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Eight Nigerian Academics, Seven Others Inducted As Shell Renews Sabbatical, Research Positions



Eight Nigerian Academics, Seven Others Inducted As Shell Renews Sabbatical, Research Positions

Rashidat Olushola Okunlade Writes

Fifteen Nigerian academics and research interns have been inducted into a one-year sabbatical and research internship program at a ceremony held recently at the Port Harcourt Headquarters of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC).

The ceremony marks the resumption of the annual program after it was suspended in 2021 following restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drawn from eight Nigerian universities, the academics comprise three professors, two associate professors, and three senior lecturers on one-year sabbatical; while another seven research interns will conduct research in identified areas – including environment, health, oil spill remediation, and community studies – and share their findings within the period of the program with SPDC joint venture for application in the industry.

The seven interns are participants who have been given placements to enable them to undergo the compulsory six months supervised internship, a requirement for the award of a master’s degree from the NNPC-Shell-sponsored Centre of Excellence in Geosciences and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Benin.

Eight Nigerian Academics, Seven Others Inducted As Shell Renews Sabbatical, Research Positions
Group photograph of Eight Nigerian Academics, Seven Others Inducted As Shell Renews Sabbatical, Research Positions.

“We are glad that the SPDC – with support from our joint venture partners of NNPC Limited, Total Energies, and Nigerian Agip Oil Company – has resumed this very important program after the restrictions forced on us by the COVID-19 pandemic. These inductees continue a sabbatical and internship program that started in 1980 and continues to form a key aspect of our effort to contribute to the development of higher education in Nigeria,” SPDC Director and Head of Corporate Relations, Mr. Igo Weli, disclosed.

Weli said, “This annual program is of mutual benefit because SPDC JV obtains specialised services from the professors and senior lecturers, while they, in turn, acquire industry experience and exposure to new technologies that are then ploughed back to the university curriculum.”

Highlighting the benefits to the academia, professor of Ecotoxicology and Hydrobiology from the University of Port Harcourt, Mrs. Ijeoma Vincent-Akpu (who has been assigned to SPDC’s Environment Department), said of the program, “I am excited about this opportunity to gain industry experience. I have assessed environmental impacts as a researcher working with the communities. During this sabbatical, I will now be able to assess the impacts of working with the industry. SPDC has a robust program on environmental management and I am looking forward to an amazing learning experience.

Dr. Irom Bassey Okey from the Cross River University of Technology, Calabar, said, “I am also excited to be here because I have worked in the university environment all my career. Now, I have this great opportunity to deepen the research side of my career.”

The sabbaticals spoke of the eagerness to join SPDC’s work towards achieving the goal of providing energy solutions in a manner that will be environmentally responsible while also gathering hands-on experiences and knowledge.

Other sabbatical inductees are from Federal University of Technology, Akure; Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike, Ikwo; Covenant University, Ota; Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island; University of Benin, Benin City; and Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt.

Also, two of the research interns from the Centre of Excellence, University of Benin, Okiemute Enaughe and Victoria Onoakpogbunuke Ovueferie, said the internship program supports the development of local talent and capacity in the petroleum industry in Nigeria.

Victoria said, “By providing hands-on experience and access to experienced professionals, it equips us with the skills and knowledge necessary to drive the industry forward.”

They pledged on behalf of other research interns to contribute creatively and to take advantage of the learning opportunities provided.

The annual sabbatical and internship programs help Nigerian academics and postgraduate students to build industry knowledge and understanding in such fields as biodiversity, petroleum engineering, geophysics, environmental impact assessment, community, and occupational health, oil spill remediation, social performance, oil, and gas exploration.


Seplat Energy In The Eyes Of Storm: The Lies, The Facts



Seplat Energy grows 2021 full-year gross profit by 128.9% to N114.2bn

By Edmond Esi

The Nigerian media space has for the past few days occupied with recurrent stories about Seplat Energy Plc, Nigeria’s leading independent energy provider that is listed on both the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.

Lately, this indigenous global brand has suffered spurious, smear campaign in the media. The rate at which top line news medium in Nigeria has been publishing contentious editorial content capable of eroding the corporate goodwill, and even sink the corporate entity called Seplat Energy, leaves much to be desired. The media however, cannot be blamed, they published what was available to them due to non-response vacuum.

