April 20, 2010

Fajemirokun ventures into upstream sector

By Kunle Adekoya

LAGOS — One of Nigeria’s leading industrialists, Chief Dele Fajemirokun, is set to move into the upstream oil and gas sector of the nation’s economy. The business entrepreneur, who recently celebrated his 60th birthday in Nice, France, disclosed this exclusively in Lagos to newsmen.

Fajemirokun, who recently got appointed as a director on the board of First Hydrocarbon Nigeria Limited an indigenous company seeking to develop assets from the majors, assured that he is set to invest personal capital in supporting the company’s ambition to develop a number of under-developed fields currently not producing to their full potentials.

He is the son of Nigeria’s first indigenous industrialist, Dr Henry Stephens Fajemirokun, who championed Nigerians ownership of companies and assets following the nation’s independence.

Fajemirokun noted that it is about time that Nigeria had an indigenous oil and gas champion, operating to international standards and with access to sufficient capital to take ownership of significant assets and take them to production.

The chairman of several companies including Aiico Insurance Plc, Xerox HS and Kings Guards Nigeria Limited opined that “with the majors retreating to deep offshore fields and the growing technical capacity in the market, the time is right for Nigerians to take back direct ownership of the resource that drives our economy more than any other.”

Dr Fajemirokun commended Nigerians for doing well in the oil servicing areas over time but challenge for greater ambition and participation in the upstream sector.

According to him First Hydrocarbon Nigeria Limited will offer Nigeria the unique opportunity of a totally indigenous participation in the upstream sector as the company has established a perfect vehicle with which this indigenisation of the upstream sector can be achieved.

” It is disappointing that, until now, we have not had an upstream operator listed on the stock exchange” he added.

Chief Fajemirokun revealed that First Hydrocarbon Nigeria (FHN) Limited is 40% owned by Afren Nigeria and the remaining 60% of the equity is held by First City Monument Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank, with a commitment to sell on further equity to other Nigerian Shareholders and ultimately to the Nigerian public.

While commending FHN for its stated ambition to offer Nigerians an opportunity to directly invest in the upstream sector for the first time, Dr Fajemirokun also lauded the company for possessing the desired management expertise and technical partnership with Afren Plc, a London FTSE 250 oil and gas independent with strong assets and experience in Nigeria.

“Afren will act as the technical partner to FHN, continuing their track record of taking assets from exploration, through appraisal and development to first oil in world class timeliness” he concluded.