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Yetunde Taiwo Takes Charge of Seplat’s ‘New Energy’ Portfolio, with the Gas Business

Yetunde Taiwo has been appointed the General Manager for New Energy at Seplat.

It is a position that comes with the company’s Gas Business, which she had managed before, so it’s an expanded portfolio.

Seplat is Africa’s largest homegrown E&P company.

Until January 2021, Taiwo was Chief Executive Officer of the ANOH Gas Processing Company (AGPC), the incorporated Joint Venture owned equally between Seplat and the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), which manages a $700Million midstream development that will monetise 300Million standard cubic feet produced every day from the Assa North /Ohaji South fields, straddling Shell operated Oil Mining Lease (OML) 21 and Seplat operated OML 53, onshore eastern Nigeria.

Taiwo took the AGPC job after three and half years as the first GM Gas (or Head of Gas Business as it is called), where she oversaw the development of one of the fastest growing domestic gas businesses in Nigeria.  On her watch, Seplat grew its operated gas production capacity from 300Million standard cubic feet per day (300MMscf/d) to 525MMscf/d.

Her new role of superintending the New Energy unit involves the increase of gas products to be monetised in the form of LPG, CNG and other gas derivatives, with opportunity framing in the renewable energy space. “A different set of skills is required to get into renewables”, Roger Brown the company’s CEO, told London South East last November, but he added that the New Energy unit, would provide guidance for the company.

“We are looking at LPG, Liquid Petroleum Gas on all of our gas plants and that can be utilised in the local market”, Mr. Brown told London South East. “We’re looking to Compress Natural gas (CNG) and, we are looking further down the value chain potentially into supplying smaller scale, probably not retail but certainly, smaller scale wholesale and customers. And then, through that, we look at what renewable energy means for Nigeria into the future and it’s got huge potential, particularly, in solar. We’ve got a lot of the sun all year round here. That will be a great renewable fuel source for the country. And what we really want to do is that we need to get the grid system up to a level we are having more of the gas going through it and then, the grid will rely on grids solar power rather than, off grid small scale. So that’s something we are looking at”. That statement, effectively framed Mrs. Taiwo’s key job responsibilities

Taiwo started her career as a reservoir engineer with Chevron Nigeria Limited in 1991, straight from National Youth Service. By the time she left the American major, for BG, in 2007, she was a planning advisor at the company’s Asset Management Division. She worked for BG as Economics manager before she showed up at Seplat in May 2011 as head of planning and economics. She joined NNPC, the state hydrocarbon company, in 2013, as General Manager, Planning at NAPIMS, the Investment arm. She was appointed head of Gas Business when she returned to Seplat in 2015.


Polarcus Struggles to Breathe

Polarcus, the marine seismic exploration firm, is in provisional liquidation.

It is not having an easy time of it.

The Oslo listed company has spoken out recently about addressing long term financing structure following financial default, and has talked of lenders withdrawing support of ongoing vessel operations, which Is the heart of its business.

“The Board has continued to have regard to the developing financial position of the Company, including the events of default that have occurred, the enforcement action which resulted in the Vessel-owning companies being transferred to a company controlled by the Lenders, and the Lenders confirming their withdrawal of continuing support of the Vessels’ operations”, Polarcus says in the latest release.

The Board “remains focused on pursuing a restructuring of its indebtedness and maintaining the underlying business as a going concern. Discussions between the Company and its creditors, including the Secured Creditors, remain ongoing”.

Polarcus says that in order to “effect a restructuring and to maximize value for all creditors, the Company filed an application with the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands seeking the appointment of Soft Touch Provisional Liquidators over the Company, with a specific mandate to work alongside the Board to pursue a restructuring in the interests of all creditors”

On 8 February 2021, David Griffin and Andrew Morrison of Suite 3212, 53 Market Street, Camana Bay, Grand Cayman KY1-1203, Cayman Islands and Lisa Rickelton of 200 Aldersgate St, Barbican, London EC1A 4HD were appointed as Joint Provisional Liquidators by an order of the Court.

