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Descalzi Will Continue as ENI’s CEO for the Fourth Consecutive, Three Year Term

By Macson Obojeminmoin

Claudio Descalzi will continue his role as one of ENI’s longest running Chief Executive Officers (CEO) in history.

It is official.

Giuseppe Zafarana, an Italian Military General, will replace Lucia Calvosa, the law professor who has been Chairman of ENI’s Board since May 2020.

General Zafarana and Mr. Descalzi’s names are among those of six candidates submitted for the office of Directors by Italy’s Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), The candidates’ names are to be approved at the company’s Shareholders’ Meeting on May 10, 2023.

The “Shareholder Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF)”, as ENI describes it in a statement, is holder of 4.41% of the share capital of ENI SpA. The MEF also owns, through the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, a further 26.21% stake, for a total of 30.62% of the share capital.

Mr. Descalzi, who joined ENI as a reservoir engineer in 1981, has held the reins of the Italian E&P major for nine years. This re-appointment, for a fourth term of another three years, is clear indication that he has won both the politics and the legal battles of the most important challenge to his reputation. For most of the past half a decade, an arm of the Italian judicial system indicated, consistently, that it was convinced that the company, under his watch, was involved in corrupt dealing with Nigerian officials in the course of the purchase of the Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245, in 2011. The state prosecutor vigorously pursued, in the court of Millan, “a conviction of the current CEO”.  Those charges were dismissed by the court in 2021.

General Giuseppe Zafarana has been the commander general of the Guardia di Finanza since May 2019. His military career began in 1981, attending the 81st “Osum II” course at the Corps Academy. Put into service in 1985, he has held numerous operational positions in Lombardy, Veneto, Lazio, Calabria and Sicily. In particular, he commanded the Lieutenancy of Conegliano Veneto (1985 – 1987) and the Company of Lamezia Terme (1987 – 1989); he assumed positions in the leading investigative departments of the Corps, such as the Central Tax Police Unit (1991 – 1995) and the Tax Police Unit of Palermo (1997 – 2000); he was Provincial Commander of Rome (2003 – 2008) and Regional Commander of Lombardy (2015-2016). Zafarana was Interregional Commander of Central Italy, to whom command, coordination and control functions are attributed to the Departments located in the Lazio, Umbria, Abruzzo and Sardinia Regions. He was awarded numerous decorations and honours, including that of Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

The other candidates submitted by the Ministry for the office of Directors include: Cristina Sgubin, Elisa Baroncini, Federica Seganti and Roberto Ciciani.


Abdulrazaq Isa Retakes the Reins of Waltersmith Petroman

By Macson Obojemuinmoin, in Lagos

Addulrazaq Isa has returned to executive role at Waltersmith Petroman, the Nigerian E&P firm he co-founded.

The former banker retreated into a Non-executive Chairman role four years ago, as Waltersmith appointed Chikwezie Nwosu as Chief Excecutive Officer. Nwosu’s appointment at the time was meant to be part of Waltersmith’s next phase of evolution.  “where the owner/founders no longer ran the company on a hands on basis”.

Ayokunle Okusanya, CEO, Waltersmith Industrial Park

That evolution has apparently been disrupted and a new company structure has taken shape, in which Isa is the President/Group Chief Executive Officer of the holding company, overseeing three subsidiaries, namely:  Waltersmith E&P, the upstream arm of the company; Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Limited and Waltersmith Industrial Park Ltd. The last company is the “Landlord” of  both the upstream and downstream properties as well as the burgeoning facility that will provide a number of services including gas and power supply, refined petroleum products and other ancillary services, to tenants.
Dapo Filani will become the Chief Executive Officer of Waltersmith E&P; Ayokunle Okusanya will move up from the position of Chief Investment Officer to CEO of Waltersmith Industrial Park and Abdu Isa, (no relations to the Group Chief Executive Officer), has been promoted from General Manager Refinery, to CEO Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Limited.

Dapo Filani, Incoming CEO, Waltersmith E&P Ltd.

Filani arrives Waltersmith from First E&P, where he was Deputy General Manager Corporate Strategy & Business Delivery, a job he has held for close to two years after a stint as Business Adviser to that company’s MD/CEO. Filani spent the first 13 of his 23 years of industry experience, in reservoir engineering and field development management roles.

Okunsanya, who has been a steady, right hand man to the Group CEO, is a certified Nigerian accountant, who worked as Head, Fund and Portfolio Management at both Kakawa Asset Management and  IEI Assets Ltd, before joining Waltersmith in 2010.

Abdul Isa was, as of 2010, Waltersmith’s  Crude Export and HSE Manager. He wa

Abdul Isa, CEO, Waltersmith Refinery & Petrochemicals

s named General Manager, Refinery at the newly created Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company in March 2020.

