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Egypt’s Gas Advisor Takes the Helm at Neptune Energy

Neptune Energy has announced that Mohamed Mounes Shahat will join the company in December to take on the role of Egypt Managing Director, based in Cairo.

Mounes joins Neptune from Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum, having most recently held the position of Minister’s Advisor for Gas Affairs.

Neptune is a privately owned European independent with net production of 145,000Barrels of Oil Equivalent Per Day (BOEPD) in Algeria, Egypt, Norway, UK, Germany and Asia Pacific. It operates the North West El Amal Offshore Concession  and holds equity in Alam El Shawish West in the country’s Western Desert as well as the Ashrafi field in the Gulf of Suez. Neptune’s largest African hydrocarbon property is its stake in the Touat facility in Algeria, which commenced natural gas export in September 2019 and aims to plateau at 450Million standard cubic feet a day.

With almost 40 years’ experience, Mounes has a strong technical and commercial background, having begun his career with the Gulf of Suez Petroleum Company in Egypt as a Petroleum Engineer.

He has held a number of senior leadership roles including Operations General Manager and Board member at Khalda Petroleum Company, and was Chairman and Managing Director at Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company, Qarun Petroleum Company, and Wastani Petroleum Company. He was Deputy CEO for Production and a member of the Executive Board at Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC). He joined Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum in 2016 as First Undersecretary of Gas Affairs, and later became Minister’s Advisor for Gas Affairs.

Mounes has a B.Eng in Petroleum Engineering from Cairo University.

Gamal Kassem, Neptune’s current Egypt Managing Director, will continue with the company until the end of the year, supporting Mounes’ transition into the role.

Jim House, CEO of Neptune, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Mounes to the company at an important time for the business. He brings a wealth of experience to Neptune and a deep knowledge of the industry in Egypt.

“He joins Neptune as we progress our plans for the North West El Amal block, following the seismic acquisition earlier this year. He will also build on our strong relationship with the Ministry of Petroleum and Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation as we progress work on our concessions.

“I would like to thank Gamal for his dedication to the business in Egypt and for his continuing leadership until Mounes’ transition is complete.

 


UI Grants Two Oil Chiefs Its Highest Honorary Awards

By Macson Obojemiemoin

Theophilus Danjuma, Founder and Chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO) and retired Lt. General of the Nigerian Army and Layiwola Fatona, Co- Founder and Chief Executive Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR), were two of four recipients of the University of Ibadan’s highest  honorary awards. The honours were conferred as part of the University’s 72nd anniversary ceremonies.

Danjuma became an honorary Doctor of Letters. Fatona was granted an honorary Doctorate of Science.

Abel Idowu Olayinka, the University’s Vice Chancellor, said that the institution did not deliberately set out to look for awardees from the oil industry. The nomination of General Danjuma came from the Medical Sciences, whereas he, he admitted, pushed for the choice of Dr. Fatona.

Olayinka, a professor of earth sciences who is close to the oil industry, is leaving the Vice Chancellorship position at the end of November 2020 after a five year term.  He wanted to honour Fatona, an alumnus of the University who he describes as an ‘industry icon’,  to be a fait accompli before he leaves.  “I can’t push for it from outside”, he told Africa Oil+Gas Report on the side-lines of the awards ceremony.

Although Danjuma and Fatona are known to have influenced the donations of hundreds of millions of Naira, to support the University, Olayinka said that  honorary awards are primarily more influenced by lifetime achievement than philanthropy. “But it is easier to convince the nominating committee of a candidate’s worth for an award when they can see evidence of his charitable causes on the campus”.

Danjuma has donated a Travel Fellowship for Kidney research to UI, Nigeria’s premier University. Fatona has, among other interventions, committed the NDWestern/NPDC joint venture to the construction of a multipurpose, four storey building for the study of geosciences.

The nomination and approval process for honorary awards is overseen by a Joint Committee of the Council and Senate of the University.

