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Olajumoke Ajayi is the CEO of Ingentia Energies, Operator of Egbolom Field

The Nigerian geoscientist Olajumoke Ajayi has been named the Chief Executive Officer of Ingentia Energies, a newly formed independent production company.

She was, until September 2022, the Managing Director of Asharami Energy, the upstream arm of Sahara Group, an energy conglomerate that claims operations in over 38 countries.

Ingentia Energies is the consortium of five companies that hold equities in Egbolom field, one of the 57 assets offered in the Nigerian Marginal field bid round 2020-2022. Ingentia is, effectively, the holder of Petroleum Prospecting Licence PPL 202.

Olajumoke led Asharami Energy’s operations across Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast. She is one of a handful of female managing directors, especially with technical background, running E&P companies that actively operate assets in the Nigerian upstream industry.

Ajayi holds a Bachelor’s and a Master of Science degree in Applied Geophysics and started her career with Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (ExxonMobil). She also worked in Degeconek Consulting, Peak Petroleum Limited, and Centrica Resources Nig. Ltd (British Gas).

Having gathered technical experience in 2D/3D Seismic acquisition & processing, land and onshore seismic data interpretation, drilling, and production, Olajumoke certainly has a full grasp of the entire industry operations”, according to a citation by the Energy Council, an energy investment networking platform. She has shown a tremendous capacity for leadership, spearheading the exploration team that successfully drilled and delivered Asharami Energy’s first three wells”, the citation notes.

A member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and a past Vice President of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), her primary job is to take the Egbolom field to first oil as early as it is technically possible.

Guido Brusco Is ENI’s New Director General, Natural Resources

Guido Brusco has been nominated Director General, Natural Resourcesat ENI, the Italian oil major.

The appointment is effective from February 7, 2022.

Brusco takes over from Alessandro Puliti, who leaves the company.

Guido Brusco has been ENI’s Upstream Director since 2020. He joined the company in 1997, holding positions of increasing responsibility in the areas of production and operations, with experiences in Italy, Egypt, Kazakhstan and Angola. Prior to his current role he was in charge of Eni’s activities in Sub-Saharan Africa.



Fatona’s Boots? “No, I Came with My Own Shoes”-Falade, NDEP’s CEO

By Akpelu Paul Kelechi

Gbite Falade, Chief Executive of Niger Delta Exploration & Production (NDEP), has considered the possibility of a divine hand guiding his choice of careers in a way that led to his current role.

“I told the interviewers I was born to do this job”, says Falade, whose first-year anniversary in the saddle of Nigeria’s most diversified, private energy producer, comes up on Thursday February 10, 2022.

“I said it not out of pride. I took a review of all the roles I have done prior to coming in here and it was as if there was a divine hand guiding the choices and selection of the experiences that I have picked up in preparation of an NDEP that is an integrated energy company”, he explains, in a wide-ranging interview on the goals of the company’s near-term future, in terms of strategy, deliverables and the energy transition.

NDEP produces and sells kerosine, diesel and aviation fuel from its own refinery; supplies natural gas from a processing plant sited on its lone producing field: Ogbele, to a local manufacturing firm as well as the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited. It produces and exports crude oil. And, in Falade’s telling, in the next nine months, “the naphtha that is coming out from (the refinery) Trains 2 and 3 right now would be the feedstock for the production of LPG and PMS (gasoline) which are two vital refined products that we need as a country”.

Falade narrates that he “started off in the IOCs and then I moved on to an African Independent from there”.  He was the commercial executive of the Gas & Power division. “At the IOC, where I started from, I was in E&P but I ended up being a commercial executive there as well. From there, I was the pioneer Chief Operating Officer for that African Independent for their upstream acquisition. Then I left that role to become the Managing Director of the biggest indigenous service company that is into project management and all of that”.

Falade says the sum total of his experience is relevant across all the various sectors that NDEP has footprint “and so, this is not a job that I came into with an apprehension of a knowledge gap or a blind spot in a particular sector, I feel very much at home. I was excited that I was the guy that the company was going to entrust itself in his hand to lead it into what I call the next phase”.

