Chairman of Oilserv Group, Sir Emeka Okwuosa, (l) received by HE President Muhammadu Buhari

Emeka Okwuosa: Outstanding recognition for emissary of power

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Sopuruchi Onwuka

Chairman of Oilserv Group, Sir Emeka Okwuosa, is an unusual Nigerian who stands out among the very few Africans who are distinguished by their exceptional capacity for value creation and contributions towards the growth of standards in their professional and business practices.

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Though always quiet and calm like a nuclear catalyst, Dr Okwuosa is latent with immense strength which finds expression in enterprises that exceed goals in value creation, service standards and capacity advancement.

Chairman of Oilserv Group, Sir Emeka Okwuosa

In a continent where most people seek prominence and wealth by fighting for political positions and opportunities to feed from national resources, it might sound weird or unbelievable to celebrate any individual who has successfully taken the sole path of self development and career progression to silently arrive the podium of international acclaim and national eminence.

In the recent award of national honours to deserving patriots, Sir Emeka Okwuosa earned himself the medal of Commander of Order of the Niger (CON), the second highest wrung of honours in the civilian cadre.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for deeming me and Oilserv fit and deserving the national award of Commander of Order of the Niger (CON). I believe strongly that this is an award that takes into account the contribution of Oilserv and my personal contributions in the country; whether in oil and gas or in other areas of Nigeria’s economic and social development,” Sir Okwuosa explained in an interview with newsmen.

His evaluation of the award summarizes the composite value of his professional successes as engineer and businessman as well as the capacity and adeptness of the Oilserv Group in delivering positive impact on the nation’s socio-economy.

It is therefore in consideration of his cumulative value creation in the country that His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, considered Sir Emeka Okwuosa for the elevated honour of CON.  And for someone stepping up for the national honours for the first time the award is a very strong leap! Most recipients in the same category have had about three shots at national honours before scaling up to CON.

The contributions of the company in the Nigerian socio-economic development transcend the huge investments and laudable projects in the different sectors of the economy. They include social interventions in providing rural infrastructure to communities, scholarships to indigent students, building of schools and hospitals to provide education and healthcare services to the underprivileged in the society, sponsorships of specialized treatment of complicated heath situations and provision of relief materials to communities afflicted by insecurity and sundry disasters.

The Oilserv brand with which Sir Okwuosa is visible, a home grown engineering firm playing in petroleum facility and infrastructure development, has since advanced to become the poster face of  government’s policy aspirations on building Nigerian capacity for industry jobs.

And from quality standards to scale and complexity of projects, Oilserv has adequately lived up to the plate. It has successfully displaced multinational firms like Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Halliburton and Saipem from onshore pipeline projects in the country. And that has successfully addressed the economic problems of capital repatriation and job exports associated with the foreign service firms.

According to Sir Okwuosa, “Oilserv has achieved a lot in the country over the past 25 year of its operations. The reason is that we deploy experienced staff and add determination to make a difference in the oil and gas industry and then in other sectors and areas of the entire country.”

He attributed the success for the company and its workforce on knowledge, capacity and determination; adding that the company operates on global scale project quality templates where the best possible is the only choice.

“Yes, we have been involved in many projects; and we have been able to deliver many difficult projects: difficult in technical, difficult in environment and difficult sometimes because of the politics of what we do as human beings and organizations, and also difficult due to issues of security.

“So we have been able to overcome very difficult situations and deliver projects to our very valued customers and clients. Oilserv has built several pipelines in difficult terrains: some on land, some in swamps and some on mountains and some across rivers. So I am delighted that a Nigerian company can develop the necessary skill sets and capacity that would enable development of oil and gas facilities of world class standards,” he noted.

Oilserv crew deploying pipeline laying technology to bypass a difficult terrain

Thus, with locally evolved innovations, technical skill, ingenuity and value focused enterprise models; Oilserv Group projects Africa capacity in the global competition for engineering, procurement, installation and construction (EPIC) projects in the infrastructure development space. The company also delivers the best value for the domestic economy in terms of project cost efficiency, full Nigerian content consumption and stimulus to local productivity.

In an industry where the government policy of local content came under criticism for cost jump potentials, indigenous firms like Oilserv have not only dispelled such fears but also proved that the Nigerian Content policy is good for business, good for the clients, good for the economy and good for the people.

