ente Fiera Promoberg, was organised in collaboration with Valve Campus that has always been the scientific partner of reference of IVS. 

”The success of IVS WARM-UP confirms the importance of creating connections and stimulating scientific discussion and insights, maintaining the attention on a key event that promotes a supply chain of excellence, an international point of reference for quality production” says Paolo Piantoni, General Manager of Confindustria Bergamo.

“The conferences have confirmed the value of IVS as a place to exchange knowledge and know-how, even in the digital edition”.  

Over the years” Mr. Piantoni explains, “IVS has been an important driver of innovation for the sector, embodying the identity of a territory oriented towards development and projected onto the future. We are already working on the 2022 edition of IVS that will be held at the Exhibition centre at last, a great opportunity to revitalise the industry”. 

Fabio Sannino, President of Ente Fiera Promoberg, concurs: “We are satisfied with the results of IVS WARM-UP”, he testifies. “The success of the digital conferences gives us hope for the success of the actual physical event in 2022. Over the years, the summit has positioned itself as our most international and visited event. To open the doors of the Fiera di Bergamo to IVS once again is a crucial step for the relaunch of the entire trade fair system, for Bergamo and for its industrial fabric. Confirming the numbers recorded in the last editions means generating considerable linked activities in favour of the territory, also in terms of visibility»”. 

Four different debates marked the event’s programme. Wednesday morning (May 26, 2021), was dedicated to innovation in valve design, control, manufacturing, and materials. In the afternoon, the discussion moved to the management of fugitive emissions and developments in sealing technology. On Thursday, (May 27, 2021), the focus was on actuators and control systems, followed by a discussion on the international standards. At the end, IVS WARM-UP hosted a panel discussion shedding light on the evolution of the global demand for industrial valves and their components in the medium term. On this occasion, participants analysed the influence of the energy transition and new strategies following the pandemic scenario. 

In view of IVS 2022, the aim of the Organizers is to continue the growth path of the exhibition as witnessed by the increasing number of visitors, exhibitors and traffic on communication channels. The third edition of the summit attracted over 250 companies and about 11,000 visitors to Bergamo, numbers 36% higher than the 8,000 registered in the 2017 edition and tripled compared to the 3,500 registered in 2015. Access to the fair’s website quadrupled in the months leading up to the exhibition, moving from 70,000 in 2017 to 300,000 in 2019.

Welltec seals exclusive intervention deal with Petronas


Welltec has been awarded an exclusive three-year contract by global energy and solutions company, Petronas. The agreement, which officially commenced on April 1st, appoints Welltec as the sole provider of downhole conveyance and powered mechanical services in both East and West regions of Malaysia.

“It’s a great team effort that has that has led to the award of this exclusive long-term contract with Petronas, and Welltec has demonstrated a strong ability to deliver, even though a challenging 2020, high quality services in a safe manner to the largest assets in the country at a very cost-effective rate,” Espen Dalland, WelltecArea VP for the Asia-Pacific region, said. “This winning combination is the foundation for Petronas awarding us an even larger work scope for the next three years, where we will continue to deliver world-class technology and services.

“This is the third new contract we have received from Petronas following awards in 2014 and 2017, with an extension exercised in 2019. This latest contract predominantly features the same scope of services but now the geographical scope has increased from previously just being East Malaysia, to also include all assets in West Malaysia.”

With the new deal covering the entirety of Petronas’ intervention operations, the award not only builds on a long-standing relationship, but also shows a real vote of confidence in Welltec’sfleet and technological capabilities. The services are based on daily or monthly rental and will be selected by the various Petronas assets for any upcoming project during the coming three-year period.

The delivery will include the entire Welltec Intervention portfolio with the majority of services having already been deployed successfully for Petronas under previous agreements, but now additional services like the RCB (Reverse Circulating Bit) and several sizes of the Well Cutter family have also been added to the list. Welltec’s unique RCB breaks through obstacles, such as composite plugs, and recovers the generated cuttings with suction into integrated bailer sections.  In a single run, this allows users to mill such obstacles as composite plugs and recover any associated debris the well to prevent further associated problems.