However, from the initial details published in most of the online and offline media, there were allegations that range from racism against the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Roger Brown, who has stepped aside; there was indictment of infringement on poor governance in the organisation, there were claims of forced resignations and sacking of Nigerian staff based on discriminatory policies. Also, there was alleged enforcement of manipulative ranking scheme in the company, and there was allegation of different retirement ages for Nigerians and expatriates and other sundry claims.

The news of the deportation of the Seplat CEO Mr. Roger Brown, a British national, by the Federal Government of Nigeria, caught global attention. It has created some discomfort in the diplomatic community and is capable of stirring diplomatic row between Nigeria and United Kingdom, especially if the UK government decides to retaliate against millions of Nigerians working in their country. More so, it may affect the drive for foreign direct investment as foreigners may not want to invest or live in a country that may treat them shabbily based on frivolous charges that were not thoroughly investigated.

A part of the stories coming out also pitched Seplat against the host communities who are being alleged to be up in arms against the leading independent energy provider.

The reality now is that all the media allegations have been found to be a result of high wired boardroom brawl being climaxed strategically with media war. According to a veritable source at Seplat who craved anonymity, some disgruntled outgoing members of the board who were part of the re-organisation otherwise termed “Transformational Agenda’ jointly embarked upon after the appointment of Mr. Brown, are now fighting back when the transformational policies they created are now biting them.

These powerful forces made up of principally indigenous retired executive and non-executive directors, have managed to infiltrate the management; polarizing the system along tribal and portfolio lines.

The allegation that must have irked the Ministry of Interior the most is that Mr. Brown’s work permit is fake, expired or illegally obtained; which are not so.

When the Immigration Service were to decide on the matter, Brown was said to have deliberately absented himself despite being served invitations. Sources familiar with the case said that though the letters inviting Mr. Roger Brown by the Ministry of Interior were delivered to Seplat, but those bent on seeing Brown out of position ensured the letter never got to him. Those who know Brown said he would not have disrespected the Ministry of Interior as the situation portrays him.

There is more going on at Seplat than meets the eye. For instance, on the allegations of racism laid against Mr. Roger Brown, Seplat’s Chief Executive Officer who has been asked to step aside, his visa and work permit withdrawn, the Hon Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola was fed with pack of lies that bordered on racial discrimination and nationalism sentiment.

These disgruntled forces are ready to tear down the corporate entity called Seplat; believing that they have nothing to lose. They recruited and bank rolled some young men and women and formed them into a concerned non-governmental organisation (NGO). It is this so-called NGO they are using to push their agenda. According inside sources, part of the brief to this NGO is to awash the media with calumny campaign that will put Seplat in the public court, weep up spirit of nationalism against the firm’s top management actions and inactions, and make the firm to lose public confidence and goodwill locally and in the international community.

The campaign initially affected the value of the firm’s stock price at the London Stock Exchange but it later picked up when it became obvious that the bad press was the handiworks of people who had been consumed by the re-engineering going on in the firm.

“Most of these people were perpetrating some dubious transactions, sponsoring local contractors and suppliers who are not ready to follow due process. Our best-practice structures, uncompromising accountability policy, ethics and excellence principles will not allow us to work against acceptable global practice. That is why some people are fighting us dirty, because it is no longer business as usual.

“Mr Brown was the immediate past chief financial officer, and is aware of some of these unacceptable norms. The board and management sat when Mr. Brown became the CEO, and jointly agreed on the way forward from the old order. That is what brought out the “Transformational Agenda that is now in practice and has become a thorn in the flesh of some hitherto powerful forces”, explained an anonymous source in top management of the firm.

As the Seplat case is becoming more and more interesting, critical stakeholders within the oil and gas operative environment who have been following the developments are now coming out to say “enough is enough”. They are coming out to lay bare the facts based on their relationship with the firm and their understanding of the true situation of things.

These concerned stakeholders include: Empower Nigeria, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) dedicated to the protection and enhancement of civil liberties, and, Seplat Awesome Women’s Network, SWAN, a body of Seplat women employees, and predominantly made up of Nigerian employees.

