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Nuhu Habib Returns to “DPR”

Nuhu Habib, special adviser on Natural Resources to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, has been appointed an executive commissioner at the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).

He will be executive commissioner in charge of development and production, a crucial job, considering that the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s main producing basin, is essentially a mature province, with more development and production than exploration.

The appointment is a pointer to how far Habib has travelled in a short time, in Buhari’s second term. In mid–2020, he was only a manager, a position below assistant director, which was the first ‘top tier’ level, in the organogram of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the forerunner of Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Commission.

By the end of 2020, he had been seconded to the state house as President Buhari’s special adviser on Natural Resources, a posting which was pivotal in the administration of the country’s Marginal Field Bid Round. When the President announced the implementation steering committee to oversee roll out of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in August 2021, he was named a member.

A 1998 graduate of Applied Geology from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Habib holds a Master’s degree in Petroleum Geosciences from Imperial College London and a PhD in Engineering from Seoul University, according to his LinkedIn Page.


I Spurned an Offer from Shell…Joined the National Oil Company

Diran Fawibe (Ph.D) regales our reporter, PAUL KELECHI, with anecdotal accounts around the founding of the NNPC, as well as creation stories of the Nigerian oil industry…

 The Nigerian petroleum economist, Diran Fawibe, runs an oil service engineering firm (International Energy Services Limited), out of Lagos, which is so widely acknowledged it consistently gets some of the top engineering jobs in the top bracket of oilfield development projects.

It was the reason I went to see him.

I wanted to find out who got what, and why, in the ongoing contracting process for the Bonga South Aparo development, the country’s largest, in-development, oilfield project.

But the discussion veered into Dr. Fawibe’s career trajectory.

He is known as a regular commentator on the industry’s challenges; a source for the country’s leading energy publications.

I knew he worked for (the state hydrocarbon company) NNPC during what is now described as the corporation’s golden era. But how did it happen?

He started, he tells me, from postgraduate work in the academia, after he finished his economics degree at the University of Ibadan (UI) and was in the process of doing his course work for a Ph.D in Petroleum Economics, when he got a job with the Central Bank, then headquartered in Lagos.

But while he was studying in UI, he had done an internship with Shell.

He remembers that the “Shell people had said I should come and work for them and I had said yes at the time”. But he was now at the Central Bank.

“Shell checked me out with Aboyade (the late renowned economics professor)  because he was the one who arranged my internship with Shell and he said he didn’t know where I was.

“Then one day a gentleman who was the fields and media relations person for Shell saw me during lunch break in Marina and told me that they had been looking for me. I told him that I was with the Central Bank and he asked me to

follow him. He took me to the Managing Director in Shell, a white guy and told him I was the fellow ‘who came here for his internship for Masters’. He said I promised to come and work for them and asked why I didn’t come back. I said I just decided to go to the Central Bank and he asked how much they were paying me and I said £1,740. He asked if I was ready to come and work for them and said they were going to give me £2,000 which was a substantial increase to what I was earning at the Central Bank but I said No Sir. The white man chipped in that they could pay me £2,400 but I still said no I didn’t want to work for them and he asked why. I said I had heard it said that if you worked in a private company, you must know how to run around people, you must know how to bootlick and also, there is no job security and most importantly, whatever your eyes see, your mouth must not talk about it.

And I told him that whatever my eyes saw, my mouth might talk about it and for that reason, I wanted to work in a government establishment where as a Nigerian, I would feel free to say whatever I felt about a situation. I should feel free to act in one way or the other. They were then laughing and said I was talking as an inexperienced young man and asked where I got all those stories from.

The man then told me that when I came for the internship, I was profiled and that was what they did for most people when they came to work in their company, they profiled the person to know his potential and know how far he could go on the job. That also helped them to develop a training programme that would help that person follow that career path. From my profile, he said, they could see that I had a high potential and they would help develop me and offered to increase that offer of £2,400 to £2,600 and said they wanted to give me something I couldn’t refuse. But, I said, thank you very much sir for your offer but no thanks; I want to stay in Central Bank and that was how I left.

I went back to my work but along the line, the opportunity of Nigerian National Oil Company (NNOC) came and I joined NNOC. We had high expectations when we were in NNOC.