“This is a fantastic win for us. Petronas is a key customer in the region who over recent years have moved more and more towards an integrated approach for interventions.” said Alex Nicodimou, Welltec Sales & Marketing VP.  “The fact they have provided us 100% of their intervention work speaks volumes about their belief in our technology and ability to deliver.  We’re looking forward to continuing to support them to the best of our abilities.”

“Nigeria’s top Problem is Well Cost: We are Out to Solve it”

PARTNER CONTENT/Hd Drilling Services

Hope Okwa, Founder/Chief Executive Officer Hd Drilling Services, sees the high cost of well construction as major impediment to Nigeria’s meeting its goal of achieving 4Million Barrels of Oil Per Day of crude oil in the short term.

 “If we reduce well cost from $25Million to just $5Million hypothetically speaking, requiring only 20% of the previous investment demands”, he tells Africa Oil+Gas Report’s Ahmed Gafar, “even local banks may be able to fund field development campaigns”.

He also fields questions on a range of issues, from opportunities that newly awarded marginal fields throw up to demand for Nigerian hydrocarbon.

A bachelors and masters degree holder in engineering from the University of Benin (Nigeria) and Heriot Watt University in the UK respectively, Okwa has 29 years of post graduation industry experience, the first 14 of which he spent in AngloDutch Shell, mostly on well engineering and drilling supervision. He had a stint at BG (the defunct British Gas) as a senior well engineer in the company’s Nigerian deep-water operations. He had a five year stretch as senior drilling and workover well engineer on critical gas operations at Saudi Aramco, after which he had another 18-month stint at BP Angola as senior drilling engineer.

 Excerpts from the conversation.

Hd Okwa Drilling advertises itself as a company with a laser focus on oilfield drilling services. How did you come to this realisation?


  • The Nigerian Government targets Four Million barrels of oil per day (4MMBOPD), but the country is barely achieving 1.5MMBOPD due to high well cost. A 10,000 ft well producing only 3,000 BOPD costs up to $25Million to construct. To move from current 1.5MM to 4MM BOPD requires massive well construction activities, in the order of over 800 wells per year. The associated investment is $21Billion per annum. Where will this investment come from, especially in an era where top global financiers are moving their investment to renewables? The only way is to rethink well construction efficiency, with a view to drastically reducing well costs from current levels.
  • The sources of inefficiencies in well construction, is very much within our expertise, as a demonstrated through the several SPE papers we have authored.
  • It is very urgent to implement these solutions. In nine (9) years’ time, by 2030, the first world will pivot away from fossil fuel. What will then happen to Nigeria’s reserves of 37 Billion BOE?
  • We believe we have the solutions to reduce well costs in Nigeria by as much as 70%. I have a track record of this achievement from my employment with Shell, BG-Group, BP, Saudi Aramco, as well as many local operators. Hd Okwa Drilling is collaborating with operators and service companies to deliver wells that are only 30% of the standard cost. We hope to have an opportunity to talk about these alliances and collaborations in the course of this discussion.

Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of NNOC, and Timpre Silva, Minister of State for Petroleum, at the launch of  the Nigerian Upstream Cost Optimisation Programme (NUCOP) in Abuja, last February

When you say: A 10,000 feet well producing only 3000 BOPD costs up to $25Million to construct, are you referring to an onshore well or a shallow offshore well?

The statement is true for land, swamp and shallow offshore. These use surface blowout preventers.

Ad if a 10,000feet well is considered too expensive at $25Million in Nigeria, what is the reference round the world? What are you benchmarking against?

My reference is Canada/USA, where the rig rate for land is $32,000/day comparable with $25,000/day for Nigeria. A 10,000 ft land well takes 8 days to drill while it takes 83 days in Nigeria. The Canada/USA cost is less than $2 million, while Nigeria is $25 million. The Canadians and Americans achieve the success by efficient well design (without gold plating as we do in Nigeria, efficient supply chain management, avoiding NPT and applying the science of drilling optimisation. We are experts in these areas. I should add that we are currently preparing to execute a $5 million horizontal well for a Nigerian marginal operator, applying our technigues.. 

Your website indicates that there’s an entire business proposition around well services that require some single mindedness. and how is the journey so far?