In a statement posted on Seplat social media platform, the women employee group stated that “some certain petitions to the Ministry of Interior and the courts against Brown, were false allegations and blatant lies”. For instance, SWAN explained in the post that the age retirement differences between staff engaged in England and those working in Nigeria are matters of applicable laws between Nigeria and the UK. This is one of the contentious areas. “The different retirement ages for Nigerians and foreign nationals is not discriminatory but a dictate of the law. The company explained that the practice on retirement age is driven by local laws. For instance, employees working in Nigeria – both local and expatriate retire at age 60 in line with Nigerian law while the maximum retirement age in UK private sector is 65”. Board squabbles tend to reflect the interests of board members. Sometimes external influences that want to get into or get at a company can put some of its members up to internal fights.

On the other hand, Empower Nigeria, in a statement, said it launched an investigation with the determination to get to the bottom of the issues thrown up by these allegations and in the process, unveiled the truth. According to the statement signed by the Spokesperson for Empower Nigeria, Mr. Yemi Aderemi,

“The claim of forced resignations and sacking of Nigerian staff based on discriminatory policies, was not true. As against this claim, there was no mass sack or forced retirements of Nigerians at Seplat with Roger Brown as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The true state of affairs is that between 2020 and 2022, eight Nigerian staff of the company voluntarily resigned or opted to take early retirement in the exercise of their rights as spelt out and protected by the law. Their decision was conveyed to the management of the company in writing via official channels. Seplat paid the affected staff generous end of service benefits and thereafter made appropriate notifications to NUPRC in accordance with Notification schedule as per their exit.

“Allegation of enforcement of manipulative ranking scheme was not also true. We found out that this allegation is not supported by facts but is a product of a hunting expedition. Arising from the observations and input made by the staff on the need to review the former 5-point ranking system which the staff considered to limit opportunities especially around the 75 per cent cut off mark required for promotion, management reviewed and replaced it with a 3-point ranking scheme.”

The statement further said that the aim of the 3-point scheme (Outstanding Strong and Average), was to ensure that staff rewards are tied to results which are transparent and verifiable. More importantly, it laid to rest staff complaints about the 5-point system which they believe limited opportunities for promotion.

The claim that the Average rating applied only to Nigerian staff is untrue as out of the 5% of staff (24 persons) ranked Average, includes an expatriate. This is without prejudice to the fact that expatriates constitute a small part of the entire workforce of over 500 workers in the company.

“The claim that Seplat operates different retirement age for Nigerian and expatriate staff, is an allegation that is false and a disingenuous ploy to sow seeds of discord among the staff of the company. The retirement policy of the company is not discriminatory but is based on the laws of Nigeria stipulating that all employees from Nigeria retire at 60 years. This has been the practice in Seplat since it commenced operations” Empower Nigeria stated.

The concerned NGO further averred that “given the delicate nature of these claims and its implications for industrial harmony, it is our considered position that news organisations who publicised these allegations should carry out thorough investigation to ascertain the veracity of the claims therein. This is in the interest of equity, fairness and justice. Seplat has been an exemplary player within the country’s oil sector. The current attempt to impugn its hard earned reputation is indeed regrettable”, the statement further explained.

Seplat, once prided as the best-governed and biggest Nigerian-home grown company, has 515 employees – regular and direct contract. Only 24 of these are non-Nigerians from other nationalities. This is verifiable on the company’s website. So where is the local content accusation against the CEO Mr. Brown coming from, as he was alleged to have sacked the majority of Nigerians and replaced them with Europeans and Asians? In the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) made up of 14 executives, only 4 are Foreigners. This is compliant with the Local Content Laws operative in the oil & gas industry.

Those who orchestrated this smear campaign did not stop at damning Mr. Brown, they are also out to impugn the impeccable character of the Independent Non-Executive Board Chairman Mr. Basil Omiyi.

It is foolhardy to believe Omiyi who fought hard to promote indigenous ownership and participation of Nigerians in the oil and gas industry, was dominated majorly by foreigners at Royal Dutch Shell where he rose through the ranks to become the first indigenous Nigerian Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company, and later became the Country Chairman of Shell till 2009, will now connive with Mr. Brown to perpetrate racism against fellow Nigerians as being alleged in the media reports in circulation?.

The business of Seplat is built on an effective corporate governance framework and corporate governance standards. These standards dictate how Seplat operates as a business and how the firm is governed. Seplat owns seven oil blocks, produced 44,104 boepd (working interest) in 2022, and had 438 MMboe 2P reserves at the end of the year.



