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TOTAL MAN: In His 10th Year, Emperor Patrick Gets Three More

The board of directors of TOTALEnergies has unanimously approved the continuation of Patrick Pouyanné’s work as the company’s Chairman and CEO, for another term of three years.

First, the combined shareholders of the company, at the annual general meeting, “approved the renewal of the three-year terms, as Directors, of Patrick Pouyanné, Jacques Aschenbroich and Glenn Hubbard”, as a well as the “appointment for a three-year term of Marie-Ange Debon as Director”.

Then the board of directors meeting, at the end of the shareholders’ meeting, unanimously confirmed its decision to reappoint Mr. Patrick Pouyanné as Chairman and CEO for the duration of his term of office as Director.

With this new term, Pouyanné is heading for thirteen years in office as CEO of Europe’s largest oil and gas supermajor and one of the most powerful men in global business.

Pouyanné succeeded Christophe de Margerie, who died tragically in an airplane accident in Moscow on the night of October 20-21, 2014.

In the 10 years since he took charge, he has been as bullish on the African asset as his predecessor.  Whie the late de Margerie bought into Uganda and commissioned a string of FPSOs in Angola and Nigeria, Pouyanné has been unafraid to venture in the wild frontier, establishing new exploration hubs in deepwater South Africa and Namibia and edging off ENI as the lead African explorer.

He has come across as the most vocal CEO of any of the five oil majors and he is the only one who speaks like he’s actually drilling the well himself.

In off -the- record comments on the sidelines of industry events, Pouyanné is often described as emperor, czar, or King, in a way that refers to someone with unquestioned authority, even if the remarks are always made in a positive light.

Pouyanné had spent only 17 years in TOTAL when he was put in charge. He started in the company as Chief Administrative Officer of the Angolan subsidiary in 1997, from where he became Group Representative in Qatar and CEO of TOTAL E&P Qatar in 1999, after which he was named Senior Vice President, Finance, Economics and Information Systems in Exploration & Production in August 2002, clearly a leap towards the very top of the senior management.

In January 2006, he became Senior Vice President, Strategy, Business Development and R&D in Exploration & Production. He has been a member of TOTAL’s Management Committee since May 2006. In March 2011, he was appointed Senior Vice President, Chemicals and Senior Vice President, Petrochemicals. In January 2012, he became President, Refining & Chemicals and member of the Executive Committee.

At the time he was appointed TOTAL’s CEO, in 2014, the board also named Thierry Desmarest as interim Chairman of the Board of Directors. When Mr. Desmarest retired in 2015, in accordance with the age limits stipulated in the Group’s bylaws, the positions of Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer were recombined and put in the care of Patrick Pouyanné.


Edwin Is Back in Full Charge of Dangote Refinery, Alake Will Oversee “The Rest”

Aliko Dangote has reorganized his company’s top executive management, following the completion and commissioning of the mammoth Dangote Refinery, Fertiliser and Petrochemical complex, located on the eastern flank of Lagos, Nigeria’s financial city.

In the event, Devakumar Edwin has assumed responsibility as Vice President for Oil and Gas. including the Refinery, Fertilizer, Petrochemicals and Upstream businesses.

The Nigerian engineer and accountant Olakunle Alake, who as the Dangote Group’s Chief Operating Officer, had a line of sight to the group’s entire operations, has assumed “responsibility as Vice President for all the businesses in the Group “excluding the Oil & Gas business”. Mr. Alake continues to be responsible for the Group Finance and audit function.

Edwin stepped a little back from full charge of the complex when construction was in full steam, as Guiseppe Surace, the former SAIPEM Nigeria CEO, took over as COO of the plant, and led the construction. Surace left in February to run his own firm. .

Dangote’s appointment of Edwin to take full charge of the complex is  a vote of confidence on the man who has “seen it all with him”.

The Group Human Resource, Commercial Businesses and Legal  Departments now report directly to the President/Chief Executive Aliko Dangote himself, “in view of the strategic priority of attracting and managing the leadership team”, a company statement notes. Group IT (Information Technology), meanwhile, reports to Group Strategy.

Mr. Dangote says in the statement that “with the successful commissioning and coming into operation of our refinery, fertiliser and petrochemicals plant, we have successfully created a $30Billion conglomerate The Dangote Group is now positioned to become one of the top 200 global companies and the largest industrial Group in Africa”.