Therefore, Sir Okwuosa stands out as titan of “EPIC” proportions who has championed realization of key national aspirations for development of robust indigenous capacity as the core basis for sustained economic growth. EPIC here describes him in the double sense of national hero and engineering contractor. He also stands unassailably tall as one of Nigeria’s symbols of philosophy, enterprise, innovation, expertise, philanthropy, social service and patriotism.

In attributing his recognition for national award to the values created by Oilserv Group, Emeka Okwuosa inadvertently points at his creative capacity and vision in building a business that has become a critical economic factor in the country.

Every discernible observer understands that it takes discipline and perseverance to establish and groom enterprises into operational viability. It further takes intelligence and expertise to adopt and deploy processes that deliver goals. Sir Emeka Okwuosa has not only staked huge assets in a range of highly diversified enterprises that are hosted in the Oilserv Group, he has also led a management process that guarantees delivery of goals: pursuing growths that optimize capacity and create value across many sectors of the economy.

In the Nigerian petroleum industry, Engr Emeka Okwuosa is printing indelible capacity footprints by delivering complex technology intensive projects that establish solid infrastructural foundation for the nation’s industrial and broader economic development.

From his professional pedigree in oilfield services, Engr Okwuosa has conceived, evolved, groomed and grown the Oilserv Group into a conglomerate of diversified business portfolios. And companies in the group lead innovation in different sectors of the nation’s economy, expand indigenous capacity limits, and propel investments that transform into platforms for satisfactory services and job creation for teeming Nigerian youths.

Today, the Oilserv brand has lived out the policy dream of recovering and domiciling industry project capacity in the local economy while using industry budgets to patronize local goods and services. The policy goal of job domestication is wound around the economic principle of demand and supply, where demand forms the strongest incentive for production.

Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr Simbi Wabote, has taken every opportunity to explain that using big ticket industry budgets in delivering projects forms the most effective ways of incentivising investments in local production of goods and services consumed in the industry.

Sir Okwuosa with the ES NCDMB, Engr Simbi Wabote

Engr Wabote has remained insistent that continuous demand for local goods and services is the only route out of the country’s importation trap, explaining that strong demand would inevitably command investments in local production and supply.

Besides stimulus for domestic productivity, rising indigenous capacity for project delivery has successfully contributed to dismantling the enclave structures of the upstream and midstream petroleum industry and expanded linkages between the petroleum industry and the domestic economy.

As indigenous capacity signpost, Oilserv has not only proven the speed and cost efficiency of procuring oil industry services in-country, it has also demonstrated abundant and convincing skills in management of crises associated with the operating environment, enabling delivery of key industry projects in time and on budget even at times of heightened security concerns in of the country.

The rapid growth of the company into the status of leading diversified service provider in the petroleum industry points at industry trust that has been earned and established by track record of performance and service quality. And this has enabled the company to rapidly spawn sister affiliates that are centric on specified niche plays in other sectors of the economy.

Oilserv has grown into a diversified multinational holding company offering services in and outside Nigeria; with strong presence in the Republic of Benin, Uganda, Kenya, Canada, USA, and other countries. It is now an African company with Nigerian origin. Some of the local and foreign affiliates of the Oilserv Group are Frazimex Engineering Limited, Frazoil Exploration and Production (E & P) Limited, Ekcel Farms Limited, and Crown Energy Resources Limited.

Obviously leading the group is Oilserv Limited, an EPIC contractor specializing in infrastructure and facility development mainly in the global petroleum industry.

Oilserv Limited has consistently demonstrated unassailable capacity for world class quality in material and services while defying sentiments by keenly competing for opportunities in the international industry stage.

The company is strongly supported in the global EPIC job competition by its own performance pedigree for quality of service and cost efficiency. Despite being an indigenous company with comparably low influence on foreign operating companies, Oilserv has since upstaged behemoths like Schlumberger, Halliburton and other service companies in the bid to deliver technically challenging projects like the Obiafu-Obrikomn-Oben (OB3) and the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline projects.

Having overshadowed traditional service giants in its niche play, the Oilserv Limited has since consolidated on its outstanding service record with multinationals like Shell, Total, AGIP, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), Agip, and a number of independent petroleum and power companies in Nigeria and abroad.

The company, according to Sir Okwuosa, is prepared and has taken position to participate in the two proposed cross national pipelines: the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) and the Trans-Moroccan Gas Pipeline (TMGP).