The outgoing Vice Chancellor has superintended the improvement in the University’s rankings to the Number 1 position in West Africa and to a placement between 400th and 500th in the world, according to The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020, which includes almost 1,400 universities across 92 countries, standing as the largest and most diverse university rankings ever to date.

But he is not entirely satisfied. “We can do a lot better”, he said, his right arm describing a wide arc of the campus; “There are, as of now, no students on campus. For eight months, Nigeria’s Federal Universities have been under lock and key, not only due to COVID-19 restrictions, but because University teachers are on strike. Its not very good”.


Wabote Gets Another Four Years

He has mitigated the challenges of low crude oil prices that have marked his tenure

Simbi Kesiye Wabote has been re-appointed to run the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), for a second term of four years.

President Muhammadu Buhari renewed his appointment as the Executive Secretary of the board, just as he renewed the appointments of Bello Aliyu Gusau as the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund and Ahmed Bobboi, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF).

The renewal followed recommendations to the President by Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.

Wabote, who previously ran the National Content unit at Shell Nigeria, is the third Executive Secretary of the 10-year-old institution, the most ambitious oil industry localization agency on the African continent.

An NCDMB press release quotes the Nigerian Presidency as saying that “Wabote earned the renewal after recording sterling achievements, including managing the Nigerian Content Development Fund prudently, completing the 17 storey headquarters building of NCDMB and for initiating many landmark projects that are widely commended by industry players”.

Wabote has superintended Nigeria’s petroleum industry localization effort in a period marked by low crude oil prices, but by targeted investments in industrial parks and refineries, he has aided the fostering of beneficiation of raw hydrocarbon for the purposes of growing an industrial economy.


‘African Governments Will Be in “Listening Mode” Now More than Ever’-Monsieur Afrique

The current shock in the hydrocarbon industry “is so profound and so deep”, in the view of Tim O’Hanlon, Tullow Oil’s former Vice President for Africa, that “companies will find Governments across Africa in “listening mode” now than before”.

That comment references the perception, by International Oil Companies, that African Governments, as a rule, are never in a hurry to follow the pointers to fiscal terms dictated by the market.

African Governments, O’ Hanlon says “have sometimes been more than a bit “late-to-the-party” when it comes to adjusting the work programme or fiscal arrangements, necessary when the oil price dies and capital dries up”.

O’Hanlon should know, or should he not?.

For most of the last twenty years he was the face of Tullow Oil in Africa. Known to governments and stakeholders around the continent as ‘Monsieur Afrique’, he negotiated the entries for the company, represented the partner countries’ feelings in Tullow’s executive management meetings and promoted the Tullow brand at the C-Suite level type conferences.

In those years, the company earned the sobriquet: ‘Africa’s Leading Independent’. Now as it leaves Uganda, winds down in Kenya and sees its Ghanaian production declining, Tullow Oil calls itself ‘An independent oil and gas company focused on Africa and South America’.

‘Monsieur Afrique’, retired last April after 34 years with the company, and four months after Tullow’s historic headlong stock price crash.

“To have African governments listen, he says is “all it will take to re-ignite the flame and get the ball rolling whereby exploration permits are extended, stay alive and stay in the right hands (like Tullow’s) until the inevitable turn-around comes”.

O’Hanlon: Oil explorers always seem to end up looking either like visionaries or idiots – rarely in between

The inevitable turnaround?

Mr. O’Hanlon is unapologetically clear sighted about the continued relevance of fossil fuels.

In a rare, extended conversation, his first interview with any publication since his exit, he fielded questions ranging from the future of oil, the alleged retreat of Independent companies from Africa, to the ‘hysteria’ about climate change.

Excerpts from the interview, published a month ago, in the August 2020 issue of Africa Oil+Gas Report.

Having spent several decades, right in the jungles of the oil patch, negotiating deals and seeing them implemented, as actual crude flow to export, how does it feel to sit back and watch things from a distance?