The three CEOs will be busy; in the midstream/downstream Waltersmith Petroman is about to launch the construction of a second, 5,000Barrel Per Stream Day modular refinery. In the upstream, the company looks forward to a drilling campaign on the Assa field, which was discretionally awarded to Waltersmith by President Buhari in April 2021 (one of the last discretionary awards of upstream acreages). The Industrial Park has a load of a work, including the finalization of feasibility study by its partner, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), fencing the 65 hectare park site, commissioning the architectural design, executing the 30MMscf/d gas off take agreement with Seplat and starting the design, permitting and installation of 8km gas pipeline from ANOH gas plant to the industrial park.


Nafi Chinery Confirmed as Africa Director, Natural Resource Governance Institute

The Ghanaian development specialist, Nafi Chinery, has been formally appointed Africa director of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI).

She had been the interim Africa Director of the Institute since November 2022, a role in which she was specifically directed to oversee the activities of NRGI’s Africa team and provide strategic leadership for NRGI’s work in the region and globally.

“Since joining NRGI in 2017, Nafi has been a strategic leader, a dynamic ambassador and an innovative implementor”, says Suneeta Kaimal, president and CEO of NRGI. “In her service as interim Africa director since November 2022, she has demonstrated her ambition and vision for our Africa programme”, Ms. Kaimal explained. “Nafi is the right leader to ensure that NRGI deepens engagements with women and vulnerable communities, and supports the strong African movement to accelerate a just energy transition and manage natural resources accountably in the interest of citizens.”

With this appointment, the NGRI has concluded a search that had been ongoing since 2016. The Africa director, in the organisation’s description, is one “who can build relationships with a diverse range of critical partners and harness the strengths of the organization to advance accountable and effective governance in Africa”.  The institute says that the role is a unique opportunity “to cohesively improve natural resource governance across Africa”.

In the last four months, Ms. Chinery had combined the job of Interim Africa Director with her role of West Africa regional manager (Anglophone) at the Institute, where she supervised the design, implementation and coordination of NRGI’s strategic engagements and programmes in Anglophone West Africa.

What this appointment means is that the role of West Africa regional manager (Anglophone) is open.

“In this new role, my vision is to prioritize transparency and accountability across the extractive sector value chain and help shape a sustainable energy future for Africa,” Chinery offers, in her response to the appointment. “This means actively promoting a just and equitable transition to renewable energy across the continent. It requires constructive engagement with governments, key regional and global institutions, civil society, local communities, vulnerable populations, and the private sector to promote policies and practices that enable African countries and citizens to thrive in the future. From minerals needed for green technology to building economic futures beyond oil, this transition is critical to addressing the twin challenges of climate change and energy poverty in Africa.”

Nafi Chinery has over 20 years of experience in development work. Prior to joining NRGI, she worked with Oxfam GB and the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), a pan-African grant-making foundation for women’s rights. She has a longstanding career in organizational development and transformative and strategic leadership. For 17 years, Nafi has worked to develop and strengthen credible well informed women’s rights organizations and leaders to accelerate the respect for women and rights of marginalized groups across Africa.

She holds a master’s degree in social development and sustainable livelihoods from the University of Reading, U.K., and a bachelor of arts and diploma in education from Cape Coast University, Cape Coast, Ghana. She was also a 2014 Aspen New Voices Fellow.


Carrara Is Saipem’s New Spokesman

The engineering service firm Saipem has announced the appointment of a new Director of External Communication and Brand Management.

Rossella Carrara will report directly to CEO Alessandro Puliti, with the responsibility of defining corporate communication strategies and developing the company’s image and reputation.

She takes over from Loretana Cortis, who is leaving the company.

Ms. Carrara will “specifically coordinate media relations activities, digital PR, crisis communication, and develop strategies for corporate image and identity management”, Saipem explains in a release.

The Italian graduate of Political science has more than 20 years’ experience as a strategic consultant supporting multinational companies in various sectors. She joins Saipem after three years as Vice President Corporate Relations and Sustainability of the Costa Group, the leading European company in the cruise sector, for which she managed communication, institutional relations and sustainability activities at global level. Previously, she was Deputy Managing Director of Apco Worldwide in Italy, where she was responsible for public affairs, stakeholder engagement, corporate responsibility and communication activities, both nationally and internationally. Prior to Apco, she was Senior Director at Burson Marsteller, overseeing, in particular, corporate and crisis communications.


South Africa’s New Electricity Minister Is Vested with Enormous Powers

By Marshal Gungubele, in Windhoek

Kgosientsho ‘Sputla’ Ramokgopa, the South African civil engineer appointed as his country’s new minister of electricity, has a mandate that reaches way beyond solving the crises at Eskom, the one-time largest power utility in Africa.