 

 

 

 

 


Giuseppe Surace, Ex SAIPEM Executive Who Fast Tracked Dangote Refinery Construction, Leaves to Run His Own Company

Giuseppe Surace, former managing director, Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, who was appointed in 2017 to fast track the (then) slow construction of the Dangote Refinery, has moved on to the next phase of his career.

The Italian engineer left the Chief Operations Officer role in Dangote refinery in February 2024 and has been owner of Only Capital in Dubai since.

Surace’s right-hand man Antonino Raffa, also a Saipem alumnus, had earlier left his role as Head of Field Engineering for Dangote refinery in January 2024 and has since been Field Engineering Manager at Azule Energy, ENI-BP Joint Venture in Angola.

Surace had gone to Dangote from Logstor, a company held by Private Equity Triton, where he was running the Oil &Gas business. Logstor is a supplier of pre-insulated solutions for District Energy and Oil and Gas markets”, Surace reported, himself, on his LinkedIn page.

Africa Oil +Gas Report had once reported this much about Surace’s job at Dangote: “On the factory floors, in the executive offices, everywhere on site, the consensus is that one of the best decisions that Aliko Dangote made was Surace’s appointment”, said our sources. “He saved the project”.

Prior to Logstor and Dangote, Surace spent 20 years with Saipem, where he started in 1995 as Piping Design Engineer in Italy. After two years’ assignment in Kuwait he was promoted to Project Specialist Leader, Project Engineering Manager and Proposal Manager before moving to Lagos, Nigeria in 2007 as Managing Director of Saipem Contracting Nigeria. In 2011, he relocated to Brazil and became CEO of Saipem Do Brazil. In 2014, after a short assignment in Saipem HQ Milan, he returned to Nigeria as Senior Vice President, Central Africa. Giuseppe holds a Master Degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Calabria and a MBA from Bocconi University and MIP School of Management in Milan, Italy.


Heineken Lokpobiri, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum (Oil), to Speak at the Petroleum Club

PAID POST

The Nigerian lawyer and politician, Heineken Lokpobiri, will be the special guest of honour at the second of the four quarterly dinner lectures of the Petroleum Club of Lagos for 2024.

The Minister of State for Petroleum (Oil) will be speaking to the theme Policy design and implementation to tackle the challenges of lower for longer crude oil output

The Petroleum Club, a 17-year-old private club where industry leaders and the technical elite interact, unwind and share ideas on issues concerning the sector, reached out to Mr. Komolafe to deliver the opening dinner lecture.

The event, scheduled for Monday April 15, 2024 at the Metropolitan Club in Lagos, is “a special interactive evening with the Minister”, declares Austin Avuru, who has been Chairman of the Petroleum Club for the past year and half. “We are inviting the entire industry to engage the Minister. We are looking towards a robust engagement”.

The Petroleum Club’s quarterly dinner routinely hosts the government and public leaders of Nigeria’s hydrocarbon sector to open, informal, give-and-take-parleys with ranking private sector players. Gbenga Komolafe, the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, was guest speaker at the February 2023 dinner. Olu A. Verheijen, Special Adviser to President Tinubu on Energy, was the special guest at the end of year dinner in December 2023. Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank’s country director for Nigeria, was the special guest of honour at the December 2022 dinner.

Lokpobiri was appointed Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil) by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in August 2023. He is serving with Ekperipe Ekpo, who was appointed Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas).

The two of Ministers of State have delivered lofty statements about the direction of the industry, but the sector has stubbornly remained  on the path of lower hydrocarbon output.

Mr. Lokpobiri has been an active politician since the dawn of Nigeria’s current fourth republic, having been elected member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly from 1999 to 2003, and speaker of the house from June 1999 – May 2001. In 2007, he was elected to the Nigerian Senate for the Bayelsa West constituency in 2007 and was appointed to committees on Sports, Public Accounts, Police Affairs, Niger Delta and Millennium Development Goals.

He is considered to be a close confidante of President Tinubu.


Falade, Shell’s Chair in Namibia, Takes the Helm at Brunei LNG

UK major Shell has appointed Leye Falade as Managing Director, of Brunei LNG.

The Nigerian engineer had only just resumed as Chief Executive of Shell Namibia five months ago.

In Shell’s global organogram, Falade will, in the new role, report to Peter Costello, Executive Vice President Conventional Oil & Gas.

Brunei LNG is 50% owned by the Government of Brunei, 25% owned by Shell and 25% owned by  Mitsubishi. It operates a total plant capacity of 7.2Million Tonne per annum (7.2MMTPA) of LNG  on a 130-hectare complex situated at Lumut in the Belait District in Brunei.