He admits that his predecessor, Layiwola Fatona, has a huge name in the industry. “I knew that I was always going to have a backdrop to my performance on the job. I knew I was coming in after Dr. Fatona, which was going to be a difficult task because he personally embodied and typified what this organization is and with this organization, he is a leading light; a foremost practitioner in the industry so following such a person who has such a pedigree and who has also performed so well in nurturing this enterprise to this point was always going to be a difficult task.

“But I was clear in my mind that my mission is not to step into Dr. Fatona’s boots but to bring my own shoes. And that is what I have done and my intention is that, it is horses for courses. The company is set on a different path going forward and I believe that I am the right candidate to take it through that path and not necessarily as a like-for-like replacement for Dr. Fatona but as a complimentary bolt on the foundation that he and others have laid”.

This is the second in a four-part series of published interviews with Mr. Falade.

Among Nigeria’s “Exec Regulators”… He’s the One With “Institutional Memory”

Apart from Nuhu Habib, who has been appointed as executive commissioner in charge of development and production, none of the seven-member team of executive commissioners of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has ever worked at the former Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

Habib was formerly a Chief Geologist at the defunct agency.

It is not ordinarily a bad thing, considering that the staff that they will be superintending is composed of personnel with a deep well of experience. If it is problematic,  it should be nothing that cannot be taken care of with adept human resources management.

Several of the new team are not entirely new to the oil industry, even upstream.

Empathy calls..Gbenga Komolafe, CEO, NUPRC, with Isa Modibo, Chairman of the commission

For one, Kelechi Onyekachi Ofoegbu, executive commissioner, Economic Regulations and Strategic Planning, worked in the supply chain management at Eland Oil & Gas and was the technical adviser to the Minister of State for Petroleum, until his appointment.

But it has always been a fraught isue in Nigerian public service, when an entire team of managers is appointed from outside to run a parastatal.

True, the NUPRC is a brand-new agency, a creation of the new Petroleum Industry Act PIA, but it is effectively staffed with the upstream half of the defunct DPR.

What it means is that the new executive commissioners, who now function in the capacities of the Deputy Directors of the defunct DPR, have to be careful how to treat bruised egos. There are dozens of assistant directors and managers, with sterling careers entirely forged in the crucible of the old DPR, who need to be reassured.

Sarki Auwalu, the last Director of the defunct DPR, didn’t exactly leave a legacy of empathy. Months after he was appointed, he fired the entire team of Deputy Directors (all of whom were his seniors, as he was appointed Director straight from the position of assistant director). That move, already created a sense of deep distrust, which the new team has inherited.


Stanley Uzochukwu is Appointed Member of Igbinedion University Governing Council


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The release the waxes lyrical in conclusion:

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




Nigeria Oil & Gas Conference Returns for 20th Year


The Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference & Exhibition (NOG 2021) provides a platform for the international energy industry to meet with Nigerian oil and gas decision makers to hear policy announcements, explore partnership opportunities and discuss the strategies that will drive the nation towards energy sufficiency.

Serving the Nigerian oil and gas industry for 20 years, NOG 2021 will focus on the strategies that will be employed by the Nigerian government and private sector leaders to navigate the emerging business environment – helping to set the nation’s energy agenda for the next 12 months and beyond.

The strategic conference event is attended by both local and international stakeholders in the oil and gas sector. Speakers at this year’s event include; The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Dr Timipre Sylva, Mele Kolo Kyari, Group Managing Director, NNPC, Engr Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board and over 80 CEOs/Directors of leading International and Indigenous Oil and Gas companies with attendance from more than 25 countries.

At dmg events we are working closely with all stakeholders and local partners to ensure a safe and secure in-person event in July 2021, and we are looking forward to reconvening the 20th Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference & Exhibition.

Click here to find out how you can get involved in the 2021 in-person Conference & Exhibition.


Ruth Nankabirwa is Uganda’s New Petroleum Minister, Will Oversee FID for Lake Albert

By Akpelu Paul Kelechi

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has appointed Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, former Chief Whip in the government, as the new Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, a powerful position which includes oversight of power supply and exploration and production of petroleum resources.