For the moment, I am relaxed to sit back and watch from a distance……….but my feet are still a bit itchy to be honest!  While poor Tullow is not what it once was, our legacy is secured. Through the efforts of the brilliant technical people we always surrounded ourselves with and the cool leadership at the top, Tullow added many tens of billions of dollars to the economies of some lucky African nations. It’s uplifting to think that ordinary people just doing their day-jobs like that have had such a positive impact on a Continent with wall-to-wall problems to solve. This achievement can never be undone.

Does any of the things happening now: lockdowns everywhere, crude oil prices going negative at some point, Massive write downs by oil majors, does any of them feel surreal?

Surreal is a bit strong. We chose to work in this oil-patch which is, after all, a boom/bust game. Oil explorers always seem to end up looking either like visionaries or idiots – rarely in between. Extreme outcomes are the norm. What we do for a living is so different from all the mainstream careers out there, that after 35 years of it – all spent in Africa – little ends up being truly surreal. Surprises, shocks, failure and setbacks are what to expect and so it becomes only a question of degree…

How do you see the future of Tullow in Africa? Is there life after death?

They say “debt is death” but that is just a corny cliché. At the right level, debt is an indispensable financial tool which is perfectly suited to our E&P business. Unfortunately, some recent mis-steps by Tullow management put our debt level in the spotlight – unnecessarily centre-stage in our story – whereas our banks had been actually quite relaxed about matters. Optics and story-telling matter in the fickle marketplace and this contributed to a spiral in equity value which of course did indeed highlight the then relatively high debt level. Discretionary spending like exploration is always the first to go in tough times and yet that’s what attracted so many fans (both shareholders and African Governments) to Tullow down the years. If the new leadership is wise, it will re-establish a credible African growth narrative for Tullow – however modest for now – in order to attract again the savvy shareholders as well as the key African stake-holders before the fabulous, hard-won, Tullow brand withers further………….

With the prevailing conditions likely to linger a while longer, is there any likelihood that those many acreages in Cote D’Ivoire and other frontier acreages in Africa are likely to be worked on by the company at all?

I am on the outside now and can only speculate. While African Governments have sometimes been more than a bit “late-to-the-party” when it comes to adjusting the work programme or fiscal arrangements, necessary when the oil price dies and capital dries up, Ivory Coast has proven to be very responsive and pragmatic with us in the recent past. The current industry shock is so profound and so deep that I predict companies will find Governments across Africa in “listening mode” now than before. That’s all it will take to re-ignite the flame and get the ball rolling whereby exploration permits are extended, stay alive and stay in the right hands (like Tullow’s) until the inevitable turn-around comes.

For the past three years, the International Independent, whose exploration exploits since the late 90s led to massive discoveries of gas in Mozambique and Senegal, and oil in Mauritania, Ghana and Senegal, has been on the retreat. Anadarko is gone. Noble Energy is about to be wrapped in Chevron’s voluminous folds, Tullow has left Uganda. Do you still see a role for International Independents finding new hydrocarbons and developing them?

No doubt about it. As long as oil and gas dominate the energy mix and Africa’s energy needs accelerate like no other Continent’s, investment in exploration will have a role, albeit modest for the moment. With no criticism of the MAJORS intended, the industry niche of frontier exploration has not, with a few exceptions, been theirs in Africa for the last few decades. The risk profile of true wildcatting across Africa – often onshore – doesn’t particularly suit them whereas the independents’ shareholders are prepared to face high risk in return for access to possible bonanza outcomes. A new crop of independents will emerge to fill these needs when the time is right. They may even start with developing already discovered resources which abound in Africa, moving out into exploration again as the oxygen returns into the room.

Is this ongoing retreat only a blip?

