Presiding over the ministry of petroleum resources in Nigeria has often been akin to running the gauntlet. It hasn't been different for Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke who turned 52 on Wednesday. But she has managed the familiar cynicism with grace and a remarkable commitment to transforming the country's oil and gas industry, writes Crusoe Osagie
The days are long gone when women were simply defined through a prism that seemed to see just their limitations. Ask the Amazons in Team Jonathan. These women, the transformation drivers - if you like - represent the key pivots around which President Goodluck Jonathan plans to incept a new Nigeria, even against the background of curious negative scripts allegedly being pushed by shadowy forces to scuttle change. Of course, one of the key Amazons, by some coincidence from the creeks of Bayelsa State, is Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the minister for the strategic ministry of petroleum.
Last year, she scored a major first by emerging the first female to be awarded a honorary doctorate degree by the nation's premier defence institution, the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna, at the convocation ceremony for the 58th Regular Course Cadet and post-graduate students. There is more. Before now Mrs. Alison-Madueke emerged the first woman to hold the office of Minister of Petroleum Resources as well as the first female head of an OPEC country delegation to the annual OPEC meeting in the 51-year history of the organisation.
Appointed first female Honourable Minister of Transportation of the country in July 2007, she was charged with the responsibility of over-seeing the critical sector and acquitted herself well during that tenure. It could be recalled that in 2006, in recognition of her track record of excellence, she was appointed to the board of Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited, as External Affairs Director, making her the first female to be so appointed in the history of Shell Petroleum Development Company's business practice in Nigeria.
Perhaps, being born to an illustrious Ijaw family, noted for its integrity and tenacity of purpose has to no small extent rubbed off on her dreams and self discipline. Against the background of a surfeit of achievements garnered over several decades of her impressive, impactful, professional trajectory, good looks and associated adulations, many may see the lady from the creeks as a candidate for sainthood. But significantly nobody has heard her make such claims. "Whatever I apply myself to; it is with a vision that I may be remembered as one woman who worked hard to bring a better life to the greatest number of people and communities of our country as possible, in a way that they've never been impacted before," she had told THISDAY in a previous encounter.
Interestingly, the most focused in analyzing Diezani is usually confined to her activities in her latest tour of duty - the petroleum industry. But she declines any credits being directed at her and rather credits the president's agenda and vision. Nevertheless, its worthwhile looking at the grounds she has covered in the sector.
Within the period of Diezani's coming, the nation's crude oil production has been consistently maintained above the budgeted production level of 2.3 million barrels per day. This is direct fallout of the amnesty programme which has now allowed for the renewal of production activities in wells hitherto shut-in as a result of the Niger Delta crisis. Effort at increasing the nation's stock of crude has received major attention under her watch with the escalation of oil exploration activities in the Inland Sedimentary Basins especially in the Chad Basin. Already the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources are concluding arrangement for contract award for advanced seismic data acquisition and processing.
In all, the seven in-land basins of Bida, Gongola, Sokoto, Anambra, Dahomey, Chad and Benue are billed to benefit from the programme. Yet the drive to increase the nation's crude and gas reserve is not limited to the In-land Basin. As part of the effort at growing the capacity of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, eight producing blocks have been assigned to the company. With special support by the President for NPDC's operatorship of the blocks, the impact has been tremendous on the NPDC's growth aspiration with current production now averaging 80,000 barrels per day. A major enhancement of deepwater oil production was achieved as a result of the arrival of FPSO Usan into Nigerian waters. On completion of the subsea wells and facilities tie-in, oil production will increase by about 180,000 barrels per day.
Gas supply for power generation and industrial use has been sustained with supply outstripping demand both in the Western and Eastern axes. Available records indicate that the volume of gas available for power generation is unprecedented in the history of oil and gas in Nigeria. Renewed efforts at ensuring relevant Gas Supply Purchase Agreements are being executed in order to encourage upstream gas development. As at the last count - three Gas Supply & Purchase Agreements (GSPAs) have been signed among buyers, gas suppliers and Aggregator Company (Egbin / Shell / Chevron / PanOcean).
Contracts for the critical pipeline infrastructure for gas supply to Alaoji, Olorunsongo were awarded with projects' completion at the end of 2012. Upon completion, this would lead to the availability of additional gas to generate extra 2000MW of electricity. Approval has also been given to change the contracting strategy for OB3 gas pipeline, in order to expedite project execution.
The Brass LNG project is been fast-tracked - commercial bid evaluation for the Engineering Procurement and Construction contract has been completed. The gas supply challenges have also been resolved.
Under Diezani's watch, products supply has been sustained nationwide through a combination of offshore processing, SWAP arrangements and increased domestic refining. The first 100days has seen the re-streaming of Kaduna Refinery and sustained operation of Warri Refinery. The integrity of key product pipeline infrastructure (Kaduna-Kano, Kaduna-Gusau, Kaduna-Suleja) has been re-established. The impact of this is that more products are now available in inland depots, which will enable faster intervention when necessary. Security contracts awarded for the protection of a major crude oil supply pipeline (Escravos-Warri) to improve capacity utilization of Warri Refinery which has now achieved 70%.