AOGR: So, you were in the NNOC, that means you were one of the founding staff?

I was in NNOC in 1972 and I was one of the founding staff. Five years before NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) was created. They asked a few of us to resume at 7, Kofo Abayomi on Victoria Island, (where the Lagos office of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission is currently located), because they were making arrangements for our office in Marina, (at the time the main business hub of the country). But there was not enough space there for us because they recruited some other people. So, people like Funso (former NNPC Managing Director) Kupolokun and a couple of them were sent on training abroad but I was recruited at a higher level because I had a masters’ degree.

There were a couple of other people that were too. (Jim) Orife had come from Shell and there were some who were working in Gulf Oil.

We then moved to UBA building in Broad Street; UBA was opposite Kingsway (the biggest shopping complex in the country at the time). The aspect that I am going to is that, at that time, Kingsway was next to us and you could walk on Broad Street. Anytime we had lunch break, we would just take a stroll. Either we walk to Kingsway for lunch or we went to Leventis or John Holt. Then there was one restaurant that was very close to Bagatele.

They told us to be diligent in our work because the way they were seeing NNOC, it would become a major player in the Nigerian economy: because it would be at the heart of government business in the oil and gas industry. They said, for those of us who worked there, it would open doors for us in that, if we wanted land as an example, and we went to the ministry and they asked you where you worked and you mentioned NNOC, you could be sure that you would get it. We had high dreams and we expected NNOC to do very well but as it often happens, you can see where we are. I brought in the Condition of Service CoS from the Central Bank while some other people brought theirs from Shell and so on and we started preparing the CoS because what we got was a single line of appointment: ‘Your salary will be £1,740 a year’, because we hadn’t come into the naira at that time and it was a lot of money. When I was in the Central Bank, I was getting £1,400.

But things started going awry in 1973, during Udoji’s classification of companies. Udoji classified corporations and government companies and he put NEPA (Nigerian Electric Power Authority) as Category A corporation and he put NNOC as Category B and the salary of category B was lower than that of Category A and we were wondering why, because we couldn’t reconcile what they were doing in NEPA and what we were doing at the NNOC which was a high-profile corporation. Why were they doing this?

At a point, myself and Michael Olorunfemi wanted to emigrate to Canada when we were not so happy with what was going on but people were talking to us and saying we should be patient and that things would work out themselves.

Then disillusionment set in and at that time, I didn’t know what to do. Some people asked if I wanted to come to the ministry, but I said no, I didn’t want to be a civil servant per se. That was when I met Chief (Sunday) Awoniyi.

Chiefs Feyide and (Phillip) Asiodu actually were the ones who recruited me into NNOC. Chief Feyide was Chief Petroleum Officer, later designated Director of Petroleum Resources while Asiodu was the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum, but we used to call it Mines and Power. In 1975, when there was a change of government and Asiodu was removed as permanent secretary, Awoniyi became the permanent secretary. S.D. Awonyi was a fantastic person who knew how to manage people, how to encourage people. If Awoniyi asked you to carry out a task, he would praise you to the highest heavens. If you are good at what you do, he would encourage you and push you forward. I had a luck in that when (General) Murtala took over power as Head of State and they removed Asiodu, they wanted someone to brief them about the oil industry.

Shettima Ali Monguno, who was the commissioner I worked with when (the previous head of state) Gowon was in charge, recommended me. They sent a police man and a pilot vehicle to fetch me.

Murtala was sitting, Obasanjo was there, (he was the Chief of Army Staff) and they had Alison Ayida as the secretary to the government and then Awoniyi. Awoniyi was the permanent secretary, Internal Affairs but he was posted to defence to take over from Damshida. He had not taken over when the coup happened and they then said he was not going to go to defence but petroleum.

I met the four of them and they asked me several questions and at the end of the day, they said Awoniyi would be my boss and that I should be reporting to him.

Awoniyi took me to his office, found out about me and told me about himself. We hit it off right there and then. He was very good with people so much so that you can slave for him without knowing that you are actually slaving for him. So, the question of wanting to go anywhere else did not arise although a few months later, he gave me double promotion to compensate for all those times.