In his short tenure as Country Chair, Falade was lauded for his contributions to the Namibia venture, demonstrating “great capacity to build relationships in country and with his charismatic and empathetic leadership style, maintaining excellent stakeholder relationships with everyone from government officials to key service providers through pivotal Venture junctures”. He was also praised for his “steadfast. HSSE focus which will leave a lasting impact with the in-country team and Venture”.

Falade had moved, in October 2023, from the position of  General Manager Production at the Nigeria LNG Ltd, to Country Chairman, Shell Namibia.

He is a graduate of Electrical/EJectronic Engineering from University of Ibadan (Nigeria)

and holds an MBA from Henley Business School, University of Reading, UK. He has worked for over 27 years with the Shell Group and is regarded, in the company an accomplished business leader, with brood and significant global exposure in the Integrated Gas & Upstream businesses in assignments that span various countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.


PetroSA Finally Gets a Substantive CEO

The South African government has finally appointed a substantive Chief Executive Officer for the state hydrocarbon company.

Xolile Sizani, a former CEO of the facilities management group Servest and the Medipos medical scheme, is the first CEO of PetroSA in at least seven years not appointed in acting capacity

He replaces Sesakho Magadla, who was only appointed around mid-February 2024 in acting capacity and who had succeeded former acting CEO Sandisiwe Ncemane.

Sizani, whose appointment was announced by the Cabinet on February 28, 2024, was a manager at Afrox and Sasol.

Sizani is taking hold of a cash strapped company who had been unable to refurbish its gas to liquid refinery, which has also run out of feedstock.

 


The Point of Success is Giving Back to Society-Austin Avuru

Three and half years after he retired as CEO of Seplat Energy, the London listed E&P firm he co-founded, AUSTIN AVURU runs A A Holdings, a boutique investment firm focused on upstream hydrocarbon portfolio as well as real estate and equity investing. Mr. Avuru is also keen on A A Foundation, a charitable outfit to which a share of A. A. Holdings’ revenues is allocated annually.

A A Foundation, in September 2023, hosted the ‘church blessing’ of the Arrupe Jesuit College, a secondary school it built in Avuru’s home town of Abbi in Delta State. The $7Milllon project had earlier been handed over to the Jesuits, a Catholic Congregation widely acclaimed for running top notch secondary schools. That ceremony came exactly six years after the Catholic Bishop of Warri had dedicated a $1.9Million, Sixty Bed Hospital, which Avuru had built in the same town, in 2016.

The hospital project in itself was a follow up to the construction of boreholes and water taps which Avuru delivered to the town in 2007.

“My emphasis basically is on education and healthcare and a strong dose of Catholic religion”, Avuru had told Africa Oil+Gas Report in 2020; “these are my foundation activities. If you bring them closer to your people, you have fair-minded people growing up properly educated with healthcare available to them. That’s about the best you can do”.

We met up with Mr. Avuru in his office at A A Holdings in Lagos.

Excerpts of the conversation by Akpelu Paul Kelechi:

At the Church blessing of the Arrupe Jesuit College, the Bishop said: “The Lord has provided all that human kind needs, but much of that provision is in the hands of some people and such people are supposed to deliver to the rest of society”. Do you see yourself as one of those vehicles?

“When we exit in 2025, the Jesuit College will not even call on us to do anything for them again; Jesuit colleges run on their own and that’s partly why their school fees is a bit higher than moderate. They are self-funding non-profit so they provide top quality education from the resources available to them from school fees. We will not go back and be subsidizing them, no. That is not how they are structured and that is why we went to them”.

That is truest statement that captures the essence of life that I’ve listened to in a long time. People see their personal wealth as reward for either super brilliance or hard work and so they beat their chest as having been so successful, more successful than everybody around them and that is the reason they are wealthy. There’s no person that believes in religion especially the Christian religion that will have that point of view. A typical Christian should believe that wealth is placed in your hands by God as belonging to him with you as a servant to distribute it. And I believe honestly that that is the truth.

If you read that my biography, you can see so many instances where we have arrived at where we are not because we work harder than others; we did work hard and so forth but I also pointed out people, my own classmates, who have I believe were a step ahead of me that circumstance found them two-three Steps behind you in the fullness of time. It cannot be because you are more brilliant than them or anything like that. It is the same way that you and two other people will set out to do business and you all would be doing the right things but by some happenchance, you do better and you see so much wealth entrusted on you and you turn around and think you should go ahead and celebrate how much more successful you are than the others. Wealth and most of such endowments are God’s; they belong to God and when they are entrusted unto you, you should use them well.