In my opinion, it’s a wee bit more than a blip – maybe more like an abrupt and violent speed-bump! But the fundamentals are still there for the E&P business to thrive again. Africa needs development and nations develop faster with cheap energy. Resources abound on the Mother Continent and the technology and skills are there to exploit them safely and profitably. Each side – Govts and oil explorers – needs the other and this “need” is the eternal driver of good business.

What is your take on the imminent end of the fossil fuel era -especially in the context of the timeline that is now so readily bandied around?

”Bandied around” is a perfect phrase for what’s going on here. Nobody ever seems to police these wild claims and you get a hearing these days once you have a wifi connection. But words matter and the IOC’s speak in a much more measured tone. Nothing will happen overnight and indeed the energy transition is quietly underway. And so it should be. Fossil fuels are already being replaced in the mix by cleaner energy sources but (pre-Covid) the total energy demand was increasing worldwide. So, common sense and sound economics will prevail because, as ever, the private sector will have to do all the heavy-lifting here. The transition will happen faster in some regions than others but oil and particularly gas will have a major albeit  decreasing role to play for decades to come.

You keep saying Africa needs development and nations develop faster with cheap energy. That’s quite contrary to the growing narrative that solar PV prices keep going down and power generated from them is ultimately cheaper?

Solar power technology  improves daily and seems to have a huge role to play in Africa’s future energy needs. However, the connected electric grid leaves a lot to be desired in Africa and so, a bit like the connected landline phone system of old, sunny Africa could maybe skip a technology chapter here with solar power being generated much closer to where it is consumed. That would indeed be great. But again, it will be in the context of an overall energy mix. Oil products are relatively safe, flexible, cheap, widely-distributed and dense bundles of energy. Transport is the principal user of fossil fuels worldwide and Africa is on-the-move!  Just like high-Capex / low-Opex hydro-power, large-scale solar can produce impressive generating costs on a given day and that will be a very welcome addition to the minestrone of Africa’s future energy needs.

What, in your view, is the future of the oilfield service companies…Halliburton/Schlumberger/Baker Hughes? What, in your view, is the short- and long-term future of the drilling companies?

Like the IOCs, the service companies including drillers are having a grim time at the moment. But the industry is uniquely experienced in dealing with appalling risks every day which Main St. businesses can’t even comprehend. How can you set out to drill a well which will cost you M$50+ and which has an 85% chance of failing? While that risk is the IOC’s risk, we pay the service companies bills and therefore their salaries. So it is also their risk really in a way. But the service companies are habitual innovators, forever adjusting to the twists and turns and challenges of the business. This will stand to them and they will be fine. There will be mergers, they may have to learn new skills but change and challenges have been their constant companions in our crazy industry and thus ensured their survival to date…

Which of the majors will be left standing?

If Africa………….it will be TOTAL.

Can we anticipate a revival of the industry any time soon?

Yes….but one man’s soon is another man’s eternity. This COVID-19 issue needs urgent solving and then there needs to be less hysterical shouting and more listening / thoughtful discussion around the climate change debate. The huge technical, creative and financial firepower of the oil industry can then be harnessed to make a sensible and properly-paced transition towards a cleaner future energy mix. This should be done without forfeiting the right of the developing world to catch-up with our living standards here in the West which benefited from cheap energy.

Will there be a merger of activities with renewables or are these two separate worlds?

There is space and need for both entities in the energy mix for the foreseeable future. That said, the MAJORs – who have a vulnerable presence at street level and MUST therefore think big picture – will be more able and more likely to try to cover both sectors and hedge their bets through acquisition of renewable energy targets. But under the entire energy supply umbrella, there will always be a need for niche players with their expertise – be they frontier oil and gas explorers or renewable energy technology innovators. You need these pioneers and risk-takers in ours and every other industry as well as the heavy-lifters to see the job through. It’s not an either/or.

There is not a lot in the media about how you showed up. How did it all start? An engineering education in the UK? Then what? 

