All posts tagged petroleum people

Catherine Hughes Joins the Board of Directors at Valaris

Catherine J. Hughes, former Executive Vice President at Nexen Inc., has been appointed to the Board of Directors at Valaris, the NYSE listed drilling company.

Ms. Hughes will also serve on the Board’s Environmental, Social and Governance Committee.

Catherine Hughes has served as a non-executive director of Shell plc since 2017, including as Chair of the Safety, Environment and Sustainability Committee. She was Executive Vice President International at Nexen Inc. from January 2012 until her retirement in April 2013, where she was responsible for all oil and gas activities including exploration, production, development and project activities outside Canada.

Ms. Hughes joined Nexen in 2009 as Vice President Operational Services, Technology and Human Resources. Prior to joining Nexen, she was Vice President Oil Sands at Husky Oil from 2007 to 2009 and Vice President Exploration & Production Services, from 2005 to 2007. Ms. Hughes started her career with Schlumberger in 1986 and held key positions in various countries, including France, Italy, Nigeria, the UK and the USA, and was President of Schlumberger Canada Ltd for five years.

Ms. Hughes has previously held non-executive director positions at SNC-Lavalin Group Inc, Statoil ASA and Precision Drilling Inc.


Waltersmith: A Second, Bigger Refinery and a Power Plant, on Course for Completion by 2026

In our continuing C-SUITE series, CHIKEZIE NWOSU, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Waltersmith Petroman spoke with Africa Oil+Gas Report’s Akpelu Paul Kelechi on a range of issues.

Waltersmith is an influential player in the African Exploration & Production sector. It has just concluded a three well campaign on the Ibigwe field; it is working to move drilling equipment to develop the Assa Field, discretionally awarded to it by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian head of state. It has, in its sights, a 25,000Barrels of Condensate Refinery for which its has won access to feedstock. It is finalising a Financial  and Technical Service Agreement on Egbema-Egbema West and Ogada Fields in OML 20. Mr. Nwosu certainly has a lot on his plate. EXCERPTS from the conversation.

Congratulations on two years of running a modular refinery, in addition to your 13 years of producing crude. Give us an overview of the company’s notable achievements since the launch of the refinery.

You very well know that this started by the end of 2020. It has been operating with no single downtime. We currently can peak at something like 4,500 barrels of processing capacity. We are evacuating all our products; we have an over subscription of all products and one of the most challenging products we had earlier which is heavy fuel oil (HFO), we have found a market for it as well. The refinery is doing extremely well and we are successfully executing the strategy we had in mind when we first put the idea together.

When you say the strategy behind the refinery, what do you mean?

Firstly, we wanted to ensure security for our (upstream) production on the Ibigwe field because we were seeing constantly increasing theft percentages on the Trans-Niger Pipeline (TNP). We felt that this might get out of hand at a certain period and this was as far back as 2015-2016, when the discussion started. Our production is roughly about 5,000 barrels of oil per day give or take and that is why the refinery was so sized. Now you see what has happened on the TNP?

Second one was to add to the growth of the Nigerian economy through both the creation of additional jobs and impact on our GDP that consumption of our own energy would bring. If you export crude oil or gas, you earn some foreign exchange and the impact on your GDP is very limited. Upstream companies don’t provide that many employment opportunities but with refining, you have both skilled and unskilled workforce and you can more than quadruple the value that you are generating as an impact on your GDP through just consuming the energy instead of exporting it. So that was another underlining strategy.

The third one was about getting access to more assets around 30 kilometres radius of the Ibigwe field. We believe that by positioning ourselves and being supportive of domestic refining, we would be in a more advantageous position when we discuss with government about some of these assets and that has also turned out positively because we have both a technical and financial sales agreement that was approved by the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the state hydrocarbon company NNPC to take over the operations of the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 20 assets. That’s the Ebema-Egbema West and Ogada. We are still waiting for some peace to reign in that area before we progress. And the second asset is the Assa marginal field which was awarded to us. It was a presidential discretionary award in April of 2021 if my memory serves me right.

“Heavy fuel oil for example, is an International exported product, and some factories in Nigeria actually need this product as well. And we’re able to get some benefits from them in terms of foreign exchange earnings.”

…And about over subscription of your refinery products?