The Joint Provisional Liquidators are specifically authorized by the Court to take all necessary steps to develop and propose a restructuring of the Company’s financial indebtedness with a view to making a compromise or arrangement with the Company’s creditors or any class thereof. The JPLs intend to discuss and consult with the Board wherever practicable throughout their tenure acting as agent for and on behalf of the Company, and to work alongside the Board in pursuing a restructuring and in ensuring that returns to creditors are maximized.

“The Board retains all powers of management conferred on it by the Order, subject to the appropriate and necessary oversight and monitoring of the Joint Provisional Liquidators as regards the exercise of such powers. The Board and the boards of directors of the Company’s subsidiary entities will continue, working alongside the JPLs as appropriate, to engage with the creditors, employees, other stakeholders and third parties in relation to the business and operations of the Polarcus group”.

 


Gbite Falade is Niger Delta’s New CEO

Niger Delta Exploration & Production PLC (NDEP Group) has announced the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Managing Director with effect from 10th February 2021.

Adegbite (’Gbite) Falade will join the company, bringing along some Twenty-five years of impactful and successful career across multiple sectors and continents in the energy Industry, according to a statement by Ladi Jadesinmi, NDEP’s Chairman of the board.

NDEP is a fully Integrated Energy Company which operates the 12,000Barrels of Oil Per Day (BOPD) Ogbele Marginal field, Nigeria’s first officially designated marginal field, in eastern Niger Delta basin. It runs an 11,000BOPD capacity three train modular crude oil refinery as well as a 100Million standard cubic feet per day gas processing plant, which delivers gas to the NLNG system.

“Gbite will succeed the pioneer Managing Director – Layi Fatona (Ph.D.)- who in an Interim position, had supported the running of the affairs of the company from October 2019”, Mr. Jadesinmi’s statement added.

“A First Class B.Sc. Electrical & Electronics Engineering (1995) degree graduate of the University of Ibadan, and a 200B MBA graduate of the Warwick Business School, Coventry, UK; Gbite has in the past Fourteen (14) Years, served in various Senior Executive positions in Oil, Gas, Power, and Services Sectors. With responsibilities for Engineering, Operations, Project Execution, Commercial, Client and Stakeholder Management, Strategy and Enterprise Development.

“He was previously the MD and Group COO at OilServ Group of companies based in Port Harcourt.  Prior to his last assignment, he served variously, as GM-Portfolio Development, Chief Operating Officer (COO), at Oando Energy Resources„ and Executive Director at Oando Gas and Power. He was also Petroleum Economics Discipline & Portfolio Lead for Shell EP, Africa Region”.

With the nimble and proven Technical management team, the chairman concludes: “a young but competent operating workforce and a matured Board of Directors, Gbite will be charged with leading the company, in a well charted and structured manner, to deliver the continuation and indeed enhancement of our historical steady growth”.

“We are confident that our position as Nigeria’s No-1fully Integrated Energy Company will remain, unchallenged and preserved for quite some time yet”.

 

 

 


Siemens appoints Dalia Shoukry as CFO in Egypt, its Biggest African Market

Siemens has appointed Dalia Shoukry as CFO in Egypt, effective immediately.

Shoukry has more than two decades of experience in financial roles covering the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

Egypt is Siemens’ largest market in Africa and one of its biggest in the world. Between 2016 and 2019, under contract by the government, the German engineering firm built three combined cycle gas to power plants with total capacity of 14,400MW in Egypt. In December 2020, Siemens was awarded, by the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), the contract to build the new national energy control centre, in the country’s New Administrative Capital (NAC), still under construction, in the middle of the desert, some 45 kilometres east of Cairo.

Siemens is currently in discussions, with the Egyptian Ministry of Power nd Renewable Energy,  for a 500MW capacity Wind Farm in the country, under a Build, Operate and Transfer system.

All of which means that Ms. Shoukry has her job cut out.