Also there have been sustained efforts at increasing local refining capacity, through: revamping the existing refineries with a view to increasing their contribution to national demand of petroleum products. Engagement ongoing with original EPC contractors to ensure effective implementation of Turn-Around-Maintenance / Rehabilitation works. An NNPC team is currently in Japan to conclude the engagement of the original Engineering Procurement Construction, EPC contractor for Port Harcourt Refinery which will be the first to be so rehabilitated.
Greenfield refinery development: The detailed feasibility studies for the three Greenfield Refineries to be sited in Lagos, Kogi and Bayelsa have been concluded with preliminary report reviewed. The final report is scheduled for submission by end September 2011.
Nigerian Content Initiative
This important bill was signed into law on April 22, 2010 by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian Content Act is designed to ensure that Nigeria achieves the much desired In-country capacity in the oil and gas industry. This would guarantee that a huge chunk of the estimated $20 billion annual industry spent is domiciled in the country for the benefit of Nigerians and indigenous Nigerian Companies and Service Providers. Under the watch of the president, the Nigerian Content Development Board, NCDMB, which has the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources as Chairman of the Governing Council has ensured the escalation of the historic use of made-in-Nigeria pipelines by Exxon Mobil recently at its Edop - Idoho Offshore field and secured the placement of over 100 kilometers of pipelines orders in Nigeria's only pipe manufacturing company, SCC Abuja.
Further, it has ensured the increase of in-country fabrication tonnage from 1,000,000 in 2009 to 1,200,000 currently • There are advanced talks with Jiangsu Yulong of China to establish 250,000 tons per annum LSAW Pipe mill in Nigeria. A Nigerian Oil and Gas Employment and Training Strategy has been developed and this has resulted in the absorption of over 5000 engineers, geologists, welders and other skill sets into the industry and formed the basis of a national skill database. Nigerian content activities have already generated over 30,000 direct and indirect jobs and will surpass 300,000 within the next four years.
A Nigerian Content Development Fund has been established to be used for investment in Oil & Gas infrastructure, provide partial guarantee for service providers, manufacturers• NCDMB developed Indigenous Marine Vessel and Offshore Assets Acquisition Strategy will promote utilization of marine vessels and offshore rigs/equipment with genuine Nigerian ownership in all O&G operations to increase the participation of Nigerians, empower communities and maximize Nigerian crew. Also developed is the Original Equipment and Local Component Manufacturing Strategy to promote utilization of materials of Nigerian origin in oil and gas industry and ensure the establishment of equipment manufacturing plants that will employ thousands of Nigerians.
Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)
The period has witnessed sustained interaction with the National Assembly to ensure passage into law an oil reform legislation that will stand the test of time to the benefit of Nigeria, and give fair Return on Investment.
Regulatory Control and Monitoring
Considerable efforts have been made under the watch of. Alison-Madueke to ensure effective regulatory compliance in the Nigerian oil & Gas industry in the following areas:
Enforcement of flare penalty of $3.50/1000scf to discourage flaring and encourage commercialization of the gas that is being flared. •
The launch of the "Offshore Safety Permit (OSP)" to account for the safety and competencies of personnel who embark on swamp, offshore and deep offshore duties in line with the expectation of the Nigerian Content Policy.
The initiation of this program has brought about the establishment offshore training centre within the Nigeria. Completion of a pilot scheme of the National Production and Monitoring system (MPMS) aimed at ensuring independent real time production monitoring, accurate production accounting and to enhance efficiency in Terminal Operations in the country.
Diezani was born on 6th December, 1960, in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, to the family of His Royal Majesty, late Frederick Abiye and Chief Mrs Beatrice Agama from Yenaka, Yenagoa Local Government Area, of Bayelsa State. She completed her early education in Nigeria before proceeding to study Architecture in the United States. She completed her 5-year professional Architectural degree at Howard University, Washington D. C. Thereafter, she began her working career at Charles Szoradi Architects, moving on to American Interior Builders Inc. as Project Engineer, both in Washington D.C. In 1988, she joined Furman Construction Management Inc. Rockville, Maryland, as Design Coordinator, returning to Howard University as an in-house Project Manager and a member of the Planning and Development team responsible for the design and implementation of a comprehensive master building and renovation plan for the University.
In time, she joined Shell Petroleum Development Company in 1992 as Head of the Project Unit of the Estate Development Division in Lagos, supervising the refurbishing and Maintenance of the company's real estate in Lagos, Abuja and Jos. She later moved to the External Affairs Directorate as Head of the newly instituted Corporate Issues Identification and Management Department.
In 2002, she was awarded the prestigious British Foreign and Commonwealth Chevening Scholarship and preceded on sabbatical leave to The Judge Business Institute (then called "Judge Institute of Management") Cambridge University Hudges Hall, UK, where she obtained an MBA in 2003. On returning, she was appointed Shell Nigeria's Senior JV Relations Adviser for Strategy and Planning and then Lead Ventures Relation Adviser, managing the company's relations and reputation amongst its Joint Venture partners.
Alison-Madueke has held three significant Federal cabinet positions in the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria since 2007:
She is married with children to Rear Admiral Alison-Madueke (rtd), a former Governor of old Anambra and Imo States and a former Chief of Naval Staff of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.