The 21st Aret Adams Foundation Lecture Series

Some participants and dignitaries at the Aret Adams Foundation Lecture Series held in Lagos.

…Propagating a culture of excellence and advance the values and principles Aret Adams.

-Felix Douglas

Speaking at the 21st Aret Adams Memorial Lecture in Lagos with the theme: “Reinvigorating Investments in the Nigeria Oil and Gas Sector.” the Chairman of Aret Adam Foundation, Engr. Charles Osezua, made it known that over the last twenty-years, since the passing of Chief Aret Adams, the Foundation has organised the Aret Adams Foundation lecture series, in an effort to propagate a culture of excellence and advance the values and principles which defined the man, Aret. An earth scientist, who distinguished himself in his work. Aret, in his early days in Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), led efforts to exploit and open the frontier basins of Nigeria, and he recorded great successes, with six major discoveries offshore.

Osezua described Aret as a professional, pragmatist and a man of integrity, unambiguous in his speech, which made it easy for his peers and colleagues to believe in his words and trust him. “Hence, when crude oil price collapsed below $13.00 per barrel, in the mid 1980s, Aret renovated the joint operating agreements with the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to keep the rigs in Nigeria working on the back of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with great success. Thus, while most of the global oil producing countries were shut down, Nigeria was running.”

He stated further that as Managing Director of NNPC, he decided to introduce a group structure and merit system into the management and transformed the organization into a mega national corporation, able to compete globally, so Nigeria can truly take its place of pride amongst the comity of nations. This was where he ran into problems with the political class, and was retired in what the Nigerian government called, “in public interest.”

When Aret died in 2002, the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), decided to name the highest award for excellence in earth science after him. Thus, immortalizing him as the symbol of professional excellence.

Notwithstanding, the Foundation has organised the Aret Adams lecture series to advance the values and principles that guided his work. In this regard, it has the privilege of hosting a diverse array of individuals who have distinguished themselves in their fields of endeavours to talk on topical issues affecting the oil and gas industry. These have included; the Secretary General of OPEC, Ministers of Petroleum, Chief Executives and Captains of industries, who have come to share experiences and provide insights, on how to build a more resilient oil and gas industry for the good of the country.

This year, the Board of Trustees decided, instead of inviting current and serving leaders, to speak to the Foundation, resolved that it should invite instead people who can lead in retrospection, to help understand the role of value and regulation, in “Reinvigorating Investments in the Nigeria Oil and Gas Sector.” The reason for this is that over the last fifteen years, there has been steady decline in Nigeria’s ability to attract and retain foreign direct investment to the oil and gas sector. From a high of $22.2 billion in 2014, to $6.00 billion in 2021, and it is still declining. Also, troubling is the steady withdrawals and divestments of many IOCs. While divestments have created opportunities to deepen local, indigenous participation in the upstream, growth however constrained without capital. While it is not known for certain, the reason for this decline, indications are that it may not be unrelated to corporate governance and failures to adhere to the principles and values which guided business in the Aret Adams days.

According to the Aret Adams Foundation Chairman, it invited a team of seasoned professionals, and entrepreneurs to speak on the recovery strategies to attract capital to re-invigorate the petroleum industry.

The Foundation has been involved in Research and Scholarship. To propagate excellence, the Foundation announced in 2023, its decision to establish two additional Professional Chairs, firstly at the University of Ibadan, in Geology and secondly, the Professional Chair for Entrepreneurship, and Business Development, at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. Although, the Ekpoma Chair is yet to take off because of some internal administrative issues at the university.

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