Unassuming oil & gas giant turns 60 – The Sun Nigeria
From Uche Usim, Abuja
When the story of Nigeria’s gas development is told, the name Engr. Emeka Okwuosa would certainly deserve a prominent mention as a key player in Nigeria’s boldest gas contract, the $ 2.8 billion 614 km Ajaokuta Kaduna Kano (AKK) gas pipeline project.
Okwuosa is the Executive Chairman of Oilserv Limited, Frazimex Energy Services Limited, Frazimex Engineering Limited, Frazpower Limited and Frazoil Limited. Not only is he an engineer involved in the construction of high-tech industrial plants, but also a farmer who, with his company Excel Farms Limited, wants to solve the nightmare of food insecurity in Nigeria.
The company is involved in innovative agricultural projects that include cassava and tomato cultivation, including full industrial processing facilities.
His name may not ring a bell in the social arena because his businesses are hidden in secluded bushes and swamps, but his accomplishments do. Plus, he’s not crazy about advertising as he prefers his projects to speak for themselves.
He was born 60 years ago in Oraifite, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State. He attended Community Boys Secondary School in the same city before going to at Ife University, where he graduated in Electronics and Electrical Engineering in 1982.
With many iron ingots in the furnace, he’s engaged in pipeline engineering, procurement and construction, project management, seismic acquisition, drilling services, wire logging and interpretation, maintenance and operations.
Okwuosa is also deeply involved in philanthropy, which is why he founded the Sir Chukwuemeka Okwuosa Foundation, a charity that takes its contributions in the fields of education, road construction, erosion control, water, electricity and health care. The foundation built the Dame Nneka Okwuosa Medical Center, an N1 billion healthcare facility in his hometown of Oraifit.
Okwuosa has provided over N 100 million for educational development in his home state of Anambra. He sponsors the biennial international workshops on scientific development and plans to build the first science park of its kind in Africa. He also sponsors the PETAN Roundtable at the annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, USA.
Indeed, its footprints are indelible in the global hydrocarbon subsector, with a higher presence in oil and gas pipeline networks.
As a well-traveled expert, Okwuosa has worked in Europe (France and Scotland), North Africa (Libya), West Africa (Mauritania, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana), Gulf of Guinea / Central Africa (Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo and Angola) and Indonesia in various functions, from field service technician to technical manager.
His best-known company, Oilserv Limited, went fully operational in 1995 and worked exclusively for Shell for five years.
That was after working for Schlumberger Worldwide and returning to Nigeria in 1994 with a vision of expanding the country’s technical oil and gas services capabilities.
Oilserv began building river pipelines for Shell and eventually began building long-distance lines and pipelines for Shell. He then delved into the construction of facilities such as distribution stations, including the largest such facility in Nigeria.
After the deal with Shell, his company diversified to work for other international oil companies (IOCs) and for Nigerian LNG servicing their pipeline transmission systems. The company is known for its strong technical background due to its vision and experience.
His company has grown to the point that his services include entire pipelines and flowlines of all sizes. The vast majority of the pipelines it is building today are primarily gas, rather than oil, as more and more gas pipelines are being built as distribution systems across the country.
How did he build such a strong company despite the challenges inherent in Nigeria?
“I have a strong technical background; That’s why Oilserv is driven by my vision as an engineer. We started long before the Local Content Act was passed and were already competing with international companies to get jobs and deliver them efficiently. The high quality of our delivery has given us a strong track record, but it’s not just about delivery as we are cost effective too. We deliver far more favorable results than the multinationals and our solid technical background is why.
“We have trained our employees in the use of a range of high-performance and specialty equipment from the start, and we continue to do so. We select between 30 and 40 graduates for our graduate program each year, “he said, adding,” We are the most important indigenous construction company in the sector as we have built over 30 pipelines, far more than any other indigenous company . Oilserv is the only Nigerian company with the capacity to build 10 pipeline projects at a time and we are currently working on nine. We are also building a 48-inch diameter pipeline, the largest in Africa.