I also think all of humanity believes this. Why do you think that the wealthy in the developed world spend as much as they do on philanthropy? Why do you think Bill Gates will be going around the whole world trying to solve the problems of the planet? He could sit down and just enjoy all his wealth. Warren Buffet will give out 80% of his wealth to somebody and say, go and distribute it. There is fun in living life and being successful in human endowments, it gives you satisfaction. But the moment you start thinking that that’s your personal belonging, you have missed the point and I think that’s what the Bishop was referring to.

One of the buildings in Arrupe Jesuit College

You installed the bore holes and water taps in 2007. You set up Austin Avuru Foundation about 10 years later. Did you always envisage the foundation?

 At no time did I really sit down to plan about it because I am not a politician that would sit down and plan on how to give out so that people will vote for him in the next election, no. I’ve always wished right from my childhood that I had enough to give out, always. I’ve always known that it gave me more inner satisfaction than anything else. In a way, I think I must have taken after my mom. I couldn’t believe that even in her state where she’s a weak 90-year-old, we were talking and my sisters were discussing about the school opening, and all she could ask was: how many of so and so persons’ children were they able to give employment in that place? She’s thinking of how people will benefit from the presence of the school and that’s the first thing that crosses her mind.

It’s the same thing throughout my tenure in and both Platform and Seplat; anytime I go home, once she says I should sit down, I know she’s going to discuss employment for people. So and so person, haven’t you been able to give him a job? Why have you not done this? Why have you not done that? She’s over 90 years of  age and she does it even up to now!

So it does give me real inner peace and satisfaction when I give out especially when you see that glint in the eyes of the receiver that they appreciate what you give them, that it really made a different to the person.

Can you outline the four key focus areas of AA Foundation’s philanthropy?

It is education, healthcare, sanitation and empowerment or poverty elevation. All four are woven together. I believe that if you offer a child proper education, especially a child is endowed to receive education; you have created the future for that child. You now need the child to thrive by providing the fairly decent environment. Just think about drinking clean water. You see, you may not appreciate it because you didn’t grow up in a village like I did. The difference between drinking pond water, brown water from the pond or from a well and drinking clean water might mean the difference between dying at 20 from typhoid in the village and leaving up to 80 years.

When we speak about sanitation, the difference between going to the back of the house to stool and throw it across and flies gather around it and so on, might mean the difference between dying of dysentery a week later and simply being a healthy child that grows into adulthood because there’s clean drinking water. It doesn’t take too much to make that difference so when you talk about sanitation, that’s really what we are referring to.

I knew I couldn’t give water to the entire village with those boreholes we drilled. However, for the villager who goes to farm in the morning, when he returns in evening and he is sure there’s a place he can go and fetch a bucket of clean water to drink, he can use all his muddy water to do all other things but the water he and his family members are going to drink, he knows he can go across and fetch it and that’s what I did with those boreholes. With sanitation, that child that you’re giving education will also be given a chance to live.

Healthcare and sanitation are tied together while education is to provide the future. And of course poverty alleviation is simply this, somebody has an idea that can be transformed into proper value creation and you can support them to achieve that, it doesn’t take too much. We have supported some kind of farming in the village level and some cottage industries. We are not making noise about it. In education, we have paid the school fees of people doing their Master’s degree in Harvard and so on. Again, like everything that we try to do, we’ll try to be very definitive but we also try to create the boundaries so that we don’t do just about everything; which is why we’ve systematically said, those are the four areas and we have concentrated on those four areas hoping that all of them taken together, will simply help to take poverty away from people who can ordinarily live a good life if you give them a chance.

You could have tackled Orogun Grammar School, your Alma mater and Abbi Grammar School, the community college, for refurbishment, but you chose a new build project. Why?

We are already tackling both schools and I will tell you two stories. You know, when you are living in the rural areas, you will almost not forgive these people who run the affairs of our society as governors and president because they are actually wicked.