Prior to Siemens, she was the international finance director AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical giant.

She earned a degree in accounting from Ain Shams University. “We are very happy to welcome Dalia to our team in Egypt. Financing is a crucial component of our business, as it not only defines, manages, and oversees all budgets, but it also monitors the performance and ensures the financial health and stability of Siemens Egypt,” said Mostafa El-Bagoury, CEOof  Siemens Egypt.

Siemens has been active in Egypt ever since its founder, Werner von Siemens, laid a communications cable through the Red Sea in 1859 to link Suez and Aden..


Glencore Takes Carroll on Board

Glencore plc has appointed Cynthia Carroll, the British geologist and businesswoman, as an Independent Non-Executive Director of the Company with immediate effect.

Cynthia Carroll was the Chief Executive Officer of Anglo American, the world’s largest platinum producer, from 2007 to 2013. She was the first non-South African to hold the position. She was a non-executive director of the board of BP between 2007 and 2017.

Mrs. Carroll has over 30 years’ experience in the resources sector. She began her career as an exploration geologist at Amoco before joining Alcan. She held various executive roles there culminating in being CEO of the Primary Metal Group, Alcan’s core business

Cynthia Carroll is currently a non-executive director of Hitachi, Ltd (TYO: 6501), Baker Hughes Company (NYSE: BKR) and Pembina Pipeline Corporation (TSE: PPL). Previous non-executive appointments have included BP and the Sara Lee Corporation.

Glencore’s Chairman, Tony Hayward says the board is very pleased to welcome Cynthia Carroll, who has extensive knowledge of the resources industry as well as strong non-executive director experience.

 


Adom-Frimpong is new Chairman of Ghana’s Oil Revenue Watchdog

Ghana’s Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), the statutory body with oversight responsibility of the management and use of the country’s petroleum revenues, has elected Kwame Adom-Frimpong as its new chairman.

Mr. Adom-Frimpong, a professor of accounting who represents the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana (ICAG) on the PIAC, was elected in a unanimous decision by the Committee, drawn from 13 nominating institutions, according to a statement by the PIAC communications department. He will steer the affairs of PIAC as Chairman for one year, having taken over from Noble Wadzah, whose membership tenure on the Committee expired at the end of last year.

Adom-Frimpong is a graduate of the University of Wales, Bangor, UK (MBA) and the University of London. He obtained his Doctorate degree in Business Administration (DBA-Finance option) in 2001 from University for Professional Studies, Arcadia, USA and again had PhD in Economics Finance from the same University in 2004.

He is currently the Managing Director of Mainstream Reinsurance Company and a Partner of Adom Boafo & Associates, a firm of Chartered Accountants and Management Consultants. He worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers for five years as Audit Supervisor, five years with SSNIT as Head of Audit and ABC Brewery Company as Senior Cost and Management Accountant for four years.

Adom-Frimpong qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1990, and is the immediate past President of the Institute of Chartered of Accountants Ghana (ICAG). He is a Fellow of both the Chartered Institute of Bankers (FCIB) and the Chartered Insurance Institute of Ghana (FCIIG). He is also a Barrister-at-Law and a member of the Ghana Bar Association.

 


John Anis is M&P’s New Chairman of the Board

Maurel et Prom (M&P) has announced the appointment of John Anis as Chairman of the Board of Directors

He is the second Chairman since the company, originally a French owned independent, was bought over by Pertamina, the Indonesian state hydrocarbon company.

“He replaces Aussie Gautama, who wished to step down from his positions”, the company statement declares. Mr. Gautama spent four years as Chairman.

Anis’s daytime job is President Director at Pertamina Internasional EP. “He has more than 25 years of experience in the oil industry, in particular holding senior positions at TOTAL E&P Indonesie and the Indonesian group Pertamina”, the statement explains. “He will bring his vision and knowledge to support M & P’s development, working closely with Olivier de Langavant, Chief Executive Officer”.