The subscription to take our products is five times as high as the entire output. We have to pick and choose who will come and take it. We give some preference to the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association in Imo State and NUPENG, Imo State and then of course the rest of it is more competitive.

OML 20 assets, Egbema West and Ogada are supposed to be part of what Shell is putting out for sale in its ongoing divestment from 19 OMLs in the onshore and shallow water terrain in the Niger Delta. Does this mean that you would ring fence it?

It’s a financial and technical service agreement, not a purchase of the lease. Whoever purchases it, we will continue the conversations with them.

These two assets now, do they now guarantee that 20,000 barrel per day refinery expansion?

Yes they do; so you are absolutely right that the strategy was within that 30 kilometre radius. To find the assets where we could expand our refining capacity by crude oil by an additional 20,000BPD and condensates by 25,000BPD. So we build a 25,000BPD condensate refinery that was targeted at the Assa North- Ohaji gas plays. Now, based on the development plan that we put in place as part of the FTSA at Egbema-Egbema West and Ugada should peak in production above 23,000 barrels of oil per day.

So that is the expectation from the development plan we’ve put in place. Currently, I think it’s not producing that much and the last figures we had was about 7,000 barrels of oil per day. But up times were about 41% which meant that on the average we weren’t even getting that amount of production every year. Now we expect to be able to increase up times to the kind of levels we are used to operating at, which is 95% and above. And also to drill new development wells and optimize some of the production in the existing assets.

And in addition to that, we have a gas-to-power license, which is a 300-megawatt license and we needed to have a source of gas for it. And we believe that the OML 20 can deliver about 60Million standard cubic feet per day of gas; that is actually the domestic gas supply obligation for that particular asset and we’ve seen that the potential is there to do 60MMscf/d, in addition to getting some of our gas from the Assa North -Ohaji South gas developments owned by Seplat, NGC and SPDC.

It’s not as if 60MMscf/d, which you might not get to anyway, can deliver 300MW on its own?

No, it won’t deliver on its own 300MW. We need more gas to deliver that but at least that’s a start because we’re doing the gas projects in phases and part of it is, you also know that part of our strategy has a domestic strategy as well and it is to diversify from just producing oil and gas through consuming oil and gas through industrialization. We are working on it and the feasibility study is ready for the 500 hectare UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) supported industrial and Innovation Park, where we expect to attract manufacturing and deliver them gas to power at very reasonable rates because power is one of the major issues with manufacturing.

We intend to attract pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, which we will probably build ourselves, that’s the petrochemical part, and other industries, medical and agricultural or whatever it is, who need to situate or collocate within the industrial park. And to which we can deliver certain utilities, power being one of them, a good road network, to also export products as well as all the other services. Residential Services, schools, medical services and all that in the industrial park.

What is the time frame for this project?

We expect the industrial park…; so we did the original signing with UNIDO during the commissioning of the refinery. We have since progressed to have negotiations with the landowners about the purchase and we’ll probably do a groundbreaking sometime in 2023. Given the pace at which Waltersmith delivers projects, I would expect that it’s within our previous five-year look ahead so that by 2026, we should be significantly done with the industrial park to get to a point of commissioning and bringing in, you know, all the industry that needs to be there. It is also possible that as we build out the industrial park as we do in a modular fashion, we’re bringing in certain industry earlier on and some other ones much later.

The petrochemicals plant, which will be a little bit of a technical complex, will that come in that 2023 to 2026 window that you mentioned?

That’s our expectation; we are, you know, carrying out a few early feasibility studies on that at this time.

How do you actually balance the need for Forex earnings if you put everything in the refinery?