Ramakgopa was appointed in the context of the national state of disaster, declared in February 2023 by President Cyril Ramaphosa, “to respond to the electricity crisis and its effect.”

The escalation of the crisis would allow the government to implement “practical measures that we need to take to support businesses,” President Ramaphosa had declared.

The state of disaster mode would allow the government to remove red tape for energy projects, the President said. It will enable the exemption of critical infrastructure such as hospitals and water treatment plants from crippling power outages, which had held down economic growth for 15 long years.

Mr. Ramakgopa will be expected to facilitate the coordination of the numerous departments and entities involved in the crisis response, work with the Eskom leadership to turn around the performance of power stations, and accelerate the procurement of new generation capacity.

That means he will be performing some of roles that ordinarily would have been the remits of the Minister of Public Enterprises (Pravin Gordhan) and Minister of Mines and Energy (Gwede Mantashe).

Weeks before Ramakgopa’s appointment, Mr. Mantashe, himself a powerhouse in the ruling party ANC, had described the role of the would -be-Minister of electricity, as “project manager”, focusing exclusively on power outages. President Ramaphosa apparently thought differently. “To effectively oversee the electricity crisis response, the appointed minister will have political responsibility, authority and control over all aspects of the Energy Action Plan,” Ramaphosa said in the speech making the appointment.

South Africa experienced more than 200 days of power cuts in 2022, the worst on record. Eskom is saddled with $26Billion of debt, along with an ageing, lack-lustre- performing, fleet of power generating plants.

Ramakgopa, 48, was, prior to the new role, head of the Investment and Infrastructure Office in the Presidency. He was formerly the member of the executive committee (MEC) in charge of Economic Development and Agriculture in Gauteng, the province which hosts Johannesburg and Tshwane (the city formerly known as Pretoria). Between 2010 and 2016, he was the mayor of Tshwane.

Marshal Gungubele is the new Southern Africa correspondent for Africa Oil+Gas Report.


Durogbitan Moves to Plusher Offices at Amni International

The Nigerian independent, Amni International Petroleum has promoted Abimbola Durogbitan to the role of General Manager, External Relations and Technical Assistant to the Group Managing Director.

He is now, in effect, the spokesperson for the company, which operates three shallow offshore acreages in Nigeria and one deepwater tract in Ghana.

An earth scientist with a doctorate degree from the University of Manchester, Durogbitan was previously the company’s General Manager, Subsurface.

He had worked in several senior technical positions at Petrofac Integrated Energy Services, prior to joining Amni. At Petrofac, he interfaced with several E& P companies ranging from Oil majors to independents.

Durogbitan is a recipient of the Petrofac Group Eve Award; which celebrates Petrofac`s best employees (individuals) in their area of work. Before Petrofac-he worked as an Associate Senior Geoscientist with PetroVision Energy UK for two (2) years.

With over 24 years of global oil and gas industry experience working in senior technical and management positions with integrated independents and Oil service companies. Durogbitan is also a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with the Project Management Institute (PMI), a fellow of the African Scientific Institute (ASI) and a fellow of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE).

A COMEG Registered Geoscientist, and active member of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), European Association of Geophysicists (EAGE) and Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). He became the first (founding) UK/EUROPE Chapter Coordinator of NAPE in 2016, the first NAPE Chapter in the diaspora.


Calib Cassim, Former Eskom CFO, is New Interim Head of the Utility

The South African accountant, Calib Cassim, has been appointed interim group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Eskom, the state owned electricity utility.

Cassim served as Eskom chief financial officer in November 2018.

“He is a registered chartered accountant with a master’s degree in business leadership”, Eskom said in a statement.

“With over 20 years of service in Eskom, his qualifications and extensive experience have provided Mr. Cassim with a deep understanding and appreciation of the Eskom business and the electricity industry, especially regarding the challenges facing the financing of operations and future expansion of the industry,” spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said.

Eskom’s board of directors a had earlier in the week, moved to oust the outgoing CEO, Andre de Ruyter, after he gave an explosive interview, talking about his time at Eskom, exposing the depths of corruption at the state-owned power utility.


Eskom Board Asks its Chief Executive to Leave Immediately

The Chief Executive of Eskom, South Africa’s power utility, has been asked by the Board of Directors to leave the company with immediate effect.

Andre de Ruyter was serving his last month in office, as he was set to leave at the end of March 2023, following his resignation.

“There will be an acting CEO in the meanwhile”, says Eskom spokesperson Sikhonathi Mantshantsha. “The Eskom board, together with the minister of public enterprises, who is the shareholder representative, will agree on the appointment of the acting CEO and Eskom will announce that as soon as possible.”