The establishment of Hd Okwa Drilling Services is a milestone in its own right. We have had opportunities to offer advice on Well Design, NPT avoidance, cost improvement, personnel recruitment, etc for various operators. In the years ahead, we plan to expand these offerings to technical consulting, staff development on cost-reducing well delivery processes and dealing with the complexity of supply chains in Nigeria.

Rig activity has taken a dive in Nigeria in the past year. What has been Hd Okwa Drilling’s Business Strategy in this prolonged period of silence?

We may ascribe the direct cause of rig activity collapse to the COVID-19 outbreak.  However, I suspect the underlying cause of this sharp decrease in drilling activity may not be far from the high cost of wells, as I highlighted earlier, and the challenge of obtaining investment cash in an environment where everyone is going to renewables.

We believe that if we reduce well costs drastically, through our activities, we will be able to stimulate activities. For example, if we reduce well cost from $25Million to just $5Million hypothetically speaking, requiring only 20% of the previous investment demands, even local banks may be able to fund field development campaigns.

Over 200 companies are expected to form 57 Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) to develop 57 Marginal Fields in the next 36 Months. How is Hd Okwa working on taking advantage?

Here is where we hope to make the most impact. In the past, many marginal field winners have struggled to bring oil to market due to several challenges, related to investment funds availability.  Many of the marginal operators are going to need to drill 3-5 wells to realise their field potentials. Without support from our activities, each operator will try to raise $75 – $125Million for field development. With our expertise, this could just be only $15 – $25Million, which is within the capability of local banks. We have assembled a repertoire of options available to marginal operators e.g. from our bespoke consulting services, to full project management through our sister company H-PTP Energy services, or our supply chain improvement alliances The Well Engineering Platform, etc.  Through these outlets Hd Okwa Drilling services hopes to transform the well delivery landscape in the country and catalyse a speedy development of the marginal resources.

What is your outlook on Nigeria’s Upstream sector for 2021?

The environment is very challenging. There is demand for Nigerian oil with the ongoing commissioning of Dangote’s 650,000 BOPD refinery, and several modular refineries. These refineries will help reduce dependence on imported fuel, and not only satisfy local consumption, but fulfil demand across Africa and many of the developing world, who would still be dependent of oil consumption for the foreseeable future. As our contribution to the preparation, we are developing local manpower by running courses like the

  • Well Design Masterclass,
  • Re-Entry and Workover Engineering Masterclass,
  • Abandonment and Decommissioning Planning Masterclass.

We also extending our collaborations to experts overseas, who we are bringing to run specialist training in Nigeria for Nigerians, at very low price. We are also developing ourselves in readiness for the future challenges. For example, I am completing my Master of Science in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the No.1 Business School in Europe, HEC Paris. Thus, we are ready to make our contribution to energise the Nigerian oil sector.

Nigeria exports oilfield service expertise outside the country. Are you one of such providers? Does Hd Okwa Drilling have Pan African ambitions?

Not at the moment. The focus of Hd Okwa Drilling Services is Nigeria. In North America, drilling planning has really advanced, and the gap with Africa is very wide. So, we focus on Nigeria first, then we can expand to the other African countries later.  Let charity begin at home.

Hd Okwa Drilling takes training a so seriously that it’s a full component of its spectrum of business. This is quite unusual in the Nigerian industry. Is training a highly monetised component of your business portfolio?

A direct answer is ‘NO’. However, we need a pipeline of skilled professionals to master the techniques and processes that we deploy.  One way of doing this is through training and mentorship. We have established several specialists’ courses relating to efficient well delivery. These courses are available to both individuals and operators, at a fraction of the cost. Training cannot pay back if we are to consider the efforts we put in, as these courses are at the cutting edge of the future of well engineering.  They cover Well Design Masterclass, Re-Entry and Workover Engineering Masterclass, Abandonment and Decommissioning Planning Masterclass, Efficient Cementing Technology, etc. We also organise team alignment workshops, well challenge sessions, drill-the-well-on-paper (DWOP) exercises, in addition to our normal specialist courses. Our resource persons are the leaders on the well engineering disciplines within Nigeria and the global industry.