Abbi Grammar School started when we were kids in 1972, when I was 14 and I was already in Orogun Grammar School, in class 2. They gathered us to go and clear the forest that was going to be Abbi Grammar School, so I’ve known it from the day when we cleared that forest until its glorious days when it produced people in Divisions One and Two. But then, it deteriorated to a point where trees were growing through the roof.  The school enrolment dropped to 82 in the entire school and they were no longer a centre for writing School Certificate examination. That’s how poor it became with government running it. At Platform Petroleum, we had a budget for community development; what we then did was to say, okay, to help these people where I come from, we took 10% of our community development budget to Abbi. Fortunately, the area where Platform Petroleum is operating is contiguous to Abbi. So, if we budgeted ₦50Million, we would take ₦5Million and go to Abbi and that’s how we picked the classroom blocks one at a time. It was direct labour with just ₦4 – 5Million. We turned it around one by one over time; we changed the roof, changed the tiles of the floors and took it one at a time. By the time we did three blocks of six classrooms each, did the principal’s quarters, put a borehole and water supply in there, and in those four years that we did that, between 2008 – 2012, the enrolment went back to almost 400. We breathed life into the school otherwise the school was dead. It was only after that that the government came in and did all those TET Fund things. We revived the then dead Abbi school thanks to part of Platform Petroleum’s community development effort.

For Orogun Grammar School, it is the Old Students that have been on the vanguard to reviving that school. I personally renovated one classroom block and I have made pledges that I have redeemed to Orogun Grammar School Old Students and that is an on-going thing. We didn’t build a school because we’re not doing the others; no. We’re doing all that we can do and of course, you know that in my honour, Platform Petroleum built an entire geology department at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka UNN, where I graduated.

I could have built a secondary school or a university in my name and pump in a lot of money into it but that is not what I am looking for. We chose a secondary school because that’s the foundation really; primarily and secondary school.  I was looking for a secondary school that will be run to world class standard in perpetuity. We went out deliberately to seek approval of the Jesuits; if you look at their schools, the Loyola Jesuits Collage in Abuja and the one they have in Port Harcourt and look at their numbers, you know that you don’t have to tell them what to do. You don’t have to worry about it because it’s not your school, it’s theirs. It’s not a question of saying oh, when Austin Avuru dies, the vision is dead, no. I thought that it would be the right thing to do, build it for them and allow them run it and maintain their standard.

Then you are sure that in addition to those schools around, whether it’s Orogun or Abbi Grammar School that we are renovating, you have a top-notch school that sets the standard for them to look up to for both students and stuff. This is the best thing to do in that environment to raise the standard of education. You know, when you go to Uromi, because Lumen Christi has been in Uromi, it changed narrative about that whole area. Lumen Christi is for boys and Presentation is for girls in Benin. The standard of education in the whole of Edo State changed because of those two schools run by the Catholics.  When you set such standards it helps to elevate the others who aspire.

How much will you have spent by the time you exit funding the school in September 2025?

Our original budget was to spend a million dollars a year for 5 years but once we started, we knew that wouldn’t do. In fact, 2023 was our highest spend year because once we set a date for the school to take off, there is a minimum that must be in place because the school couldn’t take off without you fencing it for instance; you were putting buildings in place but you have not fenced the place. Imagine fencing 18 hectares of land. There must be water also and there must be electricity. By water, what I mean is not just the water but the entire reticulation around the entire place so that any other building can just hook up to the main supply and the same thing is applicable to electricity as well. With all of those things added we found out we had spent three times what was our annual budget in the fiscal year of September 2022 to September 2023.

All the things we had committed to putting there and now, we believe that we will be spending about Seven (7) Million US Dollars over those five years but it could be slightly more. We deliberately put our budget in dollars so that we are not battling with exchange rate-based inflation. Buildings that could have cost us ₦200,000,000 are now costing us ₦400,000,000 to build but in dollar terms, they are about the same price so it is safer for us to just budget in dollars. In 2020 when we started, we could have told you that our plan was to spend ₦3Billion but in today’s reality, we would be spending ₦6Billion but in dollar terms, there is not much of a difference. The figure is somewhere around $7Million over the next five years.

The medical centre was built at the cost of around $2Million without the cover of AA Foundation. How do you ingratiate such earlier project, those done pre-AAF into the overall AAF operation?

Yes and we have added a few more things to it since then but between 2002 and 2020, I was either in Platform or Seplat as Owner-Manager. This means that I have shareholding; that also means I earn revenue beyond my salary. As an individual, those revenues were coming into my coffers up to the point where I retired in 2020; up until that time, those revenues were coming in as Austin Avuru’s revenues and I would use part of it to do those things you are talking about. As part of my restructuring as I was getting ready to retire, I then setup A.A. Holdings and everything that I own as an individual: my shareholding in Platform, my shareholding in Seplat and now in Pillar and a few other things were aggregated into a trust fund called A.A. Holdings. So I no longer own those things and A.A. Holdings pays me a salary now. Because everything now goes into A.A. Holdings, everything had to be done properly. If I had written a will, the beneficiaries of A.A. Holdings would have been the beneficiaries of the will.