Strangely enough, without being specific, certain products for the refinery that are not used predominantly in the domestic market go to export.  The typical ones we need here, like PMS, AGO, Aviation jet fuel, and DPK, those ones are domestic. They are priced in naira, sold in naira. Heavy fuel oil for example, is an International exported product, and some factories in Nigeria actually need this product as well. And we’re able to get some benefits from them in terms of foreign exchange earnings. And the other thing I need to mention is that you’re right, we don’t intend to take every single part of our production through the refinery; there will still be production available for exports to earn some dollar but it’s not because we want to particularly earn dollars per se, but a lot of our operations, a lot of the equipment we maintain and everything, we have to pay for it in dollars. We must have a means of earning dollars as well, but please note that our focus is on impacting the domestic economy. That’s what it is and we believe that it has so many attendant effects, positives, with respect to even shoring up our currency. Remember that for as long as we manufacture and consume internally any products that we need to import, that will strengthen the naira. In our small way, we’re trying to do that and as you can imagine, if we stop importing petroleum products, then the pressure of having to have dollars to pay for them will go away.  This issue of subsidies will go away. Yeah, and therefore we believe that those kind of things will strengthen the Nigerian currency. It’s a demand-supply thing. If we have more dollars in the system that we are generating versus the demand to buy dollars for something to go outside. Then we will get the same thing with manufacturing; for if we manufacture things here, we get the raw materials from here, it has an attended impact. Waltersmith wants to show how that model works and hope that other people will take it on as well. So it’s both diversification of the economy, domestic consumption for GDP growth and strengthening our currency.

You mentioned Aviation fuel but it is not yet part of your products in the refinerry.

Yeah it is not part of this yet but it is what we’re going to go to in the next phase of our refinery. We don’t even do PMS now. We do naphtha because of the regulation of PMS. But of course, naphtha is the base substance for PMS. And so in expansion, we’re going to do PMS and so we’re going to have a catalytic reformer. And we’re also going to do aviation jet fuel. And then for the condensate refinery we are going to add on top of that, LPG.

This second phase will also come in that 2023 to 2026 period?

Absolutely; even earlier because for the expansion phase, we are doing the FEED this year and if you know how we turn around things, I would say 24 months from when we complete the FEED after we do the detailed engineering design; maybe for about six months and then after that, we can add 18 months. The current Refinery would have been commissioned within 18 months apart from COVID because it was started from scratch. We started in October 2018 and we were ready to commission by I think, maybe about April-May of 2020 then COVID hit us. And we had to delay it but it was actually completed by October of 2020. We’re now in a position where we’re about to conclude certain agreements between ourselves and other parties so that we can get condensate from the plants to do the refinery. Once those are concluded, we will start building the refinery.

So you would get condensate from the ANOH project?

That’s correct.

Wow, and this is very important. From what you are saying here, NNPC has yielded ….

Chike Nwosu: I am hoping that you would take this off record.

But we’re back on track. The difference between us and any other companies is that we are tenacious; so even when it looked as if it wasn’t happening, we completed our FEED, did EPC Contracting, everything that was needed and then kept it aside and said let’s watch.

Wasn’t that risky?

There’s something called Front End Loading. In front end loading you spend the least amount of money but you generate the most amount of value. Now supposing we hadn’t done the FEED we wouldn’t have known what it was going to cost to build a refinery and there will not have been any basis to compare between us and any other entity. But once our cost was clear and that we had done FEED with a contractor who had built a Refinery, it became clear that we’re the best people to give this Refinery to build. If we hadn’t done any work and that’s to answer the question about some of these other modular refineries, so a lot of them are depending on feed stock not from operated assets or anything like that. That’s going to be a challenge. It is a challenge for them. Yeah, and that’s the front end loading part. We make sure that we dot our I’s and cross our T’s before we jump into any particular project.

“Based on the development plan that we put in place as part of the FTSA at Egbema-Egbema West and Ugada should peak in production above 23,000 barrels of oil per day”.

Would you say this downstream business is as profitable as or more profitable than your upstream business?

Without releasing any numbers, we’re happy with our refinery.

Seplat gives you 2,000 to 3,000?

2,000 and that’s guaranteed but we take more than 2,000 from time to time from them.

You actually have spare for exports.

We do have spare for export but the TNP has been down for a long time.

Oh, that’s yes, that’s true.

 To be concluded.



Simon-Hart Joins NDEP’s Board as an Independent Non-Executive Director 

Niger Delta Exploration & Production Plc (NDEP) has appointed Patricia Simon-Hart to its Board as an Independent Director.

She is only the second female to be appointed member of the company’s board of directors in a period spanning over 20 years. Zuwairatu Mantu, the first woman appointed to NDEP board, joined in 2010 and left in 2014.

NDEP says that Simon-Hart’s appointment, effective from the 4th of November 2022, “is in continuation” of its ongoing, “forward-looking preparations for the new challenges of growth and transformation as the emerging leading African energy Company”.