M & P is a key natural gas producer in Tanzania. It is one of the largest shareholders in Seplat, the leading Nigerian independent and a sizeable producer of crude oil in Gabon.

 


Ghana Backs Down on Objection to Wissam Al Monthiry as Tullow’s Head

Ghanaian authorities have quietly dropped objections to having Wissam Al Monthiry as Managing Director of Tullow Oil Ghana.

The Government initially demonstrated fidelity to its local content requirements when it objected to British company’s appointment of a non-Ghanaian as the Company’s Chief Executive in Ghana, insisting that Tullow Oil’s action defeats the Government’s localisation agenda.

Tullow had initially picked Kweku Awotwi, a Ghanaian electrical engineer and businessman, in February 2020, after the retirement of Charles Darku, the first Ghanaian managing director who had served the company for five years

But in the middle of May 2020, after an extensive review of its operations in the country, which is also its heartland, Tullow appointed Wissam Al Monthiry to replace Awotwi, who was due for retirement on June 30, 2020.

“Government did not pursue this objection further as the new MD remained Tullow’s MD as at June 30, and into the second half of 2020”, says the country’s Public Interest Accountability Committee, in its latest report.


Shaky Before the Goal Post: Business Lessons from Austin Avuru’s Biography

By Toyin Akinosho

One evening in 2009, Austin Avuru, then CEO of Platform Petroleum, received a call from Nasir Ado Bayero during which the latter asked if Platform would be interested in purchasing Shell’s stake in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 38, in the western Niger Delta.

The offer, it turned out weeks later, was on condition that Platform was willing to go into partnership with Shebah Exploration and Production, then headed by Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka (ABC) Orjiako, a flambouyant orthopedic surgeon who was becoming widely known for his interest in oil and gas. Shell could divest its stakes in OMLs 4, 38 and 41 to the partnership.

“I had never really met Dr. A B C Orjiako until that time”, Avuru says in A Safe Pair of Hands, his just released authorized biography, written by Peju Akande and Toni Kan. “I knew him from a distance. I had known people who were working for him and I always saw him in the same mould as Kase Lawal, whom I had worked for: young men who were operating at a very high level in the O&G industry. Now, that itself was an issue because I had to treat him with absolute caution. I didn’t want to go into partnership with somebody that could “swallow” me. My thinking was, I don’t want wahala”.

Considering that Avuru had earned a reputation, already at the time,  as a public intellectual and strident critic of Nigeria’s policy choices, it is quite instructive to find that he harboured a sense of insecurity at the thought of meeting a potential business partner. It’s an enormously useful piece of information for Business students:  knowing that people they see as phenomenal also have their vulnerabilities.

“For a start”, Avuru recalls, “we had to name our new company, so I suggested that we joined Sepcol and Platform together to form SEPLAT”.

That Avuru led the company as CEO for 11 years is a well-documented part of Nigeria’s corporate history. But the story above is one of the many nuggets that make A Safe Pair of Hands, published in Lagos by RADI 8, such a riveting business thriller.

There’s one revealing anecdote after another startling insight.

A few of the passages that leapt at me from the pages:

The authors, Toni-Kan, left and Peju-Akande

Keep your eyes on the ball:

Shell didn’t have faith in Nigerian banks. They wanted Letters of Credit backed with cash guarantees. They preferred to deal with a global player.

ABC Orjiako suggested BNP Paribas, the French bank he usually did business with. Austin Avuru thought it was a good idea but the moment BNP Paribas asked for a $3Million transaction fee, Austin Avuru flew into a rage.

“For what?” he thundered. “How can they charge $3m for merely facilitating a deal? I won’t hear it.”

ABC Orjiako urged his new partner to be calm.

“Austin, I will pay the $3Million myself if need be but we need a bank with global connections, one that speaks the language of global finance and confident enough to get Shell back to the table.”

BNP Paribas turned out to be what was needed. Once the deal was signed they made a suggestion that changed the whole process and saw Seplat buy up OML 4, 38 and 41 without spending one kobo.