De Ruyter’s dramatic exit  follows his interview with the Television station, eNCA, in which he spoke up about corruption within the utility, with the African National Congress (ANC) and officials implicated in benefitting from Eskom. The CEO  said that he had contacted a minister after COP27, saying that he was concerned about the $0.5Billion that was being pledged. De Ruyter said that the unnamed minister responded to him: “The response was, essentially, you have to be pragmatic, you have to in order to pursue the greater good, you have to enable some people to eat a little bit.”

Eskom’s media statement said that the utility and De Ruyter had parted ways through mutual agreement.


How I Made it in Oil& Gas -Wole Ogunsanya, CEO, Geoplex

Geoplex Drillteq has, in the last 24 months, extended its business outboard of the oilfield service specialization, for which it is widely known. The Nigerian owned firm acquired a fleet of five land rigs from KCA Deutag; grabbed a technical partnership stake in the Nigerian operations of Yinson Holdings, which owns the Abigail Joseph FPSO, producing crude on Anyala field. Geoplex holds a 40% equity in Ndibe, one of the newly awarded marginal fields and, the company tells us, it has won a contract in the Electricity Supply Industry to build sub stations. What else does it not do? Geoplex is even thinking of embedded power generation.

In an interview with Africa Oil+Gas Report, we felt we had to find out from WOLE OGUNSANYA, the company founder and Chief Executive, how he spotted the opportunity…

AOGR: Do you want to give us a bit of a background history on how you got into the oil and gas business?

Geoplex MD: I graduated from the University of Lagos in 1987 and I went to Schlumberger to do my National Youth Service. After one year, I was offered a job as an engineer trained in different places in electric wireline. I also managed those businesses either as a field service manager or as an operations manager for the country. I worked basically all over the world but mostly in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. After a while, I thought it was time to leave. I left Schlumberger with some of my colleagues to start Geoplex. I spent about 13 years and we established this company in 2002 and we started our first operation in 2004. It took us two years to look for work, raise fund and buy the first set of equipment. From there, the rest is history in terms of us growing from one service to the other. That made us to have these multi-service portfolios which culminated in us acquiring the KCA-Deutang rigs and services in Nigeria in March 2022. I hope that is short enough for you.

AOGR: No, it’s not enough: how did you spot that opportunity because 13 years is really a short time because, relatively, people hang on to companies for a long time.

Geoplex MD: Schlumberger, in our own time, went round the world in the countries that they operate and hired the best engineers that they could find. In those days, you are just one engineer with your two technicians and you would be working for 2-3 days without sleeping. The job was extremely difficult and the attrition rate was high. Some of us had that attitude that we were going to do our job to the best of our abilities, but we also thought, if they were going to ask us to go, then we were prepared to go. There was never a strong mindset to seek a career in Schlumberger. The mindset was to do your job very well, have experience and try and save as much as money as you can so that if they ask you to leave…

This is a teaser…Watch this space for the full interview…


Ed Daniels, Shell’s Director of Strategy, to Step Down, as Unit is Discarded

Shell plc has announced the discontinuation of its Strategy, Sustainability and Corporate Relations (SSCR) Directorate in far reaching organization changes as Wael Sawan, the company’s new CEO, moves to stamp his authority.

Ed Daniels, Director of the SSCR, will step down from the Executive Committee effective July 1, 2023, and leave Group service thereafter. “Strategy will be brought together with New Business Development and, alongside Sustainability, will report direct to Sinead Gorman, Chief Financial Officer, enabling more streamlined planning and better capital allocation decisions”, Shell declares in a statement. ”Corporate Relations will report direct to Wael Sawan, Chief Executive Officer”.

The reorganization effectively reduces the size of the Executive Committee (EC) from nine to seven members “in a decisive move designed to simplify the organisation further and improve performance as we deliver our Powering Progress strategy”, the statement adds..

Under the changes, which are expected to take effect on July 1, 2023, Shell’s Integrated Gas and Upstream businesses will be combined to form a new Integrated Gas and Upstream Directorate led by current Upstream Director, Zoe Yujnovich. The Downstream business will be combined with Renewables & Energy Solutions to form a new Downstream and Renewables Directorate led by current Downstream Director, Huibert Vigeveno.

“I’m making these changes as part of Shell’s natural, and continuous, evolution”, says Wael Sawan, “Our core purpose is to provide energy to our customers, safely and profitably, while helping them, and us, to decarbonise. I believe that fewer interfaces mean greater co-operation, discipline and speed, enabling us to focus on strengthening performance across the businesses and generating strong returns for our investors”.

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