A.A. Foundations is also a beneficiary of A.A. Holdings so it is not just my wife and children and A.A. Foundation owns 15% of A.A. Holdings. The way we run it is that, 15% of our annual budget at A.A. Holdings goes to A.A. Foundations to do its job and that is why we do not look for external funding. We use the little we have to fund whatever project we choose to fund and that is the structure.

What we have done is to move from individual earnings into earnings that are aggregated into a trust and I am managing the trust on behalf of those that will succeed me.

16 years ago, you drilled four wells in Abbi. Has that number increased?

No, it is still those same four wells. We make sure that they remain functional by having somebody with a small motorcycle and a generator who goes around every morning and evening and pumps the water so that every time someone from the village goes there to fetch water, it works.

Do you have plans to increase the wells?

No because in-between, there has been all those World Bank projects and the like that other people have done but after one or two years, they won’t work again. If you drill a borehole, somebody must be responsible for it to work every day. So we don’t need more drinking water boreholes because the way we located the wells is such that they are located at the four corners of the town so that average villager won’t have to go too far to get water. That was intentional.

Let’s go back to what the Bishop said again. Do you have a template for what the wealthiest Nigerians should do to help their country and the role they should play vis a viz what Government’s roles should be?

The average wealthy person knows that the excitement is in working very hard to create wealth and make money but after you have created the wealth, you just find out: so what? I believe that every wealthy person should first go through the excitement of creating value and creating wealth but after that is done; he should ask himself what he wants to do with it. If wealth is not created for the public good, then it is not wealth. Whether it is philanthropy or creating jobs and redistributing wealth to people through job creation, wealth has to be distributed because wealth belongs to God and it was handed to you for proper distribution.

Can philanthropy take care of all of Nigerian society’s needs?

No. Philanthropy is only in response to what we have talked about several times that the wealth belongs to God and that you are only playing your little role in redistributing it because it was placed in your hands. It doesn’t take away the role of societal governance; there has always been governance since the medieval times which means that there is a structure that aggregates well from all those they are taking through taxes that can be used to generate what amounts to the general public good. You cannot take that away and that is governance.

For individuals who also see wealth entrusted to them should not lock it up somewhere; they have to also redistribute it and to redistribute it means doing something for the public good.

The $7Million you talked about is coming from the investment of A.A Holdings. How much is the investment boutique A.A Holdings making to be able to fund a project for $7Million?

A.A. Holdings tries to spend between 12 and 15% of its annual budget on philanthropy through A.A. Foundation and that is the way it is structured. Those sums of money are not arbitrary and in a year like this where we have over spent, we are going to have to make it up. There is proper planning, budgeting and execution both in A.A Holdings and its affiliates.

Duomo Lulu Briggs, chairman of Platform Petroleum, pledged the sum of 250Million Naira to the AA Foundation. That’s $280,000. Is that going to be added to the money set aside for Arrupe or you’d look for another project for it?

They have already paid and that is the best thing that has happened to us at A.A Foundation in recent times because as I explained to you, we have really over spent and we are  under financial pressure to get that facility ready for use. So essentially, what we were supposed to finish in September 2024 was what we were forced to finish in September 2023 because there are a certain minimum requirements that must be met before they can start. When Duomo pledged on behalf of Platform where he is the chairman the sum of N250Million, it was a life line. They acted swiftly and four days after his announcement, they had paid. As I speak to you, ₦150Million of that N250Million has already been disbursed to various vendors and contractors whose payments were due.

Where is AA Foundation going after 2025? Will you  be called upon to keep helping with the school infrastructure after some time? Will you keep refurbishing the Magistrate building and the Police station in Abbi? Will you keep changing the cars for the Officiating Minister of the Catholic Church in the community? Or will you be doing other things?

The good thing about the Jesuit College is that, when we exit in 2025, they will not even call on us to do anything for them again; Jesuit colleges run on their own and that’s partly why their school fees is a bit higher than moderate. They are self-funding non-profit so they provide top quality education from the resources available to them from school fees. We will not go back and be subsidizing them, no. That is not how they are structured and that is why we went to them.

For the magistrate court buildings and vehicles, those are the examples of the failure of government. The police station in my village, I had to be the one to go and refurbish it, I have to provide them with a vehicle. For the magistrate court, with an actual magistrate there so it wasn’t as if the court wasn’t there, I had to be the one to spend money to make it look decent for the magistrate to dispense justice. If you go there before we renovated the place, it was a rat hole. Those are the failures of government. We shouldn’t be doing those things; we should be doing things to compliment what they are doing, not taking over the role of government. I didn’t mention that we also put Two kIlometres of drainage along that same road and it cost us money to do that which we shouldn’t be the ones doing. But you sit there and the government is doing absolutely nothing.