Do you remember the cartoon guy, Mister Magoo? Well I’m his Irish cousin and I’ve been safely walking under ladders all my life! I scraped through Engineering in UCD, Ireland’s best Engineering school, then worked with Schlumberger for a few years, then scraped through Imperial College London, the UK’s best Engineering school, then bumped into dodgy-Accountant (his words) Aidan Heavy in Dublin on the very week his start-up Tullow Oil signed an onshore exploration permit just outside Dakar, Senegal. It was like the blind hiring the blind although to be honest, Aidan is a superb entrepreneur. Ignorance of the scale of our undertakings was our best friend for the first 15 years but the work ethic was amazing. Surrounded by hungry, talented people – back then, mostly fellow Irish – survival was the objective and it remains the miracle of Tullow to this day. Success inevitably follows in our game if you can just remain focussed and simply stay in the game! Our turn eventually came and we surfed those waves, one after another – SNS gas fields, Energy Africa acquisition, huge oil discoveries in Uganda, then Ghana and finally Kenya. Aidan’s laser focus on Africa was our big differentiator. I have been blessed to be at the heart of this story from my twenties to my sixties and for much of that time I was Tullow’s Monsieur Afrique. What a ride………

And now?

The same month I retired from Tullow (April 2020) was the month Europe and Africa went into COVID-19 lockdown and the worldwide E&P sector hit the rocks. Mr Magoo again just walked under that ladder! But I am flattered to report that my phone has rung a few times with requests for advice from people with African E&P projects needing to navigate through the maze. But the maze is new every time and the same routes that Tullow took aren’t available. But that’s ok. There are other routes and there are similarities that I am recognising in their stories! I can probably help much more than I even realise but time will tell. A new start-up to go back and “discover” all that oil we left behind, well that’s possible too maybe some day. 

 

 

 

 


Adesina re-elected as President of the African Development Bank Group

Akinwumi A. Adesina has been re-elected to serve a second five-year term as President of the African Development Bank Group on Thursday, August 27, 2020 by the Board of Governors of the Bank.

A globally renowned development economist and a World Food Prize Laureate and Sunhak Peace Prize Laureate, “Dr. Adesina has distinguished himself in driving a bold agenda to reform the Bank and accelerate Africa’s development. He was first elected as President of the Bank on May 28, 2015”, the Bank’s spokesperson, Grace Kiire says in a statement..

“As newly re-elected President, Dr Adesina, a former Nigerian Minister of Agriculture, will begin his new term on September 1, 2020.

“The election result, which gave him a hundred percent of votes of all regional and non-regional members of the Bank, was announced by the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Bank, Mrs. Niale Kaba, Minister of National Planning of Côte d’Ivoire.

“The election took place on the final day of the 2020 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group, which was held virtually for the first time in the Bank’s history.

Adesina’s first term focused on the bold new agenda for the Bank Group based on five development priorities known as the High 5s: Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.

During Adesina’s first term, the Bank achieved impactful results on the lives of 335Million Africans, including: 18Million people with access to electricity; 141Million people benefiting from improved agricultural technologies for food security; 15Million people benefiting from access to finance from private investments; 101Million people provided with access to improved transport; and 60Million people gaining access to water and sanitation.

The Bank has maintained its AAA-ratings by all major global credit rating agencies for five years in a row. The Board of Governors of the Bank Group approved a 125% increase in the General Capital of the Bank, raising its capital from $93Billion to $208Billion, the largest in the history of the Bank.

The African Development Fund received a $7.6Billion pledge from donors, a 32% increase, for support to low-income countries and fragile states. The Bank was ranked the 4th most transparent institution globally by Publish What You Fund, bolstering its strong governance credentials for transparency and accountability.

Under Adesina’s leadership, the African Development Bank’s Board of Directors approved a $10Billion facility to support African countries to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bank also launched a $3Billion COVID-19 social bond on the global capital markets, the highest US dollar denominated social bond ever in world history, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, Luxembourg Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.
Adesina said, “I am deeply grateful for the collective trust, strong confidence and support of our shareholders for electing me for a second term as President. It is yet another call for selfless service to Africa and the African Development Bank, to which I will passionately devote myself.”