With a new cabinet in place after a bitterly fought election, the Ugandan government can proceed to consider the one major item on the table: the Final Investment Decision for the Lake Albert development project, the Ugandan basin wide crude oil development, which has been on course for 15 years.

Nankabirwa, 55, is a career politician who has been in government since 1998. She replaces Irene Muloni, the Ugandan engineer who had headed the Energy and Mineral Development Ministry for 10 years since 2011, and saw much of the challenging twists and turns of the Lake Albert development, all through to April 2021, when the partners TOTALEnergies, CNOOC, and the Tanzanian and Ugandan governments, concluded the final agreements required to launch this major project.

The discovery of oil, via the drilling of Mputa 1 onshore Uganda, was made in 2006, a year before the well that led to Ghana’s first oil in 2010 was drilled. But the tyranny of geology (landlocked, waxy crude, over a thousand kilometres from the coast), and one of the industry’s most arduous regulatory processes (the Ugandan bureaucracy), stalled the development.

Uganda’s new energy minister served as Chief Government Whip, a Cabinet-level position in the country’s executive apparatus from March 2015 to May 2021, when the cabinet was dissolved. Before then, she was State Minister for Fisheries from May 2011 to March 2015 and was State Minister for Microfinance from February 2009 to May 2011.

A graduate of Fine Art (Bachelor’s degree) and Conflict Studies (Master’s), from Makerere University, Nankabirwa started her political work in 1994, when she served as a delegate to the Constituent Assembly.

In 1996, Ruth Nankabirwa was elected to serve as the member of parliament for Woman Delegate for Kiboga District. From 1998 through 2001, she served as Minister of State for the Lowero Triangle in the Office of the Prime Minister. Between 2001 and 2009, she served as State Minister for Defence. The Energy Minister’s j position, then, is her first as a senior Minister.

Nicholson, Shinol are Kosmos’ New Top Earth Scientists

Kosmos Energy has promoted Tim Nicholson to Senior Vice President (SVP) and Head of Exploration, and John Shinol has been promoted to SVP and Chief Geoscientist.

Nicholson and Shinol joined Kosmos in 2018 and have been integral to the company’s infrastructure-led exploration (ILX) efforts over that period, primarily in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Equatorial Guinea. The two earth scientists were both formerly at Cobalt International Energy where they were responsible for several large discoveries in West Africa (Angola) and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (North Platte, Anchor, and Heidelberg).

Tracey Henderson, the previous SVP of Exploration, has left Kosmos to pursue other interests.

Andrew G. Inglis, Kosmos Energy’s chairman and chief executive officer said: “As we see momentum return to our ILX activities in 2021, I am delighted to have two highly experienced, oil finders leading our exploration efforts. Tim and John have a long track record of proven-basin exploration success in our focus geographies of West Africa and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. We have a deep hopper of high-quality ILX opportunities, a strong bench strength of exploration talent and have already seen early success in 2021. I would like to thank Tracey for her time at Kosmos, particularly her contribution to the company’s frontier basin success in the past.”


Elohor Takes Over SNEPCO From Bayo Ojulari

By Sully Manope

Elohor Aiboni has taken over from Bayo Ojulari as Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO).

She is the first woman to take the job, which has become increasingly important as AngloDutch Shell increases its focus on deep-water, hub-scale opportunities.  

Mrs. Aiboni’s chief immediate task is to find a way to achieve Final Investment Decision (FID) for the pending Bonga SouthWest Aparo (BSWA) project, a job that Ojulari laboured over in the last three years. If she is lucky, she might even witness, on her watch, the 150,000BOPD (peak production) project from construction to first oil.

A 1999 bachelor of science degree holder in Chemical Engineering from the University of Benin, and Masters’ degree in Integrated Environmental Management from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, Aiboni has moved through the ranks, serving as operations support engineer in Shell’s Eastern Nigeria Division and team leader on the relatively large Obigbo oil field (around 160Million barrels reserves as of 2008), straddling two Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 11 &17. 

Her first look-in into Upper Management philosophy was as Business Analyst to the Executive Vice President Shell E&P Africa. She then moved on cross posting to Kazakhstan, where she was part of the Kashagan project, returning to assist in overseeing the divestment of Shell’s onshore eastern assets(OMLs 18, 24 & 29) in 2014/2015.