As we go along, our educational spending will be shifting from infrastructure to the softer things. For instance, we have paid ₦32Million school fees for eleven kids and we have paid ₦11.5Million as our share of the cost of running that school. Half of the cost of running the primary school comes to us and this is just JSS1 and Primary 1. So when the school is in full session in six years’ time, we probably won’t have eleven children on scholarship. Assuming we have 30 children on scholarship by that time, that easily comes to almost a hundred million naira and the same thing is applicable to the primary school. So you are going to be seeing a shift in spending from just infrastructure to maintaining the scholarship obligation that we have. Because we have a finite budget and because we know what our current liabilities are, it is the remainder that we can then put in other projects going forward. We are driven by how much we have each year and it is finite and almost predictable. It is a business that we do and we know how much revenue that we get. If we are dedicating a certain amount on projects the next year and if we are saying 10-15% of that goes to the foundation, it means that when we are planning the work programme for next year, we know what is going to the foundation because we know what our current commitments are and therefore, we know what new projects we can take on. It is therefore up to us to pick what projects we can fund within those key four elements that we have discussed. It is not just limited to Abbi.

So apart from Abbi, which other community are you looking at?

We can be anywhere. There are projects that have been delivered on our behalf. I mean, we went to Nsukka to build a Geology Department and in the Faculty of Sciences, it is the best facility that they have till date. It was built and fully equipped so we can be anywhere. When we know that there is a dire requirement and we know the impact of what we do would be far reaching in those four areas, you can find us there because we are not really restricted by geography.

Female Ward of Abbi Hospital

You paid 2.9Million per student and you do talk about mommy saying you have not done anything about so and so person’s job search, are those monies paid with these kinds of things in mind?

Now that we are getting better organized and putting everything under the foundation. Those days, my secretary had a list of all the people that we would send their school fees and there were different people in different schools. People come to me and say my name is so and so and I finished from so and so school and you paid my school fees. I don’t know them.

She just takes the name and puts on the list and then send the money but now, we are organizing it in a more structured way. But yes, paying the school fees of those who need it is part of what we do and in the specific case of the school, we went out of our way, my elder sister and Jonnie who runs the foundation, went out of their way and gathered about 60 children, some of the most brilliant ones that they could find in the primary schools and organized six weeks of extra mural studies to prepare them for the entrance exam into the school. The reason they did that was that soon, the school will be starting and it would be somehow if they didn’t have a single pupil from the community. They had to work extra hard with past question papers and so on and fortunately, eleven of them were admitted. After the admission however, we found out the next problem. The parents of those children were preparing to sell their farmlands in order to pay for the school fees. We had to gather all of them together and say, please don’t worry, since we put you into this, we are going to take care of this responsibility. Which is how, we initiated a scholarship scheme in a manner of speaking that says: any kid that is admitted into that school, because you can only be admitted on merit, whose parent lives in Abbi, we will take care of that child’s school fees because the assumption is that for any parent who live in Abbi, paying that school fees is a huge burden and we do not want to deny a brilliant child who is able to get admission on merit the opportunity to excellent quality education.

 


Tony Attah is Back: He takes the Leadership of Renaissance

Tony Attah has returned.

The former Managing Director of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Ltd has taken the helm of Renaissance Africa Energy Company, the consortium of five companies which has just acquired Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria.

Attah is the new Chief Executive and managing Director of the newly formed, incorporated consortium company, which expects to manage what used to be Shell’s 30% stake in the SPDC-JV comprising 18 Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 35 36, 43, 45 and 46, all onshore, and OMLs 74, 77& 79, in shallow water, in the Niger Delta basin.

Attah retired from Shell only two years ago, precisely January 2022, after a career spanning over 30 years. He left the UK major five months after he stepped down from the NLNG Ltd at the end of August 2021, after having delivered on the most crucial item on his to -do -list; leading the company to a Final Investment Decision (FID) on Train 7, the seventh LNG Train in Bonny Island.

Attah has an impressive Cee Vee, and comes to the new job highly recommended. A mechanical engineer by training, he was previously Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Exploration Producing Company (SNEPCo), the Shell subsidiary which manages the upstream deepwater business. On his watch, the SNEPCo operated Bonga field, which is also Nigeria’s flagship deepwater hydrocarbon accumulation, was delivering over 150,000Barrels of Oil Per Day.