Sister Frazimex Engineering Limited is an engineering design company whose services cover pipeline development services, facilities development, civil engineering works, instrumentation, and other services.

Next in the Oilserv Group is Frazoil Exploration and Production (E & P) Limited which owns and operates of Block 3 Offshore Republic of Benin. There is also Frazpower Limited which is a gas development company with the vision to deliver at least 10 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas reserves in the next 10 years by leveraging sources at varying levels of go-to-market readiness.

In the agriculture sector, Ekcel Farms Limited drives a $150 million innovative industrial agricultural project, incorporating cassava and tomato farming with full industrial processing facilities. With technical partners in Europe and Canada, the project has capacity to generate employment for over 2000 persons and reduce poverty in the country.

With Crown Energy Resources Limited, Sir Okwuosa is driving value derivation in solids mineral extraction, with a quarry project at Old Netim, Akamkpa, Calabar, in Cross River state. The company will promote quality production output, build local capacity and consolidate on Oilserv group overall investment strategy initiatives.

Also within the Oilserv Group, Sir Okwuosa also pioneered the Saudi Crown Oilserv (SCOS) Limited with HRH Prince Faisal Bin Turky Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to form the sole private sector initiative of its kind between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and any entity in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sir Emekea Okwuosa (2nd right) and the GMD/CEO of NNPCL, Mallam Mele Kyari (2nd left) host Suadi patners of SSCOS Limited

Registered and commercialized in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, SCOS is entrusted with the responsibility to vastly grow the volume of trade and investments between both regions through indigenization of various sectors in both the GCC and Africa.

With the companies in Oilserv Group traversing sectors from petroleum, agriculture, construction and mining, Sir Emeka Okwuosa has continued to make immense contributions to the industrial development of Nigeria; promoting the utilization of Nigerian content and employing home grown skills and personnel.

Outside Nigeria, Oilserv Group continues to form formidable private sector emissary that clears the way for compatriot entities that currently track the footprints of the group.  And promoting the export of industry services from Nigerian fits into the role of Sir Emeka Okwuosa as industry leader.

Sir Okwuosa in chat with another indigenous capacity emissary, Engr Emeka Ene of Oildata Group, during a conference in Houston, TX, USA

Leading development and deployment of indigenous capacity and export of world class technical services have remained the longstanding passion of Sir Emeka Okwuosa. He had canvassed and vigorously advocated integration of local content in the nation’s petroleum industry policies; and also strongly canvassed patronage for members of the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN). And as the pioneer Chairman of the indigenous oil services group of the industry, he contributed immensely in the articulation of principles and policies that later crystallized into the local content policy, and, later, the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Development (NOGICD) Act of 2010.

Sir Okwuosa and his Oilserv Group continue to advocate diversification of the Nigerian Content policies and programmes to cover other sectors of the economy in order to derive maximum economic values for the country.  Sir Okwuosa agrees with Engr Simbi Wabote that the most practical way to support local production is to generate demand.

During a tour of the Innoson Vehicle manufacturing (IVM) plant in Nnewi, Anambra State, in 2020, Sir Okwuosa declared that Oilserv Group had placed order for different vehicles worth N600 million from the local plant. He pledged that Oilserv Group would rely on IVM Company for it’s vehicular logistics.

Sir Emeka Okwuosa said the decision was mainly to encourage local content in the local automobile industry, adding that IVM remains a role model for local content development in vehicle production.

 “We are partnering with IVM on vehicles that are going to be used in the oil and gas industry for our operations. The company is very effective in fulfilling local content development. We are partnering with IVM in the area of conceptualization, manufacturing and use of local vehicles in the oil and gas sector,” he said.

Some of the operations vehicle purchased from IVM, Nnewi, Nigeria

The Oracle Today reports that the IVM brands are today conspicuous in the official and operational fleet of Oilserv Limited.

Obviously, all Nigerians would not have to be employed or directly patronized before benefiting from the values created by the Oilserv Group. The company and its promoter have developed other robust channels of flowing goodwill to the society.

Through the Emeka Okwuosa Foundation, the group has consistently intervened in alleviating the pains of the society by providing shared infrastructure and facilities; providing facilities for schools, hospitals, communities and churches across the country. It has also sponsored development of critical infrastructure like roads and other shared services in communities in need across the country.