Aiboni’s first work on a Nigerian offshore asset was as operations manager of the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facility on the shallow water EA field, which is a SNEPCO asset, in 2015. She moved into deeper waters three years ago, when she was appointed Asset Manager for the Bonga project, Nigeria’s flagship deepwater field.

That appointment can now be interpreted as the training opportunity for Elohor Aiboni to take the reins of SNEPCO.

Angola’s Onshore Kwanza Basin offers an underexplored basin with a world class petroleum system.

By Matt Tyrrell and Alessandro Colla, Trois Geoconsulting BV; Mike Oehlers, Tectosat Ltd

Seasoned explorers of Africa and the Atlantic margins will be familiar with the quandary of choosing between offshore and onshore acreage. Offshore acreage typically offers large, inexpensive seismic datasets with which to identify prospects, but the costs of drilling and developing these require significant inward investment. Conversely, onshore acreage allows numerous wells to be drilled at a low cost, but the ability to locate and de-risk prospects is limited by the expense and paucity of exploration datasets, particularly seismic.

This quandary is particularly apparent in the coastal basins of West Africa, where the Mesozoic sedimentary successions, including salt, extend into the onshore domain. In this basin, seasoned explorers will be tantalised by the opportunity to drill salt-induced prospects within a proven petroleum system and will be seeking the necessary datasets with which to de-risk them.

There are, however, onshore basins where this quandary is not so apparent; where extensive high quality datasets are available and early exploration has suitably de-risked proven pre- and post-salt petroleum plays. One such example is the Onshore Kwanza Basin of Angola – a Mesozoic salt basin with numerous undeveloped fields, a library rich in accessible yet low-cost exploration datasets and local refineries and markets for hydrocarbons once they are produced.

Furthermore, a licence round that opens towards the end of 2020, supported by new oil and gas laws and fiscal incentives, provides the opportunity for oil companies to secure rights to this acreage, appraise discovered fields and potentially fast-track commercially viable hydrocarbon production.

Underexplored Pre-Salt

To understand the future potential of the Onshore Kwanza Basin, we must first understand its exploration history.

A key milestone occurred in 1955 when the post-salt Benfica oil field was discovered just south of Luanda, after which exploration drilling peaked; by the late 1970s 133 wells had been drilled. This era of activity saw the discovery of 11 oil fields, as well as a few gas fields, with the largest containing more than 200 MMboe, made possible by the availability of 11,500 line-km of dynamite 2D seismic data. The last onshore field discovery was in 1972 and the last well was drilled in 1982, from when on interest in the onshore declined, in part due to socio-political stability risks but more likely due to the early successes of offshore exploration. Only nine oil fields have ever been reported as having been put onto production, which include the Cacuaco and Puaca fields, both with pre-salt reservoirs.

Although at first it appears that the Onshore Kwanza has been considerably drilled, analysis of well penetrations and results tells a story of high success rates in post-salt wildcats contrasted with a prospective yet significantly underexplored pre-salt succession. Of the 237 wells drilled, just 28 penetrated beneath the salt; four pre-salt fields were discovered prior to 1971 (Cacuaco, Uacongo, Puaca and Morro Liso) despite only three wells testing a meaningful section of pre -salt stratigraphy. When our seasoned explorers analyse the results of these pre-salt wells they must be left pondering what might have been found had the operator drilled a little deeper.

An initial observation is that the majority of pre-salt penetrations were drilled from wellheads located for post-salt prospects with only a handful of wells spudded with a pre-salt objective. Furthermore, assumptions about 1960s and 1970s technology and know-how suggest that modern field appraisal methodologies could reveal where discovered fields may actually be commercial, whilst advanced well stimulation techniques could lower the commercial threshold.

Updated Datasets Support Exploration

In 2010 and 2011, 2,581 line-km of high quality 2D seismic data was acquired followed by the acquisition of high resolution aeromagnetic data. A new GIS GeoDatabase named KMAP-2020, commissioned by Sonangol in 2015, was then completed as part of the reassessment of the remaining oil potential ahead of licence rounds. This product, available for the whole onshore basin or for individual blocks, includes outcrop information, petrographic studies and palaeontological reports from recent field trips together with seismic profiles, well stratigraphy panels and geosections.