At the time he led NLNG Ltd to an FID on the incremental 8Million Metric Tonne Per Annum in 2019, he was the only CEO from an International Oil Company (IOC) background, working in Nigeria, who had delivered a project of that magnitude in the country in the five years before then. And going on five years after that decision, no project of that magnitude has seen an FID in Nigeria. Tony Attah took the reins of NLNG Ltd, nine years after the last Liquefaction Plant (Train 6) came on stream. Before him, two Chef Executives had worked to get Train 7 project off the ground, with some traction, but not visible success.

Attah’s experience in gas monetization will come in handy in the new job. The bulk of the feedstock for the NLNG (in which Shell holds a 25.6% stake) had always been sourced from the SPDC assets that Shell has just divested. The largest among them include Gbaran Ubie, Soku, Bonny (onshore), and EA (shallow water). These fields will now be operated by Renaissance.

Then again despite the sale of over 60% of its natural gas reserves in the country to Renaissance Africa Energy, Shell is still keen on playing the domestic gas market through Shell Nigeria Gas, its downstream gas distribution subsidiary while also focusing on clean energy via Day Star its recently acquired subsidiary which plays in the solar energy landscape.

 

 

 


Emuwa Takes the Chairmanship of the Board of AFC

Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) has appointed Emeka Emuwa as Chairman of its Board of Directors.

The energy and infrastructure financier says that the new chairman’s “extensive experience and unwavering dedication to the advancement of Africa make him a valuable asset to AFC at a time when the Corporation is rapidly expanding its operations across the continent and building partnerships through international collaborations”.

AFC says in a release: “Mr. Emuwa brings a wealth of experience spread over three decades leading and transforming banking institutions across Africa”.

AFC claims it is, with its partners, “the biggest investor in renewable energy in Africa following its recent acquisition of Lekela Power, and leadership of major wind power projects including in Djibouti.

“The Corporation’s development of special economic zones through its investee company ARISE IIP is helping to diversify the economies of nine countries, building a global manufacturing powerhouse. AFC was appointed lead developer of the Lobito Corridor and Zambia-Lobito Rail Line, bringing together partners including the US government, the European Union, the African Development Bank and the governments of Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.

The Lagos Nigeria headquartered AFC is also deeply involved in the oil and gas industry. It is the sole shareholder of Aker Energy, which has a 50% stake in the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) Block offshore Ghana. This acreage contains the ultradeepwater Pecan oil field and other discoveries with estimated reserves in the range 450Millio Barrels of Oil Equivalent (MMboe) to 550MMboe.

About its new chairman, AFC says:  “After completing a sterling 25-year career with Citibank where he left as the Country Officer and Managing Director of Citibank in Nigeria, he went on to serve as the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank of Nigeria. In this role, he led the bank’s transformation and worked successfully with the new shareholders to transform and restore one of Nigeria’s oldest institutions back to its rightful position as a credible and strong provider of financial services”.

Emuwa has been a part of AFC’s Board since 2015, previously serving as the Chairman of the Board Risk and Investment Committee, and as a member of the Board Nominations and Governance Committee. He is also the Chairman of Tangerine Financial (U.K.), the holding company for a financial services group providing insurance and pensions solutions across the continent. Mr Emuwa is thus well positioned to oversee and guide AFC on its future strategy and growth aspirations.

 

 


PetroSA Gets its Umpteenth Acting New CEO

South Africa has appointed a new acting Chief Executive officer for PetroSA, the state hydrocarbon company.

Sesakho Magadla, who has an engineering background, succeeds former acting CEO Sandisiwe Ncemane, who has returned to the Central Energy Fund (CEF), the parent company of PetroSA.

Ms. Magadla, until her new appointment, was acting as COO for the company.

This means that her successor as COO, will be an acting COO.

A statement from the company indicates that a permanent group CEO appointment is imminent.

Since Nosizwe Nocwe-Macamo was suspended as CEO in 2015, PetroSA has been  run by a succession of acting CEOs

Starting from Mapula Modipa, who was succeeded by Siphamandla Mthetwa, there have been six acting CEOS since, a challenge which clearly imp bues operations at the company with a cloud of uncertainty

PetroSA claims is implementing a turnaround strategy, as approved by its shareholders Central Energy Fund and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.

A critical part of the entity’s turnaround plan is to restore its gas loop and liquids refinery in Mossel Bay to full production, following three years of suspended production.

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