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Vanguard: Shell shops for new MD, Nigeria

By Hector Igbikiowubo
Posted to the Web: Monday, October 15, 2007

LAGOS — IN what appears to be a culmination of frustrations with production shut-ins in the Niger Delta area, dwindling fortunes and high level intrigues within top management of its Nigeria operations, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell, has commenced search for a new Managing Director for its operations in the country.

It was also reliably gathered that a decision may have been taken to fuse some of its upstream companies in the country such as Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) and Shell Nigeria Ultra-Deep (SNUD) into one to benefit from economies of scale.

Vanguard reliably gathered that these changes were currently  subject of discussions at the company’s corporate headquarters.

But there were indications that Mr. Basil Omiyi, the current Managing Director, may stay on as Country Chairman.

Vanguard gathered that the move to appoint a new Managing Director is strictly in line with the company’s system for change in leadership.

Omiyi has been in the employ of the company for 37 years having been employed in 1970 and he is now 61 years old. The statutory requirement for retirement from service in Nigeria is 35 years of service or the attainment of 60 years, whichever comes first.

Vanguard also gathered that the appointment of a new managing director would be made public before January 2008, while Omiyi would be allowed to stay on as ‘Country Chair’ to portray an air of stability. “This is the Shell way,” one source said.

Sources also said given the current state of affairs in the Niger Delta where production shut-ins have impacted the company’s fortunes in the last three years, it was only natural that certain measures be taken to mitigate the impact.

“The current structure of the company is robust and the returns on investment in the last three years do not support such a structure. Besides, there is nothing being done to suggest that the current crisis in the region may be addressed anytime soon,” he said.    
It is anticipated that in the event that the companies in the group are fused, there are likely to be job cuts, portfolio losses and attendant savings from harmonised operations.
Efforts made to contact Precious Okolobo, media spokesman of the company, proved abortive at press time.

Basil Omiyi was appointed Managing Director late 2004 and Country Chair Nigeria in August this year, the first Nigerian to hold each and both posts.

Between 1970 and 1982, he held various petroleum engineering positions in both SPDC and Shell UK, rising to the position of Chief Petroleum Engineer of the then Eastern Division in 1983. Three years later, he was appointed Head, Field Development and Operations for SPDC. For the next six years beginning in 1987, he was at Shell International offices, The Hague, Netherlands, on cross posting, where he served first as Head, Integrated Subsurface Team, and subsequently as Area Liaison Engineer for Middle East and Africa.

Omiyi returned to Nigeria in 1993 to assume the position of Operations Manager, from which he was appointed General Manager, Relations and Environment three years later. In 1999, he was appointed External Relations Director, and since 2002 has held the post of Production Director

He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Ibadan. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Petroleum Technology from the same university. He is married with children. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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