At board meetings, Simon -Hart, will join Titi Omisore, the company’s Group Legal Adviser and Company Secretary who has, for most of the years, been the only female presence among nine men.

The founder and Managing Director of Aftrac Limited, an ISO 9001:2015 certified oil and gas service company in operation for over 25 years, Simon -Hart is involved in several bespoke activities in the Nigerian oil industry. She is on the Executive Board of the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), a Council member for WEConnect International, and a member of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board’s (NCDMB’s) Nigerian Content Consultative Forum (NCCF), Sectoral Working Group (SWG) for Diversity.

She “brings over 30 years of experience in Management, Public Policy and Administration to the NDEP Board and has a varied career spanning oil and gas, ICT, water and also public service”, NDEP reports in its statement.  “Ms. Simon Hart has a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from Harvard, Kennedy School of Government, a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics/Computer Science & Statistics, from the University of Port Harcourt, and is an alumnus of London Business School.

“Ms. Simon-Hart is also a co-founder and the Vice President (Upstream) of Women in Energy Network (WEIN), an organisation established in 2020 to provide a platform for Women that work across the energy industry value chain to network, build confidence and progress their careers and businesses.

“She has served the Government of Rivers State through her appointment as Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development between 2009-2015.  She was later engaged as a Consultant of Industrial Economics, Incorporated (USA), appointed to the World Bank/United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)/ African Union Commission (AUC). While in this role, she worked on the Project and Conceptual Framework for the development of the African Climate Resilient Investment Facility, including the development of guidelines, provision of training, delivery of on-demand advisory services, and rendering assistance to AU member countries to attract Climate Finance”.


NAPE Confab Will Focus on Energy Transition Opportunities

By Akindotun Akintomide

With the global climate crisis driving action and investment towards energy transition initiatives, the Nigerian government can promote an eco-friendly regulatory environment which offers a space for enterprises to take advantage of the growing basket of opportunities in new technologies for sustainable energy sources.

“The rising need for transition towards renewable energy; reduction in energy poverty and the global geopolitics around a just transition require strategic reappraisal of the energy industry in Nigeria”, declares James Edet, President of National Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE).

NAPE, an association of geoscientists primarily working in the petroleum industry and academia, is the largest grouping of technical professionals operating in the African oil patch.

Edet spoke at a media parley ahead of NAPE’s 40th Annual International Conference and Exhibition, slated for 13-17 November, 2022. He said that experts, at the talkfest, will project new ideas for pathways to newer, more climate-friendly energy for all, at the event.

NAPE boasts of over 12,000 members across Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. This year’s conference will host high level industry practitioners, key personnel in government and the academia who will deliver technical papers centered on the conference theme: ‘Global Energy Transition & the Future of the Oil and Gas Industry: Evolving Regulations, Emerging Concepts & Opportunities.’

Mele Kyari, CEO of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and Roger Brown, CEO, Seplat Energy Plc. are among keynote speakers set to headline the conference.

“Nigeria has an Energy transition plan to get us to net zero greenhouse gas emission by 2060”, Edet notes, “however, there are many factors that need to be considered and appropriately addressed in the nation’s shift to its sustainable energy future.

“The reality of the climate change is facing Nigeria with desertification in the north and flooding in the south and some parts of the north. This change calls for significant reduction of carbon emissions while ensuring available and affordable electricity”.

The NAPE President says the “The oil and gas industry has a role to play towards the successful implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and the Climate Change Act, both of which have in the last one year been signed into law. “These regulations have ambitious plans.”

Edet identifies the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, global politics, in-country insecurity challenges and asset divestment as underpinning factors that have continued to impact the energy supply shortage and altered the energy landscape in no small way.

“Globally, significant consumers of the hydrocarbon industry are undergoing a massive technological shift towards low or zero carbon energy usage like electric vehicles”, he contends. “there are other contenting and increasingly relevant issues such as: energy security; the dynamics of gas development, commercialization and monetization; development of Nigeria’s under explored gas rich cretaceous basins; and how Nigeria will adapt her policies and diversify her energy portfolio in the energy transition era so as to achieve sustainable growth for her economy”.



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.