The African Development Bank is Africa’s premier development finance institution, comprising 54 regional and 27 non-regional member countries.

“The future beckons us for a more developed Africa and a much stronger and resilient African Development Bank Group. We will build on the strong foundations of success in the past five years, while further strengthening the institution, for greater effectiveness and impacts,” Adesina said.


SEPLAT: Avuru Leaves the Helm after 10 Years, Brown Takes Full Charge

Austin Avuru will be handing over the executive running of SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company Plc, to Roger Brown, on the last day of July 2020.

It is exactly the 10th year to the day the company, a dual listed (London and NSE) independent, received Ministerial consent for the purchase of Shell/TOTAL/ENI’s 45% stakes in Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 4, 38, and 41, in northwestern Niger Delta basin. That day is widely considered, in company lore, as the foundational date.

Austin Avuru will run a Family Office from August 1, 2020

“In these 10 years, Avuru led the development of a strong organization, the deployment of agile systems, processes and stakeholder relationships that allowed the organization to grow rapidly from a gross production of 22,700Barrels of Oil Equivalent Per Day (BOEPD) as at December 2010 to peaks of 111,368BOEPD gross production as at December 2018 through major drilling campaigns and major new Oil and Gas plants development”, a release by the company says.

Brown has his work cut out. The company has the $700Million Asa North Ohaji South (ANOH) natural gas development project to deliver and the newly merged 30,000BOPD Eland Oil and Gas Plc to bring into strategic fit with SEPLAT. He is taking charge in an unprecedentedly challenging season for the fossil fuel industry.

Brown is a 1992 graduate of the University of Dundee who started out as Financial Advisor at PwC, and grew into reckoning in investment circles in the 12 years he spent at Standard Bank. He joined SEPLAT in 2013 as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), has been on the board of directors for seven of the company’s 10 years.

Prior to joining SEPLAT, Brown was an advisor to the Company since 2010 while he was the Managing Director and head of EMEA Oil and Gas at Standard Bank Group. “During his time at the bank, he was instrumental in providing advice and deploying capital across the African continent in the Oil & Gas, Power & Infrastructure and the renewable energy sectors”, the company had said, while announcing Brown as MD designate in November 2019.

Brown brings to the CEO role, a deep knowledge of the Company in his 6 years as the CFO and a member of the Board. He has strong financial, commercial and M&A experience as well as proven people skills which will be an asset as the Company embarks on the next phase of its growth plan.

Avuru will remain on the bard of the company as a non-executive director. He will also be running a family office, AA Holdings. And he certainly will be very busy in the African investing landscape.


Malabu: ENI’s Descalzi Has Won the Politics, but Can He Escape Judicial Conviction?

By Toyin Akinosho

ENI is wrestling with the request by the Italian Public Prosecutor for conviction of the Company, its former and current CEOs and the managers involved in the Malabu case.

The company says the pursuit of convictions “are completely groundless”.

Mr. Descalzi has held the reins of the Italian E&P major for six years. His appointment, last May, for a third term of another three years by the President of Italy, is clear indication that he has won the politics of the most important challenge to his reputation.

Sergio Mattarella’s government is either convinced  that Desclazi is untainted by the Malabu case, involving alleged corrupt dealing with Nigerian officials in the course of the purchase of the Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL)245, or it would rather have a seasoned technocrat at the helm of its largest energy company to steer the country into the green economy, however smeared that technocrat is.

So, the political arm of the Italian government has signaled that it is comfortable with the 65-year-old, hard-working graduate of Physics from the University of Milan, but the country’s Judiciary has indicated, consistently, that it is not sure he is clean.

