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The Task Ahead for Ogbe at the NCDMB

By Adaobi Rhema Oguejiofor

President Bola Tinubu on Thursday December 14 approved the appointment of Felix Ogbe as the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), in what was described as a momentous development for the agency and the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, ushering in a new era of leadership and vision for the Board.

Ogbe replaced Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, who had served for over seven years in office. The agency is severally described as one of the agencies under the Petroleum Resources Ministry that has been blessed with quality leadership since inception.

Described as an embodiment of knowledge of the oil and gas industries having risen to the management level in one of the most entrenched and formidable international oil companies before retirement, Ogbe comes with an impressive track record and a wealth of experience in the industry, and is poised to lead the NCDMB into a future marked by innovation, sustainability, and continued development. The newly appointed Executive Secretary has since assumed office and held his first official meeting with Directors and Management of the Board.

Who is Ogbe?

The recently appointed Executive Secretary hails from Warri South Local Government Area in Delta State and is a vastly experienced Oil and Gas Engineer with separate Masters Degrees in Civil Engineering and Construction Management.

He has over 37 years of experience in core oil and gas operations in Nigeria and local content operations, notably onshore and offshore, LNG, Water Drilling, Treatment and Storage Facilities, Civil, Building & Dredging Engineering, and other construction.

His experiences were garnered in Nigeria, across Africa, Busan in South Korea and the United States of America (USA), where he worked in the Conceptions, Engineering Designs, Project and Construction Management to Commissioning phases of numerous projects.

His work experiences include serving at Chevron Corporation, where he held top positions in Nigeria and overseas before he retired voluntarily in June 2014, to go into private business.  While at Chevron Nigeria Limited, he served as Construction Services Group Superintendent (Escravos-Warri) and was responsible for in-house construction services requirements to support the company operations.

He equally served as Offshore Projects Manager, where he was responsible for all Engineering designs, planning and execution of maintenance works and installation of new facilities to support productions in Chevron Nigeria Limited offshore locations. Among other assignments he held in Chevron included Construction Manager for Lagos & Escravos-Warri, Escravos Gas Project (EGP-3B), where he was responsible for the fabrication and installation of various sizes of pipelines and flowlines in offshore and onshore locations in the Niger Delta.

In his early years, he served as Construction Superintendent, responsible for Engineering designs and construction requirements and also worked as the Cost Control Engineer, responsible for all facility Engineering Division Projects’ cost controls, budgeting and cash calls.

Ogbe is a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Council of Registered Engineers, and American Institute of Civil Engineers.

Tasks before the new helmsman

Nigerian content witnessed several notable accomplishments under the leadership of the erstwhile Executive Secretary, Simbi Kesiye Wabote including raising local content in the oil and gas sector from 26 per cent in 2016 to 54 per cent by the end of 2023. The giant strides recorded in Nigerian content under the immediate past leadership became more significant in the face of obvious contraction of business activities in the Nigerian oil and gas industry in the last seven years, owing to security challenges, poor governance structure, global lethargy towards investments in the development of hydrocarbon, among other issues.

Other  notable achievements include: commissioning of NCDMB 17-Storey headquarters with 1000 – seater conference auditorium and multi-level car park in Yenagoa; introduction and implementation of Nigerian Content 10-Year Strategic Road Map; Enabling 50% domiciliation of $12bn NLNG Train 7 Project; Introduction of Service Level Agreements (SLAs)  between the Board and operating companies; Creation of US$450m Nigerian Content Intervention Fund; Introduction of Women in Oil and Gas Fund;  Introduction of US$50m Fund for Oil Industry Manufacturing; Modular Refinery Initiative (invested and facilitated the construction, and completion of Waltermith’s 5000 barrels per day (bpd) now in operation, invested in Azikel Group12,000 bpd hydro-skimming modular refinery; Atlantic International Refinery’s 2000 barrels plant and Duport Midstream’s 2,500bpd modular refinery). Others are construction of Oil & Gas Parks Scheme; Introduction of Project 100 Initiative; Development of Gas based projects; Construction of Oloibiri Museum and NCDMB Conference Centre among numerous other achievements.

Attention will now be focused on how the NCDMB leadership under Ogbe will sustain these achievements. No doubt, Ogbe’s new assignment is to steer strategic national programs being implemented by the board, to build capacity and domicile industry activities within Nigeria. He is expected to bring his global experience to bear in re-engineering the Board’s business processes to achieve maximum impact on Nigerian Content development.

As the new helmsman at the NCDMB, Ogbe inherits a mandate beyond traditional responsibilities. The board plays a pivotal role in driving local content development in the oil and gas sector, a critical aspect of Nigeria’s economic diversification and growth strategy. Ogbe’s leadership is expected to be instrumental in steering the NCDMB towards achieving its objectives in the face of evolving global dynamics and the energy transition.

One of the primary challenges facing the new helmsman is the need to enhance and enforce policies which promote the participation of Nigerian businesses in the oil and gas value chain. As the industry undergoes significant transformations globally with a growing emphasis on sustainable practices and renewable energy sources, Ogbe will need to guide the NCDMB in adapting to these changes while ensuring that the interests of local businesses are protected and advanced.

Another key task ahead involves fostering strategic collaborations and partnerships with both local and international stakeholders. Ogbe’s ability to build and strengthen relationships with industry players, regulatory bodies and the government will be crucial in creating an ecosystem that supports the growth of indigenous companies and encourages foreign investment in the Nigerian energy sector.

Furthermore, Ogbe is expected to champion innovation and technological advancement within the NCDMB. As the industry evolves, embracing digitalization and cutting-edge technologies will be paramount to enhancing efficiency, reducing costs and positioning Nigeria as a competitive player in the global energy market.

In the realm of capacity development, Ogbe faces the challenge of equipping the NCDMB workforce with the skills and knowledge necessary for the demands of a rapidly changing industry. Investing in training initiatives will be essential to empower and create a skilled workforce capable of driving the sector’s growth.

The success of the board during and after this transition period will also be hinged on its collaboration with the media. The Ogbe-led management needs the partnership of the media to sustain the local content gains achieved by the board so far as the board cannot achieve its goals alone without the collaboration of all the stakeholders, particularly the media.

In the coming years, all eyes will be on the Executive Secretary as he navigates these challenges and leads the NCDMB into a future characterized by sustainable development, increased local content and a resilient energy sector. As the torchbearer for progress, Ogbe’s tenure is poised to be a defining chapter in the history of the NCDMB and a catalyst for positive change in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.