Initially, NNOC was supposed to engage in various commercial activities but that did not happen and when Obasanjo came on and succeeded Murtala, it was fair that they wanted to harness the resources in NNOC and the ministry because everything had to go through the ministry and the people in ministry were the ones who went to the government directly.

Anything that NNOC wished to do had to go through the ministry.

Awoniyi in his wisdom and in talking to Marinho, (who was then the Managing Director of NNOC), they felt it would be better to pull the resources of the two organizations to form the (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) NNPC and this would help remove the competition and help develop human capacity to help fulfil government aspirations for the petroleum industry. On that basis, they would be able to turn NNPC to a very virile organization and it was at that point that the government brought in Muhammadu Buhari as commissioner. He was then the military governor of the north-east. It was under him that the NNPC was created. Well, we were trying to develop it as fast as we could and there were lots of training for personnel so that they could take charge in various areas but as you may know, government will come up  with one thing today but tomorrow, another. When you don’t have a focused set of leadership and stakeholders, obviously, what is now happening in NNPC will be happening. It then became, “anything goes” and that is the story of NNPC.

AOGR: By now you had gotten your doctorate degree?

Dr. Fawibe: No, in fact, I didn’t get my doctorate until 1981 and I finished it at the end of 1983. I wanted to go to the University of Southern California (USC). But then we were doing a lot of studies in OPEC (to which I had been transferred) and I represented the steering committee of the study and so on. I got used to one of the professors (from the USC) who was also a consultant and he wanted me to do Ph.D with them. and as a matter of fact, I wanted to spend only three (3) years working before going for my Ph.D. but I got stuck but he said anytime I wanted to do that, I should come over and so I had that option. The second option was to go to Oxford University because I was a member of Oxford Policy Club.

Then I ran into a friend who was a year ahead of me at the University of Ibadan. We were chatting and I told him that I might be coming to UI to get my transcript because I wanted to apply for my Ph.D. at Oxford but he told me that I had already done a course work in UI. Why would I need to go and spend time in Oxford when the course work I did in UI qualified me for my Ph.D. and all I needed was to write my thesis and that was it.

I asked if that was so and he said he was going to check because at that time, he was Head of Department and he checked and called me the following week and told me that, except I have money and have time to waste, otherwise, this coursework that I had done qualified me for my Ph.D. and a simple case of me writing my thesis and getting my doctorate. That was how I jettisoned the idea of going abroad. I went there and I registered.

I then wrote the NNPC management saying I wanted to take a study leave and they said if I was going to take a study leave and they have to pay, I would have to do two weeks in and two weeks out if it is in Nigeria and they will sponsor me, pay for everything and I will still be collecting my salary and that was the deal I struck with them.

It was also good for me because I took the opportunity to go to OPEC and I spent 3 months in OPEC doing my thesis and my model. Since they already knew me, they assigned one guy to me to work with me.

Computer at that time was not as it is these days; it was big frames that you needed to feed punch cards into and so, they assigned one programmer to work with me and we worked day and night for 3 months. It was a crazy thing; we would start work at 9am and I would go back to the hotel at about 6pm to eat and sleep. At 9pm I would go back to the secretariat and we would work throughout the night. I would come back at about 6:30am or 7am, all in a bid to write my thesis. I could sleep for about an hour or 2, wash up and then go back. This was what I did for three months. I also went to Oxford and the United States to collect materials and so on.

What was your thesis on?

Dr. Fawibe: It was Nigeria’s crude oil in the world market, a case study of public policy. I was looking at a model for marketing Nigeria oil in the world market. You know, when you sell one particular crude oil, you are also selling other crude oil.

AOGR: As a blend?

Dr. Fawibe: Yes as a blend and the opportunity that I had was that I represented Nigeria in the economic commission board and also in the committee of experts where we did what we called relative values. We analyzed all crudes being traded by OPEC and also other crudes coming from Norway and the UK and US because if you are selling your own crude, you must know the relationship it has with other crudes in terms of chemical values. When you take the crude oil ASSAY which is the characteristics of the crude or its chemistry, you will look at your crude in relation to that from Saudi Arabia, Algeria and classify them as either light crude, heavy crude or medium grade crude and so on.