The KMAP-2020 database has recently been further refined by the inclusion of modern satellite imagery supplied by specialist, Tectosat Ltd. Using Landsat imagery, SRTM DEM, ASTER and PALSAR Radar data*, the whole basin has been remapped at a much more comprehensive 1:50,000 scale involving interpretation at 1:25,000 scale, with additional integration of lithological detail from some 3,000 field sample points.

The resulting updates to the surface geology maps within the KMAP-2020 database have positive implications for de-risking the underlying petroleum systems. Halokinetic activity is evinced in anomalous domes and basins showing salt withdrawal and folding adjacent to the main bounding faults of the Tertiary troughs.

Fault expressions mapped at surface have been used to understand structural controls related to various tectonic episodes. Where it is shown that many of the Tertiary-aged faults are soft-linked to deeper syn-rift structures, the charge of post-salt reservoirs with pre-salt oil can be de-risked.

Similarly, areas of Tertiary uplift are observed in the vicinity of Blocks 11 and 12 where present-day river systems are seen to have incised; this uplift may have hinged to the north at the Cabo Ledo fault. These details are key in determining long-distance migration paths from known source kitchens, including the offshore, into pre-salt and post-salt structures; indeed, the presence of basin margin oil seeps together with the pre-salt Cacuaco Field north-east of Luanda suggest that the sub-salt section should be suitably charged.

Underexplored Area in New Licence Round

An integration of past exploration results, available seismic and well datasets with the KMAP-2020 database (which includes the satellite imagery interpretation) demonstrate that the Onshore Kwanza Basin is a world class petroleum basin that in recent decades has been considerably underexplored.

The post-salt section has numerous anticlinal closures that are untested; where these have been drilled the structures exhibit good reservoir qualities and host viable oil fields, such as those at Quenguela and Benfica. Where sampled, the pre-salt is shown to exhibit good quality carbonate reservoirs formed by coquina.


shoals with vuggy porosities as well as fluvial-deltaic sandstones. The hydrocarbons encountered here are light oils with gas and with no known encounters of CO2 or high sulphur content.

When the results of the updated ArcGIS geological study are combined with available seismic and well datasets, conclusions can be drawn that suggest that the upcoming licence round may be the trigger for the first commercial production of oil from onshore Kwanza.

Recent announcements by the newly formed ANPG (National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels) have defined a strategy for the allocation of petroleum concessions including open acreage within all of Angola’s basins. Concessions will be awarded through a process of public tender, restricted public tender and direct negotiation over a period of seven years, starting in 2019 and culminating in 2025. 

The blocks offered by public tender are those that are deemed exploration blocks that have not formerly been abandoned and restored to the state. The blocks of the Onshore Kwanza Basin have been announced as a part of the 2020 licensing round, which will open in the fourth quarter of 2020. Blocks KON5, KON6, KON8, KON9, KON17 and KON20 are offered by public tender and these blocks all offer excellent potential for exploration as well as opportunities to appraise and develop discovered fields.

In August this year, the ANPG held a Clarification Session as a precursor to the opening of the round; during this session senior members of ANPG gave informative presentations and clarified the timeline for the submissions of bids and signature of the contracts.

Exceptional Opportunity 

The history books of exploration bear witness to a multitude of junior exploration companies that secured onshore acreage, within a known petroleum province, yet were unable to successfully demonstrate to investors and potential farm-in partners that they could cost effectively de-risk a drilling location.

The Onshore Kwanza Basin is different in that it offers the opportunity to secure acreage containing a post-salt field or prospect that can potentially be appraised and brought into production, providing cash-flow to fund further pre-salt exploration where the prize may be bigger. The 2020 Angola Licence Round, which kicks off April 30, 2021, should therefore be in the plans of all junior and mid-sized oil companies. 

* SRTM DEM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission – Digital Elevation Mapping), ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer), PALSAR (Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar)

This paper was first published in the October 2020 edition of GEOExPro magazine

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