Mr. AbdulRazaq Isa, CEO, Waltersmith Petrolman Oil Limited
-By Felix Douglas
The Society of Petroleum Engineers, SPE, Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition, NAICE, is the largest oil & gas industry technology exhibition event in sub-Saharan Africa. It serves as an annual hub for Exploration and Production companies, oil & gas services and Petrotech companies.
It gives opportunities for academia, regulators and ancillary service providers to showcase their innovations, projects and services to the oil and gas industry. The patronage from these various institutions and support for the event attest to fact that NAICE has provided positive platforms for oil companies to thrive.
The 2019 edition was an attraction to behold as companies stood behind SPE consistently supporting and partnering with it.
The first night of the event was enlivened as the society had its Oil Industry Awards, it was a night to honour intelligence and smart students who have distinguished themselves in their respective schools and disciplines through some of the scholarship grants given by philanthropists and members. Outstanding secondary schools’ students were also recognised across the country.
The Oil Industry Awards night was attended by senior members of SPE, present and past BoT chairmen, Africa Regional Directors, ARDs, Council chairmen, academia including the president of SPEI Mr. Sami Alnuaim, Petroleum Engineering Application Services Department Manager; Saudi Aramco. Alnuaim came to Nigeria for the first time to attend the conference and was supportive throughout the event.
A Nigerian integrated energy company, Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited sponsored the awards occasion. Waltersmith is an E&P company operating at the entire value chain of the oil industry, as a local company, it is waving the flag of competency and integrity thriving in the industry. It stands tall among equals and for many years has shown consistency in sponsoring SPE event.
Presenting his opening remarks at the Industry Awards Night, Mr. Debo Fagbami, Chairman of SPE Nigeria Council noted that SPE is a powerful tool in the oil and gas industry comprising key number of stakeholders, professionals, students, academia, government, corporate organisations, sponsors among others. The day was set aside to recognize efforts put in place by these various institutions.
He commended Waltersmith for sponsoring the Industry Award adding that the indigenous company has sustained the culture for SPE.
Also, speaking at the Industry Award Night, the present Africa Regional Director, ARD, Professor Wumi Iledare, emphasised on Africa and used the occasion to express appreciation to SPE Nigeria Council for its “willingness to play the big brother for other Africa sections and I will continue to encourage us to do that.” “Multiplication is not necessarily division; multiplication is a way to expand your coast and develop others to be a less of problem to you in the future.”
The ARD suggested that Nigeria Council should continue to play their big brother role while suggestions made at difference fora should be carried out. According to him the Africa section is planning a regional conference without diminishing the power of NAICE and seeks Nigeria Council to support the effort. This conference might likely be held before the end of 2019.
He opined that SPE business in other parts of the world is significant but in Africa the international presence is not felt. The regional body will continue to work with the board on annually basis without diminishing the interest of NAICE.
According to Iledare “We can bring SPE International to Africa to develop a regional conference like we are having so many sections in the United States and I hope we are going to buy into that and we can rotate it from one country to another in a regional manner, it could be East Africa this year, West Africa next year, while Southern Africa the following year and I will continue to seek your support.”
Competency is not a problem to Africa but utilization and implementation. He advocated that young people should be mentored that the essence of being in the oil and gas industry is not for money. Technical competence should be with mentorship, this should be enhanced and promoted in the industry.
He appraised those who volunteered for SPE Nigeria Council and urged the Africa regional body to take a cue from what they have demonstrated. “I hope that my Africa region visitors will take something from that, the spirit of volunteerism is not depended on the work, it is driven by service so as to be able to improve the life of people you are trying to serve.”
Iledare disclosed that since Alnuaim became president of SPE International, he has been promoting sustainability and for any business to be sustainable human capital development is important. He encouraged the Nigeria Council not to let go the academic components of the industry, “unless we have a sound academic discipline, we are not going to be able to build competent hand to sustain this petroleum business in all the African countries.”
Efforts should not be diminished in building academic institutions and sustainability of petroleum business begins with capital development on human mind and to “Let go of that the ability to sustain the business is not depended on machine because people have to write the programme for the machine, so I encourage us to continue.”