The price of your crude will reflect in its quality and this is not just the simple case of API gravity; which is a general indicative index. You say that the Nigerian crude in 34 degree API and Saudi Light is 34 degree API, but the Sulphur content of Nigerian crude is about 0.3 while that of Saudi crude is about 1.8. These are chemical properties and there are other properties that may make your crude to be better or worse than other crude for instance.

I was looking at that model and also looking at the transportation as well. When you take some markets as a case, Nigeria sells its crude to Rotterdam or to New York or to the Caribbean or the Gulf Coast and so on. But the middle east is closer to those areas. Now, Nigeria will want to sell its crude to Asian markets such as India, China and so, on which is a faraway place and the middle east is closer to those places. How do you now normalize the transportation cost, what are the differentials? Because we take Saudi crude as a marker crude, everybody will calculate your relative quality advantages over Saudi crude which is the marker and that is what OPEC countries do with respect to their individual crudes which are traded in the market and also relate it to other crudes which are non-OPEC crudes. This was what I was trying to evaluate and it was a very good thing. I finished my thesis in 20 months and I was done.

Angola to Take Over Presidency of African Petroleum Producers’ Organization

The African Petroleum Producers’ Organization (APPO) has elected Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, Minister of Petroleum Resources of Angola, as President for the year 2022

Samou Seidou Adambi, Minister of Water and Mines of Benin, will be the Vice President and Celestin Enanto, Executive Board Member for Benin, Chairman.

The elections were unanimously made at the 41st Ministerial Session of the APPO Council of Ministers.

The next Ordinary Session of the Ministerial Council will be held in Angola during the last quarter of 2022 at a date to be communicated by the host country.

The 41st Ministerial Session “resolved to continue the exploitation of its Member Countries’ huge oil and gas resources for the economic emancipation of its people while also exploring the use of renewable energies”, according to a closing statement released by the APPO secretariat.

Top on the agenda of the Ministerial discussions was the Future of the Oil and Gas industry in Africa in the light of the Global pursuit of Energy Transition, with ministers acknowledging the reality of climate change and expressing their support for any human efforts aimed at tackling the dangers of climate change.

“The Session noted that the current approach to energy transition is unilateral imposition where the developed countries that have for over one hundred years used fossil fuels to grow their economies and societies and have all along been aware of the dangers of fossil fuel emissions, are now telling the world that fossil fuels are dangerous to mankind and that all should abandon it”, the statement adds.

The Ministers noted that this aggressive drive for Energy Transition is coming at a time that African economies are poised to launch themselves into industrialization, which requires a lot of energy, whereas the economies of the developed countries now require less energy because of their transformation from manufacturing to knowledge production and artificial intelligence.

The Ministers identified the imminent challenges that the oil and gas industry will face in Africa as international financiers withdraw funding for the industry, and oil and gas research institutions in the developed countries that have always led the technological development are closing their petroleum faculties.




Tony Attah Leaves Shell Group in January 2022

Tony Attah, the immediate past Managing Director of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG Ltd), is retiring from Shell in January 2022, after over 30 years.

Attah, currently Special Advisor to Shell’s Executive Vice President LNG West, “will complete his assignment on 31 January 2022 and retire from the group service thereafter”, a Shell internal memo says.

Attah was the MD of the NLNG Ltd from September 2016 to July 2021. By Christmas of 2019, he had led the company to a Final Investment Decision (FID) on the $10 Billion, Seventh LNG Plant (Train) in the NLNG facility, a project which is planned to produce Eight Million Tonnes Per Annum (8MMTPA) of LNG. The factory, when completed in 2025, will increase NLNG’s current capacity by 35% to 30MMTPA.

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 the Train 7 project off the ground, with some traction, but not visible success.

The congratulatory memo, signed by Wael Sawan, Shell’s Director of Integrated Gas, Renewables and Energy Solutions and De La Rey Venter, the Group’s Executive Vice President, Integrated Gas Ventures, praised Attah for leading a “relentless focus on Safety Leadership underpinned by care and passion for people and business, culminating in “Realigning to Win” (RIW) programme, which has repositioned NLNG as a top quartile LNG company globally”. The memo also acknowledged that Attah “has been most instrumental in national advocacy for domestic and export gas development (Decade of Gas Agenda), while setting the company on a path to growth with the recent achievement of the Train 7 FID and signing of the EPC contract to increase the company capacity by 35%”.