The fact that the state prosecutor is still pursuing “a conviction of the current CEO” says a lot about how it is convinced of wrongdoing.

ENI has insisted on its innocence, both in court and in public. “During its indictment, in the absence of any evidence or tangible reference to the contents of the trial investigation, the Public Prosecutor has told a story based on suggestions and deductions as already developed during the investigation. This narrative ignores both the witnesses and the files presented within the two years long and more than 40 hearings proceeding, that have decisively denied the prosecutorial hypothesis”.

Descalzi, who has been ENI’s CEO since May 2014, is on course of being the longest serving CEO of ENI in 30 years, if this case does not stop him.

He joined the company in 1981 as a young reservoir engineer. His career took off in 1994, when he was appointed Managing Director of the company’s subsidiary in Congo. Four years later he was Vice President & Managing Director of NAOC, a subsidiary of ENI in Nigeria. From 2000 to 2001 he held the position of Executive Vice President for Africa, Middle East and China. From 2002 to 2005 he was Executive Vice President for Italy, Africa, Middle East, covering also the role of member of the board of several Eni subsidiaries in the area. In 2005, he was appointed Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the Exploration & Production Division in Eni. From 2006 to 2014 he was President of Assomineraria and from 2008 to 2014 he was Chief Operating Officer in the Exploration & Production Division of ENI. From 2010 to 2014 he held the position of Chairman of ENI UK.

ENI’s press release earlier today, July 22, 2020 repeats the claim it has always made: “ENI and Shell paid a reasonable price for the license directly to the Nigerian Government, as contractually agreed and through transparent and linear means. Furthermore, Eni neither knew nor should have been aware of the possible destination of the money subsequently paid by the Nigerian government to Malabu. Moreover, the payment was made after an inquiry carried on by the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

“So there can therefore be no bribes from ENI in Nigeria, no existence of an ENI scandal. ENI recalls the decision of the Department of Justice and the US SEC, which decided to close its own investigations without taking any action against the company.

“The multiple internal investigations entrusted to international third parties by the company’s supervisory bodies have long since highlighted the absence of unlawful conduct. ENI trusts that the truth can finally be re-established following the defensive arguments that will be presented at the end of September, pending the Milan Court’s forthcoming verdict”.

 

 


Tribute: Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly

By Akinwumi A. Adesina

July 8 was all like every normal day, focused on work. I had no inkling there would be a storm, even though we have weathered many storms and floods in Abidjan in recent times. Like a jolting bolt of thunder, everything changed when my wife, Grace, called my attention to a news item that the Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly had died. I told her this couldn’t be true as he just came back and as far as I knew he was fine.

I quickly went to look at the news. I had not seen any official confirmation. I made frantic calls. Alas! Amadou Gon had died indeed. What a tragedy! This was a storm with massive lightening like no other. I couldn’t control my sadness. This man who had served his nation so loyally and with such dignity has passed on, while at work.

My thoughts went to his dear wife and family who have been thrown into sorrow, suddenly. My mind went to President Alassane Ouattara, to whom he was a beloved son, a loyal partner and confidant for some 30 years. My mind went to the government of Côte d’Ivoire, and the nation where I lived for 5 years in the 1990s and now for another 5 years so far as President of the African Development Bank. A beautiful nation whom Amadou Gon served dutifully, diligently, passionately and faithfully until his last breath.

Amadou Gon was an exemplary leader. He was my friend. I remember calling him while in Paris. I was concerned about him and although we had exchanged messages, I still was not satisfied. I wanted to hear his voice. We spoke. I was very happy he was well.

Amadou Gon deserved to be well. He was such a great champion of programs to accelerate the development of his country. He carried the vision of the President and the government wholeheartedly into every meeting, into every discussion. We met very often, and every time I was always amazed at how this very humble and serious minded public servant always put the development of his country first.

He worked very closely with the African Development Bank. He visited the Bank several times and took great interest in all matters that affect the Bank. He worked so hard with the Bank and several development partners to bring life to the social development policy of the government.