Humphrey Onyeukwu becomes Group Head, Legal at Oilserv

Oilserv Limited, the Nigerian provider of EPCIC services, has appointed Humphrey Onyeukwu as the Group Head, of its Legal department.

Onyeukwu was, until the end of September 2022, the Head, Legal & Commercial at Transcorp Plc. with oversight responsibility for driving the growth of the energy business and other targeted asset acquisitions.

He helped shape Transcorp’s engagements in the acquisition of the Afam Power Plants (with 966MW of installed capacity) and shell Nigeria’s divested interests in Oil Mining Lease (OML)17, and also was instrumental to Transcorp’s recent foray into renewable power generation.

A law graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and alumnus of the University of Dundee, Scotland, where he obtained an LL.M degree in Petroleum Taxation and Finance, Onyeukwu is the founder of The Lagos Oil Club, an association of senior Oil and Gas Professionals in Nigeria with interest in networking and advancing advocacy of petroleum and other energy resources related issues.

Humphrey Onyeukwu is joining Oilserv, at the time the company is evolving into an integrated energy group to accelerate energy transition across Africa. The Oilserv group comprises Oilserv EPCIC, Frazimex Engineering, FrazOil E & P, FrazPower, and EnviFraz.

Oilserv has been a key player in Nigeria’s gas revolution, through such projects as the OB3 and AKK gas pipelines. The 612km AKK gas pipeline, which traverses across Kogi, Niger, Kaduna, and Kano States, is estimated at a $2.6bn construction cost and on completion, the country is expected to have over 8 billion standard cubic feet of gas injected into the domestic pipeline.

Kenechukwu Nwangwu is FIPL’s New CEO

Sahara Power Group has appointed Kenechukwu Nwangwu as the new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of First Independent Power Limited, operator of four gas turbine power plants located in Port-Harcourt, Afam, Omoku and Eleme, all in Nigeria’s Rivers State.

Rivers is the commercial heartland of the eastern part of the oil rich Niger Delta basin.

FIPL currently has a combined installed capacity of 541MW.

Nwangwu joins FIPL from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria Ltd, where he was the CEO, SPDC JV Afam VI 650MW Combined Cycle Power Plant. He led the business creditably with notable achievement in enhancing uptime, optimizing production, and reducing generation losses.

Kola Adesina, Group Managing Director, Sahara Power Group, says the appointment “will drive FIPL’s ongoing transformation towards sustainable and efficient power generation, especially in the Niger Delta and South-South regions of Nigeria”.

Sahara group acquired FIPL in 2013, and since then the company “had achieved a remarkable capacity increase from 143 MW to 541 MW through continuous investment in overhauls, technology, and human capital”, Adesina observes.

Kenechukwu holds a degree in Electronics Engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, a Graduate Certificate in Oil and Gas Engineering at the SITP/ Robert Gordon University Aberdeen programme, and a master’s degree in Petroleum Technology from Curtin University Australia. He also holds two Doctor of Business Administration (Honoris Causa) degrees from Maverick Business Academy London and Commonwealth University.

FIPL’s four Power plants include Afam (180MW), Omoku (150MW), Trans Amadi (136MW) and Eleme (75MW).


Nancy Buese Takes the CFO Job from Brian Worell at Baker Hughes

Baker Hughes has appointed Nancy Buese as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) effective November 2, 2022. “Buese brings more than 30 years of financial and leadership experience to the role”, says the top American oilfield service provider. Ms Buese previously served as EVP & CFO of global mining company Newmont Corporation from 2016 until earlier 2022.

“Nancy is a proven CFO and business leader, delivering impressive results throughout her career in the energy and mining sectors. She brings diversified and valued experience leading finance teams for public companies, and I am excited to welcome her to Baker Hughes,” said Lorenzo Simonelli, chairman & CEO of Baker Hughes. “Nancy will be a driving force in our strategic transformation to simplify our operations, improve execution, deliver strong financial performance, and increase value for our shareholders over the long-term.”

Prior to her role at Newmont, Buese spent more than a decade as EVP & CFO of MarkWest Energy Partners, a leader in gathering, processing, and transportation of hydrocarbons, as well as EVP & CFO of MPLX (a subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum) following MPLX’s acquisition of MarkWest. Buese began her career in public accounting, starting as an accountant for Arthur Andersen and rising to be a partner at Ernst & Young until 2003. She also has extensive Board experience, serving on the Board and chairing the audit committee for UMB Financial Corporation from 2009-2017. She has served on the Board of Williams Companies since 2018.