Tony Attah joined Shell in 1991 and has held a number of technical roles in operations, major projects, commercials, and led various multi-disciplinary teams across Europe, Russia, and Africa. He was, prior to secondment to NLNG as MD, THE Managing Director and Board Chairman of Shell Nigeria E&P Company (SNEPCo), Vice President HSE and Corporate Affairs, and Vice President Human Resources (HR) in Shell E&P Africa.

Sola Adebawo Retires from Chevron, Takes New Job at Heritage Energy

Sola Adebawo has retired as Manager, Communications at Chevron Nigeria, and taken a new job at an independent E& P company. 

He is the new General Manager – Government, Joint Venture, and External Relations at Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited (HEOSL), a subsidiary of Heritage Oil Limited (a Jersey-headquartered international oil and gas company) and operator of the Joint Venture between Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (a subsidiary of NNPC) and Shoreline Natural Resources Limited (SNRL) in Oil Mining Lease (OML)30. Heritage Oil also has equity in SNRL.

“In his role, Mr. Adebawo is responsible for managing the relationship with all HEOSL’s external stakeholders”, HEOSL says in a press release.

Adebawo was, for the last 10 years, Chevron Nigeria’s Manager for Corporate communications, a pivotal job in the company’s large Public Affairs division. He joined the American oil giant in 1996 and became Manager for Corporate Communications in December 2011.

“Mr. Adebawo is a business leader with profound public affairs and reputation management expertise as well as twenty-five years’ oil and gas industry experience in stakeholder management, public relations, issues/crisis management, brand management, strategic communication, corporate social responsibility, and business strategy”, the release states.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria; a Master’s degree in Media and Communication from the Pan Atlantic University, Lagos Nigeria, and is currently a doctoral researcher focused on strategic communication and stakeholder management.  

Fieldstone Appoints Karèn Breytenbach as Senior Expert in Energy

Karèn Breytenbach has been appointed by Fieldstone as Senior Expert in Energy and PPP Systems.

The appointment is “a most important personnel addition”, the energy and infrastructure focused investment bank says in a statement “which places Fieldstone in a position to further support the energy and infrastructure aspirations of South Africa”.

“We have worked with Karèn on a number of projects over the last year and it is clear that our collaboration is now more important than ever, as South Africa needs to  position itself to achieve a just energy transition while standing as an attractive destination for much needed foreign investment”, said Fieldstone CEO Jason Harlan. “The challenge is to move from singular, limited transactional thinking to formulate broader initiatives of scale – an ethos and focus that Karèn embodies.”

As head of South Africa’s influential Independent Power Producer (IPP) Office, at the Department of Energy, from 2011-2019, Breytenbach ran and shaped one of the world’s most successful  renewable energy procurement programmes. As a result of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), under Breytenbach’s watch, “South Africa has achieved more investment via Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in four years than in the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa over the past two decades”, according to a 2017 report by the Graduate School o Business at the University of Cape Town.

“Karèn has been involved in energy and private investment in public projects over the last quarter century”, the press release by Fieldstone adds.






Tullow Appoints Former MTN CEO as Chairman of its Board

Irish explorer Tullow Oil plc has dived deep into Africa to appoint the next chairman of its board. It has picked the South African business executive Phuthuma Nhleko as an independent non-executive director and chairman-designate. Nhleko joins the Board as a non-executive director on 25 October 2021 and will take over as chairman of Tullow from Dorothy Thompson, following a “suitable” handover period and after Ms. Thomson steps down as Chair and retires from the Board by the year end.

Tullow Oil’s press release sounds overly enthusiastic about the new appointment. The incoming chairman has a good handle on the African sensibility. And most of Tullow’s operations are in Africa. He also has a feel for oil and gas, having been a director of BP.