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NLNG Joins U.N. Group To Reduce Methane Emissions, Pursues Decarbonisation



NLNG Refutes Online Publication By Nigerian Daily

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) has joined the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP 2.0), a partnership coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to reduce methane emissions and improve the accuracy and transparency of methane emissions reporting.

The move is a further step in NLNG’s commitment to decarbonisation.

According to NLNG’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Philip Mshelbila, the Company had signed an MoU with UNEP in the last quarter of 2022, stating that the signing demonstrated the Company’s commitment to reducing methane emissions from its operations as part of its decarbonisation journey.

He said the Company was proudly committing to annual reporting and phased reduction of its methane emissions, and decarbonisation which would secure a future for the Company and its stakeholders through a cleaner and greener energy mix that will include gas.

He added that NLNG was already implementing a comprehensive program for reporting and reducing its methane emissions, utilising the latest industry technologies to track its progress and performance.

Dr Mshelbila stated further that NLNG’s decarbonisation journey would strengthen customers’ and stakeholders’ trust in the Company’s ability to take responsibility for the environment in which it operates and its ability to remain competitive globally.

The OGMP is recognised globally as the most significant voluntary initiative for companies in the oil and gas industry to systematically reduce their methane emissions and demonstrate the reduction in a credible manner to all stakeholders.

In a message to welcome NLNG, the group stated that it was excited about NLNG’s membership as Nigeria is a significant producer of natural gas and one of the biggest contributors to Africa’s LNG production.

“OGMP 2.0 covers 55% of Africa’s oil and gas production. 75% of all methane emissions from oil and gas companies in the continent can be mitigated – 45% of them at no net cost. To meet that target, we invite other companies in the sector to follow the steps of NLNG and join OGMP 2.0.,” the group stated.

NLNG is an incorporated Joint Venture owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by Nigerian National Petroleum Company (49%), Shell Gas B.V.  (25.6%), TotalEnergies Gaz & Electricite Holdings (15%), and Eni International N.A. N. V. S.àr.l (10.4%).



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New Energy Security Scenarios Explore How The World Could Evolve



Shell Starts Production At Vito In US Gulf Of Mexico

Shell plc has today published its latest scenarios: the Energy Security Scenarios. The two new scenarios explore how the world could evolve following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Specifically, they look into the possible energy and climate outcomes that could result from a world that has security as its dominant concern.

Shell Scenarios are not predictions or expectations of what will happen, or what will probably happen. They are not expressions of Shell’s strategy, and they are not Shell’s business plan; they are one of the many inputs used by Shell to stretch thinking whilst making decisions.

The first scenario, called Archipelagos, follows how today’s pressures could play out to the end of the century. National interest remains key and renewables are mainly seen as a way to improve energy security. By 2100, net-zero emissions is within sight, but the world has failed to meet the goal of the Paris Agreement. This scenario is “exploratory”: it seeks to plot a course from where the world stood in 2022.

The second scenario, called Sky 2050, shows just how fast the world must move to meet the goal of the Paris Agreement. Global climate security becomes the primary concern. Nations race to switch to cleaner energy and a competitive landscape emerges for technology, minerals, and manufacturing capacity. Competition drives rapid change and the world reaches net-zero emissions in 2050. This scenario is “normative” and extremely challenging: it set goals of net-zero emissions by 2050 and warming restricted to below 1.5°C by 2100, and then worked back to the realities of 2022 to explore how these endpoints could be reached.

Key points from the Energy Security Scenarios include:

  • Fossil fuels lose market share. The energy system is decarbonising, the question is: how fast?
  • There is no realistic path to an instant and steep drop in emissions.
  • The average temperature rise is highly likely to breach 1.5°C.
  • The future of energy is electricity, although hydrogen and bioenergy have significant roles to play.
  • Bringing the temperature rises back down below 1.5°C will require large-scale carbon removal and storage.

Scenarios are informed by data, constructed using models, and contain insights from leading experts in the relevant fields. Ultimately, for all readers, scenarios are intended as an aid to making better decisions. They stretch minds, broaden horizons and explore assumptions.

Explore the Energy Security Scenarios, including a summary, at to find out more.

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