How did this happen?

BNP Paribas informed Seplat that a French company had just sold its interests in Congo and was awash with cash. Would Seplat like an introduction?

Maurel and Prom was interested in the deal put forward by Seplat and BNP Paribas and agreed to go with Seplat to London.

BNP Paribas was already earning its fee and Austin Avuru could see clearly now that the move to get a western bank was a smart one.

Deep knowledge will set you free from the tyranny of NNPC

After we had reached agreement with Maurel & Prom, the chairman of Maurel & Prom said he would like to visit Nigeria to see for himself the field his company was investing in.

At this point, Shell did not want their staff to know that they were on the verge of selling their assets. I remember when we made the trip to Sapele and Oben to inspect the facilities, Shell had to tell their staff that Platform Petroleum, which had a marginal field in there was merely inspecting their facility just in case we needed to send our production there.

After that trip, we were meant to take the chairman of Maurel & Prom to go and see the minister. Dr. Rilwanu Lukman was the adviser then. We had spoken to him before and he was very happy that we were doing that transaction. He said “oh, yeah, we will talk to NNPC and once NNPC gives the approval, we will approve it, that’s it.”

But in between giving us that promise and when we physically went to visit him, operatives inside NNPC and the DPR had given him an opinion that he should not allow us to proceed with the transaction.

In fact, some whiz kid head of legal at NAPIMS had given him an opinion which generally said that Shell had nothing to sell, that under the Petroleum Act, everything inside the ground belonged to the Federal Government.

But what he glossed over was the fact that all the operators who have a JV interest have an economic interest. That’s why they can list the value of their economic interest on the stock exchange. So, how can you then say that they have no value to sell?

‘Rags to Riches’ is not a cliché:

“I was very short before I went to the boarding house. When I got to the boarding house, the food they ate was beans and yam, rice and dodo and the occasional swallow. I came in October, then went home for mid-term in December. When I got to Abbi, I just sauntered into my compound. My aunt was visiting and she looked up and asked “who is this o?” I said I was the one. She peered close and exclaimed – “You are tall.” Not understanding what she was saying I went inside. Back then we had all these long mirrors at home. I stood in front of the mirror and looked and saw that it was true. I had sprung up. If I hadn’t go to that boarding school, I would have died a short man. What had happened was simple; I had started eating balanced diet.”

From the backwaters of the Niger Delta, in Nigeria’s oil rich region, to one of Africa’s most influential boardrooms, Austin Avuru’s story of becoming reads like a dream. Despite its being a master class work on the audacity of entrepreneurial undertaking, the 220 page story is an old fashioned, feel good tale. And that’s because it has benefitted from careful research and painstaking delivery by a pair of writers with a keen eye for the diversity of human relationships: our foibles, triumphs, generosity, candor, nepotism.

This book is a must read for anyone who believes in potential.

 


NNPC Poaches an EITI Insider to Manage its EITI Compliance

Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation NNPC has poached a manager from inside the EITI to run its EITI Implementation Programme.
EITI is Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, an international organization that advocates for  global standard for the good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources.

Murjanatu Ibrahim Gamawa is   the EITI Country Manager in charge of coordinating implementation of EITI standards across Anglophone Africa. She also reviews and analyses EITI Reports, Annual Progress Reports, work plans, Terms of Reference and other country documents, and participates in the International Secretariat’s work on assessment of progress with meeting the EITI’s validation requirements.

Gamawa will help the state hydrocarbon company to drive speedy attainment of the EITI requirements across its operations. The NNPC says that her appointment, which will take effect from January 2021, is a practical step towards entrenching the culture of transparency in the Corporation.

Gamawa’s previous experience includes working for Nigeria EITI as a petroleum analyst and subsequently as the oil and gas team leader. Gamawa holds a B.Sc. in Geology from the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, an M.Sc. in Petroleum Geoscience from the Imperial College London and an MBA in Energy Management with distinction from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Her professional interests are related to natural resource management and public financial management.

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