“We’re talking about a full EPC contract, including maintenance for the four months after construction, a capacity that no other contractor can provide. We employ more than 500 people and our activities are spread all over Nigeria, and we also have additional activities in other African countries. “
The AKK gas pipeline, in which Oilserv is heavily involved, is expected to be the game changer in the development of gas infrastructure in Nigeria as it has all the attributes of industrial incentives.
The production capacities in Nigeria today are severely limited by energy issues. The production with liquid fuel is far too expensive and unprofitable; The power supply to industry is completely inadequate. The AKK pipeline therefore has the potential to supply power plants with fuel energy in order to generate sufficient electricity for households and companies. The pipeline can also directly provide cleaner and cheaper gas energy to industry and commerce. In both cases, the AKK pipeline will enable the industrial sector of the economy to optimize its potential for growth, job creation and contribution to gross domestic product (GDP).
Analysts say the greatest value the AKK pipeline has is the government’s commitment to Nigerian content policies. Apart from the financing agreement, which inevitably includes Chinese content in the project, the entire scope of the project would have been supplied by the indigenous Oilserv consortium, which also supplied the even more demanding Obiafu-Obriko-Oben (OB3) pipeline on which the AKK pipeline is located is anchored.
Okwuosa says the consortium his company-led is working together to provide world-class EPC services to the NNPC and Nigeria, in line with the company’s track record of delivering world-class pipeline construction in even the toughest of terrain.
“Oilserv is a 100 percent local company with currently more than 600 employees. With this new AKK development, it is expected to be between 1,500 and 2,000 at the top of the personnel matrix.
“But the fact remains that we are ready. This is not the first project. We are putting the OB3 gas project, which is slightly larger in diameter, into operation. The OB3 is 48 inches in diameter. So we have the experience, we have the staff, we have the equipment and we are capable and we would deliver this project.
“More importantly, Oilserv’s involvement makes the project more realistic. The dependence on local know-how makes the infrastructure more sustainable and cost-effective, also with regard to a long-term maintenance plan. With the Oilserv consortium, the government would not experience maintenance problems akin to the impasse that plagues local refineries after the original builders refused to adhere to maintenance obligations. ”
Given that Nigeria’s university curriculum is not adapted to specific industries today, Oilserv is running a program that guides graduates in the right direction in the oil and gas industry by building capacity in-house and training people in quality delivery and customer satisfaction guaranteed.
Oilserv is one of the few companies with the ability to deploy and operate horizontal directional drilling systems to protect ecosystems, and the first to adopt automated and semi-automated welding systems on a large scale when 90 percent of today’s welding systems are still manual.
Okwuosa is a member of several professional bodies and associations, including the Council for the Regulation of Engineering of Nigeria (COREN), the Society of Professional Well Log Analysts (SPWLA), the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), and the Pipeline Professionals Association of Nigeria (TO PLAN). Others are the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), and the Institute of Directors (IoD).
Okwuosa received the OTC / PETAN Award of Excellence in Houston each year from 2009 to 2017; US Africa International Oil & Gas Leadership Award (Best of Africa) in 2013; PETAN’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015; Award of Excellence from the Nanotechnology Research Group of the Physics Department, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 2014 and 2016 and Nigeria Advancement Award for Creativity and Enterprise 2016.
He also received the Industrialist of the Year Award in 2016, the International Socrates Award in 2016, while Oilserv received the Oil & Gas Organization Award from the African Entrepreneurs Foundation in 2017. He is the recipient of the National Productive Order of Merit Award given by President Muhammadu. Buhari is awarded.
Okwuosa is a strong advocate of good systems for managing the industry. He also promotes a strong regulatory system fit for this purpose, one that adapts to the environment and changes in the global oil and gas industry.
He also believes the IOC divestment is encouraging to Nigerian players.