With Buese’s appointment, Brian Worrell, CFO of Baker Hughes, will move to a strategic advisor role on November 2 and will depart the company in the second quarter of 2023.


Adom-Frimpong Returns as Chair of Ghana’s Oil Revenue Watchdog

The Ghanaian accountant, Kwame Adom-Frimpong, has been re-elected as Chairman of the country’s Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC).

Nasir Alfa Mohammed, the Vice Chairman, was also returned.

Both are to serve for a one-year term after the expiration of their tenure in September 2022.

The PIAC is an Institution committed to ensuring efficient, transparent and accountable management of petroleum revenues and investments to secure the greatest social and economic benefit for the people of Ghana.

Adom-Frimpong and Mohammed are representatives of the Institute of Chartered Accounts, Ghana, (ICAG) and the Ghana Bar Association respectively, in the PIAC. The formerserves as Managing Director of Mainstream Reinsurance Company. He previously worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers as Audit Supervisor, at Ghana’s Social Security and National Insurance Trust SSNIT as Head of Audit, and at ABC Brewery Company as Senior Cost and Management Accountant. He is a graduate of the University of Wales, Bangor, UK (MBA), University of London (LLB) and De Montfort, Leiester, U.K (LLM). He obtained a Doctorate degree in Business Administration (DBA-Finance option) from the Faculty of Professional Studies, Arcadia University, United States in 2001 and again had PhD in Economics Finance from the same University in 2004.

Mr. Nasir Alfa Mohammed is currently a Senior Associate Consultant at Ali-Nakyea & Associates, a private law firm in Accra, where he heads the Extractive Unit, providing legal opinions and consulting services to oil, gas and mining companies. Prior to Ali-Nakyea, he worked as Associate Legal Practitioner at Atuguba & Associates, a private law firm with the LADA Group of Companies in Accra. He also previously worked in senior management positions with the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) and later as Ghana Policy Advocacy Officer with the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI). He holds a Master of Laws (LLM) in Petroleum Law and Policy from the University of Dundee’s Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP), Scotland, UK; a Qualifying Certificate in Law (QCL) from the Ghana School of Law; a Post-First Degree Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ghana School of Law; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Sociology from the University of Ghana.



Seplat Founders, Avuru and Orjiako, Settle Rift

By Onyema Dike

Austin Avuru, founding CEO of Seplat Energy and Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka (ABC) Orjiako, pioneer chairman of the Nigerian independent, may be moving from the court room to the negotiating table if emerging feelers from a peace meeting brokered by Layi Fatona, Vice Chairman of ND-Western E&PLimited, is anything to go by.

Fatona who is a friend and senior industry colleague of the two has stepped in to arbitrate and there seems to be a shifting of grounds and settling of the rift between the dueling partners.

Cerebral, connected and successful, the two men; geologist/petroleum engineer and Orthopedic surgeon, founded Seplat in 2010, took it public in 2014 in a dual listing on the NSE and LSE and nurtured it into Nigeria’s most successful independent oil and gas company.

Seplat Energy is currently regarded as the seventh most valuable stock on the NGX with a market capitalization of around £700Million. That figure represents about 2.86% of the Nigerian Stock Exchange equity market.

The two fell apart in August 2022 following a court injunction by an Abuja High Court presided over by Justice SB Belgore who put a stop to Austin Avuru’s planned retirement dinner. The dinner was supposed to feature the unveiling of three of his books.

Claimants representing his partner, ABC Orijako, had insisted that portions of the books maligned Orjiako and the company. The Abuja court issued the injunction following a motion exparte filed by Tochukwu Peter Tochukwu, Esq. but moved by Nsikan Samuel Ekpeyong, Esq. with Motion No. M/9442/2022 dated 26th day of July 2002. Avuru, who retired as CEO of Seplat in August 2022, has been waging a legal battle to vacate the injunctions.

This new development signals a shift in their positions and could lead to a possible out of court settlement if Layi Fatona is able to keep them long enough at the negotiating table.

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