“Phuthuma brings extensive emerging markets experience to Tullow having worked successfully across Africa over the past three decades”, the company says. “Phuthuma was Chief Executive of MTN Group, the leading pan-African telecommunications company, from 2002 to 2011. During his time with MTN, the Group grew rapidly in Africa and the Middle East, gaining over 185 million subscribers to become one of the largest listed companies in Africa. In 2013, Phuthuma returned to MTN as a non-executive Director and Chairman until 2019. This included a period as Executive Chairman from 2015 to 2017. He remained part of the international advisory board for the business until August 2021”.

After stepping down as Chief Executive of MTN in 2011, Nhleko was a non-executive Director at BP plc (2011-16) and Anglo-American plc (2011-15). He also served previously on the Boards of Nedbank and Old Mutual in South Africa.

Tullow Oil’s chairman designate is currently chairman of Phembani Group, an investment group which he founded in 1994, and is Chairman-designate of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Ltd. Phuthuma is also a non-executive Director of South African downstream energy company, Engen Petroleum, and a non-executive Director of IHS Towers, the NYSE-listed Emerging Markets Telecom Infrastructure Provider.

Phuthuma holds a BSc in Civil Engineering from Ohio State University and an MBA from Atlanta University.



Knight, Bowe Join Africa Oil Corp’s Executive Management

By Bunmi Christiana Aduloju

Craig Knight and Amy Bowe have been appointed Africa Oil Corp’s Vice Presidents for Production and ESG respectively.

Mr. Knight, a Petroleum Engineer with over 16 years of experience in field appraisal, development, reservoir management, brownfield production optimization, and well interventions, will be based in Africa Oil’s London office.

For 2020, Africa Oil Corp. reported a working interest production of 28,700 Barrels of Oil Equivalent Per Day (BOEPD), entirely in Nigeria. The output is from what used to be Petrobras’ producing assets in the country, which the company purchased in January 2020. The company holds 25% of the Kenya’s South Lokichar basin oilfield development as well as exploratory tracts in Namibia and South Africa. 

Craig Knight

Ms. Bowe, who has almost 20 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, with a focus on ESG and climate risk and strategy specifically, will work from the company headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Prior to joining Africa Oil, Knight held roles in Asset Management, Subsurface Team Leadership, and Production, Reservoir, and Completion Engineering. Most recently, he was the Production Director at Spirit Energy where he was responsible for the Company’s production management, hydrocarbon accounting, and establishing the company’s carbon emissions reporting processes, Africa Oil Corp. says in a release. “He has worked on both onshore and offshore assets across Australia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, and the UK”. 

Bowe joins Africa Oil from Wood Mackenzie, where she held various positions within the Upstream Consulting team and most recently served as Head of Carbon Research. In that capacity, she launched Wood Mackenzie’s suite of Emissions Benchmarking Tools, which provide transparency into emissions performance and risks associated with Oil & Gas and Metals & Mining operations down to the asset level. Prior to Wood Mackenzie, Ms. Bowe served as an Environmental Affairs Advisor at Hess Corp. and helped to develop the company’s inaugural climate change strategy as a member of the Corporate Strategy team.

Seplat: Roger Brown Overhauls the Leadership, Runs with Four Managing Directors

Roger Brown, Seplat Energy’s Chief Executive Officer, has overhauled the executive leadership of the company.

In the one year since he took over the reins of Africa’s largest homegrown E&P company, Brown has devolved his executive powers extensively, converting the General Managers of the regional assets, which form the company’s base business, into Managing Directors, creating an Energy Unit for new business and bolstering the Public Affairs department as a directorate.

In the event, Ayodele Olatunde is promoted from General Manager East, to Managing Director Seplat East Onshore Limited, fully overseeing the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 53 (which hosts the Ohaji South field, the company’s portion of the straddling Assa North /Ohaji South ((ANOH) field, as well as Seplat’s interest in OML 55, which is operated by Belemaoil.

Afolabi Folorunso, who was General Manager West, is now Managing Director Seplat West Ltd, with a portfolio that includes OMLs 4, 38 and 41, the acreages upon which the company was created in 2010. Seplat West also includes Seplat’s 40% interest in Pillar Oil operated Umuseti field, in Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 283.