A humble man. A selfless man. A faithful man. A shining light. We met and spoke together on several forums around the world: on the plane, at airports, in high level forums and summits. My impression of him was the same: calm; wise; insightful. A man of few words, whose every word was always well honed for impact. He spoke always from his heart. An he had a heart of gold.

My heartfelt condolences go to his dear wife and family, and his aged mother. May God comfort them. My heartfelt condolences go to President Allassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. Mr. Président, you have lost your closest ally and confidant, who served you and his nation faithfully until his last breath, working for the good of Côte d’Ivoire. May God comfort you, the government and good people of Côte d’Ivoire.

My dear brother, Amadou Gon, thank you for your friendship. I was looking forward to us meeting again, in our usual warm brotherly embrace, to chat on your favorite topic: development of Côte d’Ivoire. But Alas! That is no longer to be. I guard emotions and memories of your life – your great life; and dedication and contributions to your nation. Thank you Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly. Thank you my dear friend and brother, Amadou Gon. Rest well. You will be sorely missed.

Adesina is Président, African Development Bank

 


Attar, Algeria’s New Energy Minister, Is back to Familiar Haunts

The Algerian geologist, Abdelmadjid Attar, former CEO of Sonatrach, is his country’s new Minister of Energy.

He takes over from Mohamed Arkab, who has been posted to the less flambouyant Ministry of Mining.

The appointments were part of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s partial reshuffle within the government.

Attar was Chief Executive of Sonatrach, Africa’s largest state hydrocarbon company, between 1997 and 1999.

He reached the position after moving up the ranks, taking jobs with increasing responsibilities, including that of director of the exploration division.

Aged 74, Attar obtained the diploma of geological engineering in exploration and attended several trainings in economics and management. He is also the author of several specialized publications.

Mr. Attar is a widely sought-after hydrocarbons consultant in North Africa. He has expressed a keen interest in drawing International Oil Companies back to invest massively in the country.

 


Eland’s Bosses Didn’t Make it to Seplat

Bayo Ayorinde, Chief Executive of Eland Oil and Gas at the time of the merger with Seplat, chose not to move into the new arrangement.

So did Pieter Van Der Groen, who was Eland’s Director of Business Development and former Chief Operating Officer.

Seplat purchased Aberdeen based company Eland Oil & Gas for $480Million, in a move which led to the delisting of the latter from the AIM segment of the London Stock Exchange.

In the new arrangement, Eland’s 30,000Barrels of Oil Per Day operations will remain outside Seplat; the company will be run as a subsidiary of Seplat.

Ayorinde joined Eland as Managing Director of Nigerian operations in 2015, after serving in Operations and Maintenance (O&M) services for Oriental Energy.

He has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Ife and completed a General Management Programme at Harvard University. He started his career with Ashland and rose to the level of onshore Production Manager before leaving for Texaco Overseas where he served as Head of HR in Warri, the hub city in the Western Niger Delta. Afterwards, he worked for Moni Pulo and Allied Energy as Executive Director and COO before joining Afren in 2009. He was the Managing Director at Afren from 2011 before going to Oriental Energy.

Ayorinde currently freelances as a consultant for Seplat, as he prepares his next move.

Van Der Groen did not return calls.

Van Der Groen trained at the Universities of Auckland and Aberdeen, started his career with Schlumberger as a geologist in London, moving on to become a wireline engineer in South East Asia and West Africa. After his field work, he trained as a log analyst with Schlumberger in London for multiple clients. worked at Schlumberger Oilfield UK PLC. He moved to Amerada Hess initially as a Petrophysicist in the international team, then to technical and management roles. He then worked briefly with Gulfsands Petroleum in Syria as Deputy General Manager. In Nigeria he spent four years as General Manager of an independent oil company where he oversaw onshore development and production in the Niger Delta.

 

 

 

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