The International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) Nigerian Chapter is always talking about training about quality and capacity of rig personnel, about safety on rigsite. Is your company looking at Collaboration with IADC?

We have it as part of our strategy to collaborate with the IADC Nigerian Chapter, on manpower development for the Nigerian industry.  We are in the process of founding a Well Engineering professional organisation. When completed, the organisation will also be part of our springboard for driving down well costs in Nigeria by accelerating competence development of professionals through mentoring by Nigerian professionals with extensive international experience.

I am curious about a company calling itself strictly a Drilling Service company; why can’t you simply describe yourself as a full subsurface solutions provider?

Of course, we are a subsurface consultancy group. However, expertise in the other areas of petroleum engineering abound. As drilling requires long training and mentorship to attain professional maturity, it appears to be the area in serious need of attention. If well costs are allowed to continue to grow, the current lull in well construction activities will linger too long. There is need for urgency, as we cannot predict what would happen to Nigeria’s oil after 2030, which is only nine years time!

I see that you count Shell, Amni, and First E&P as part of your clientele. For indigenous companies who are mushrooming in Nigeria, the logistics of integrated project management can be so challenging they’d do better to outsource it. Is this the space you are after?

Shell, Amni, First E&P, Monipulo, Elcrest, Addax, etc, are some of the beneficiaries of our expertise and we have worked in one form or the other with these organisations. However, we are a technical consulting organisation. We use our expertise to help operators, reduce well costs. We do this by facilitating well design improvement, helping them eliminating non-productive times, and training and mentorship of personnel. Our project management activities are carried out through another organisation that we contribute expertise to.

Out of the several specialisations in Hd Okwa Drilling services: Well Cost Improvement Catalysis, Strategic Expertise & Technical Consulting, Well Operations Risk Elimination, which of them does Hd Okwa Drilling find most forward looking? And which are you best at?

Our expertise covers all areas, and we need all of them as arsenal to attack the monster of well costs escalation. We operate through several avenues:

  • In Non-Productive-Time elimination for example, our research showed that all NPT’s in the Nigerian drilling operations are caused by four main events namely Well control, wellbore instability, equipment failures and human errors. These events constitute 30% of the total time spent at the well site on a well. We have developed expertise that we use to support operators to eliminate these events.
  • Invisible lost time constitutes the least beneficial activity to the drilling operation, but are being carried because they can’t be detected. This time constitutes up to 50% of wellsite times.  We collaborate with international experts to develop well operations analytics software. We currently support two – SMARD and CI Drill.  Both software are creating disruption in the well analytics space. These two-software combined can eliminate up to 30% of all invisible lost times.
  • Drilling project management requires high level of expertise. The country has relied on Shell to develop drilling expertise for the industry in Nigeria. However, as the company has shrunk over the years, so have the number of professionals they develop.  We contribute technically to H-PTP Energy Services which is full services well projects management organisation founded by like-mind professionals with strong international expertise.
  • We have developing collaborations and alliances with service suppliers to the drilling business to help them improve their services to international standards.
  • I act as Technical expert in well engineering such as expert witness, standards development, expert opinions, etc.
  • We have supported a financial service organisation to advise them on energy project funding.
  • We act as well examiner, in line with international standards, where we look at drilling project plans, and offer recommendations for improvement.
  • We conduct workshops to drive the ideas through the clients’ teams.
  • And, of course, training services. We are very good in this area.

The last annual report by Shell sounded so despondent about their experience out on the Nigerian oilfield environment. What is your message to international investors about the future of the Nigeria’s oil and gas market?

We need investors to help us develop the 4MMBOPD we need to develop the economy and enjoy the benefits of oil and gas. I think investors can help to improve the technical space in the local industry by patronising local expertise. For example, our organisation consists of high-level professionals with experience of global oil and gas industry, as well as internal consultancies such as McKinsey & co, as well as PWC, among others.  These professionals understand international standards and procedures, and are able to offer advice to international level.

On the whole, the development of local refineries will help insulate the industry from the vagaries of international oil market cycles. With a population of 200Million citizens, Nigeria is the country to invest in. And the oil and gas leads the way.

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