Chima Njoku and Okechukwu Mba have been Managing Directors of subsidiary companies before the new organizational structure. Njoku had been MD/CEO, since March 2020, of Elcrest Exploration & Production, a company which Seplat acquired about two years ago. Elcrest holds 45% in OML 40 and is the technical and financing partner of the Ubima marginal field in OML 17. Last February, Mba took over as managing director of the ANOH Gas Processing Company (AGPC) from Yetunde Taiwo, who was moved over to set up a new business unit.

Company spokesperson Chioma Nwachuku transforms from General Manager, Public Affairs, to Director of External Affairs and Sustainability, which in effect means that she is running a directorate.

Yetunde Taiwo, who was appointed General Manager New Energy last February, is now Director of New Energy.

Eleanor Adaralegbe, who was General Manager Finance, is now Vice President Finance.

An entirely new hire is Alasdair Mackenzie, as Director, Strategy & Business Development.

All of these officers, though, are on the second level of the organogram, below a four man committee which includes Roger Brown himself as CEO, Emeka Onwuka as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Effiong Okon, Operations Director and Gary Thomson, Technical Director. Brown, Onwuka and Okon  are all on the company’s board, as executive directors.

Mackenzie joined Seplat Energy from Tullow Oil, where he was Group Head of Commercial, Planning and Tax. But it was his tenure as Tullow’s Commercial & M&A Manager which Mr. Brown found most fitting to his strategy. Mackenzie, who operates out of London, is in charge of the new ventues that Seplat is exploring the most ambitious of which is discussion to buy into four acreages being divested by an oil major

Seplat West’s Managing Director and Seplat East’s Managing Director, as well as Director Energy, are pivotal to the company’s new way of being. They are all running strategic business units, which are set up for transparent profit or loss accountabilities..

All of these leaders have had positions of increasing responsibility over the last 10 years.

Olatunde had been Seplat’s GM, Eastern Assets Operations since 2014, when he joined the company from Conoil Producing, where he was GM, Exploration & Production, a position he took after he was promoted from Group Head, Geosciences. Folorunso was promoted from Principal Production Technologist in May 2014 and he has moved up rapidly, becoming Production Operations Manager in May 2016, and GM Corporate Prod. Operations a month after, after which he was made GM Western Asset-1 in January 2020, taking over from Njoku, who become the first Seplat appointed CEO of Elcrest after the acquisition.

But it is through Ms. Taiwo’s portfolio that Seplat Energy wants to test the future. 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, all utilisable  in the local market.  Taiwo worked for BG as Economics manager after 15 years as reservoir engineer, then planning advisor at Chevron, 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 and then promoted MD, AGPC.


Rabilloud is TOTAL’s New Man in Mozambique

TOTALEnergies has picked a new manager to lead its construction efforts in Mozambique after a string of victories by government and allied forces have dislodged Islamic insurgents from the vicinity of the gas project.

Maxime Rabilloud, General Counsel TOTALEnergies E&P, at the company’s headquarters in Paris, is the new Country Chair in Mozambique. 

The French major is keen on developing the planned 13MillionMetric Tonne Per Year LNG project on the Afungi Peninsula, in the East African country’s northeasternmost province of Cabo Delgado, despite the history of resurgent violent attacks by Islamic jihadists.

TOTALEnergies has been encouraged by the success of the combined Mozambican and Rwandan troops against the insurgents that it is considering an earlier scheduled to return to construction site than the mid-2022 date that is widely publicized by service companies like Saipem.

Maxime Rabilloud has 22 years of experience working for TOTALEnergies, the last 12 of which he spent in Lusophone countries, starting in Angola as general counsel and then managing the company’s business in Brazil at various levels of responsibility, including leading the subsidiary from 2015 to 2018. Since then, he has been general counsel for TOTALEnergies E&P in Paris.

TOTALEnergies declared the force majeure on the LNG Mozambique project on April 26, 2021, citing security reasons. The operator and its contractors evacuated the site.

Since then, however, the Mozambican government has boosted security by engaging the Rwandan army as well as the entire Southern Africa Development Commission, initiatives which have led to the deployment of military troops from South Africa, Botswana, Angola, and Malawi.

Mozambican and Rwandan troops have, in particular, combined to take back large swaths of territory from the rebels, the biggest victory being the retaking of Mocimboa da Praia district, whose port is key to transporting supplies to other parts of Cabo Delgado province, including the liquified natural gas project.

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