The ARD congratulated those who received regional awards for excellence in service both in intellectual discussion in technical paper and discipline in petroleum engineering while commending the president of SPEI for the move to change HSC to HSC and sustainability division in petroleum engineering.
He bemoaned the fact that when it comes to international awards in SPEI, Africa is not well represented because they do not nominate candidates. The ARD made his intention known that a committee will be set up to give cue on how it will be packaged in such that when it gets to the international committee it will be well evaluated.
Iledare advised Africa regional body of SPEI to nominate their friends who are competent hence SPEI does not give awards based on patronage and sentiments. The resume and nomination form must be based on thorough competency before the award can be given, “It begins with optics, what you see is what attracts you, we need to find a better way to make the package attractive so that they will be able to recognize that.”
The ARD enjoined members of SPEI to brace up to the challenge and ensure that more Africans are represented adding that he is not comfortable with Africa representation in terms of award at the international level, yet Nigeria has sixty years of experience in the petroleum industry, “next year I want to see at least five honourable members and distinguish member of SPE and I think we can do it.”
“It is being a pleasure to represent you in the Board of Director and I have been told and have been surprised myself, when I got there, they told me in the first year, you listen, the second year, you learn, and the third year, you lead. Interestingly, I have listened for one year, and this is my second year, I am going to listen and be assured that in the third year, I am going to lead and you will be proud of me, Iledare enthused.”
Giving his sponsor’s remark at the Industry Awards night, Chairman Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, AbdulRazaq Isa, appreciated SPE for giving the thriving indigenous company opportunity to sponsor the Oil Industry and Awards Dinner. He said the company still have energy to grow for another ten years.
He referred to the Awards Night as a place where SPE consistently recognize and appreciate talents from the industry, young people, companies that are innovating and coming up with new ideas efficiently to operate in the industry, “this is something that we support and we will continue to support for a long time to come. We will continue to support the SPE in this direction for as long as Waltersmith continue to exist.”
Isa explained that previously the company had to co-sponsor the event with another super sponsor that is still in the background but at present, Waltersmith does it alone and will continue its good gesture in the foreseeable future.
The Waltersmith helmsman made it known that he has been playing the role of Chief Executive Officer of the company for fifteen years, but 2019 probably will be his last as he takes a bow and pave way for new management of the company. He revealed that the company has benefited immensely in terms of technical support from SPE, “we have derived a lot of technical people that support what we do from SPE, I can assure you that moving forward, we are going to see a lot of more people from SPE in leadership position in our company.”
The climax of the Awards Night was presentation of awards to students from different chapters of SPE including those on scholarship. Awards were also given to young ladies who won the Women Development Programme award.
There were awards for students’ paper contest, Nigeria paper contest awards won by various universities across the country. Africa Regional Paper contest, Nigeria Content Monitoring and Development Board R&D Fair awards including winners for petrol quiz. SPE Nigeria Chapter contest was won by University of Port Harcourt.
Another colourful aspect of the Oil Industry Awards Night was corporate sponsorship awards.
In the first category, diamond sponsors for NAICE 2019 was won by Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and Seplat. This is the highest in terms of sponsorship. Astoundingly, the indigenous companies that benefited from divestment were involved in this category.
Companies that won platinum sponsors for NAICE 2019, were Chevron Nigeria Limited, Shell companies in Nigeria, ExxonMobil, Nestoil, Baker Hughes a GE company and Eko Hotel.
The gold sponsors were Total E&P, SNEPCo, AMNI, ENERGIA, Schlumberger, NAPIMS, NIPEX, Century Group, Petroleum Energy, OANDO among others. While silver sponsors were First E&P, AOS Orwell limited, DPR, Thompson and Grace Investment, Platform Oil, Zenith Bank among others.
SPE Oloibiri Lecture and Energy Forum, OLEF, named after the first oil well in Nigeria is an annual workshop where burning issues about the oil industry are deliberated and solutions proffered. The 2019 sponsors are: Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Petroleum Trust Development Fund, PTDF, and ExxonMobil Nigeria. These companies were appreciated for their contributions and sponsorship of OLEF.
Indeed, it was a night of many awards and the memento will linger in the minds of organisers, sponsors and award recipients.