Sir Emeka Okwuosa Foundation has also made significant contributions and interventions in erosion control, provision of potable water and rural electrification. It also provided significant relief materials to victims of Boko Haram insurgency in towns and villages hosting internally displaced people across the country.

In his Oraifite hometown, the foundation has spent over N1.0 billion in development of a tertiary medical facility named Dame Nneka Okwuosa Medical Centre. The tertiary referral facility provides specialized medical procedures, including open heart surgery and related services. It also sponsors free specialized consultancy on complicated medical conditions, using modern tools and facilities in delivering its procedures.

Most significantly, despite participating in the pan-industry coalition on Covid-19 coordinated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Oilserv sidetracked with special intervention that provided the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 with medical items including personal protective equipment (PPE) and tools aimed at facilitating the containment of the coronavirus pandemic.

At the height of the 2020 covid-19 pandemic, Oilserv Group had donated medical supplies worth over N70 million; including some 6000 disposable snout masks, 1500 hand gloves, 80 cartons of face shields and 4000 disposable protective suits. Other items donated by the Group include 1200 digital infrared thermometers, 250 facial and temperature monitors, and 2500 COVID 19 rapid test kits with capacity for 15 minutes result.

The medical supplies were for utilization by Rivers State, Anambra State, Enugu State and the Presidential Task Force.

Different groups received Oilserv sponsored PPEs against COVID-19 in Nigeria

To cushion the suffering of families impacted by the pandemic, the Oilserv Group also donated 3500 bags of rice, 8000 tubers of yam and to different host communities in Rivers, Abia and Anambra States. The Group also donated over 3,000 bags of rice and 8000 tubers of yam to families in Oraifite and environs.

The intervention package from Oilserv Group valued at over N100 million was the biggest single donation by any indigenous oil service company in the coronavirus fight. The company had already featured prominently in the collective contribution by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) under the guidance of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

Communities share food palliatives sponsored by Oilserv during the 2020 pandemic lockdowm

From knowledge and technological skills acquisition to best business practices and social corporate responsibility, Oilserv Group has stood out among all investment groups in the nation’s industrial sector. The group has built capacity, status and class of its own. It currently sets standards for its peers in the industry.

And in the charity and philanthropy, Sir Emeka Okwuosa has through his foundation made several statements on the role of businesses and successful individuals in the society in sharing the burdens of underprivileged sections of the public.

Women groups in Anambra State gather to share bags of rice donated by Oilserv Groups to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic

Listing the contributions and interventions of the Oilserv Group and Sir Emeka Okwuosa Foundation would require volumes of separate publications. What has become outstanding though is that the group has not only demonstrated capacity and patriotism; it has also proved that Nigeria has it takes to be great.

And in all his endeavors, Sir Okwuosa has never left anyone in doubt about his deep commitment to Christian faith, devotion to moral communalism and the social duty to sustain the pride of humanity.

Sir Emeka Okwuosa is a Knight of St. Christopher (KSC) in the Anglican Communion. His faith in the church speaks to his philanthropy, humility, kindness and generosity. 

Sir Emeka Okwuosa is a testament of the Nigerian genius and national greatness.

Even when standing outside the Oilserv Group, Sir Emeka Okwuosa earns his position as an outstanding professional engineer and businessman. He stands in the front row of Nigeria’s most successful professionals that currently drive the nation’s economic development with indigenous capacity. His is a symbol of Nigerian resilience and exudes the calm and intrinsic propensity to locally create and innovate processes that dismantle limitation.

Emeka is a 1982 graduate of Electronics and Electrical Engineering from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He also holds a PhD in Nanotechnology from the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

In driving his professional career, Dr Emeka Okwuosa has since become an eminent member of several professional groups and trade alliances, including the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), and over 30 other professional bodies.

His membership list includes Society of Professional Well Log Analysts (SPWLA), Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), Pipeline Professionals Association of Nigeria (PLAN), Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) and Institute of Directors (IoD).

In recognition of his footprints in the industrial paths of the country, Dr Emeka Okwuosa has been recognized by professional groups, rating organizations, the media and trade groups. And he has earned over 300 awards for professional excellence, business leadership, philanthropy and policy compliance.

Business Excellence award by Sun Newspapers

He has received about 10 OTC/PETAN annual Awards of Excellence from 2009 to 2022. The event is hosted annually in Houston Texas, USA by the Nigerian country delegation in recognition of Oilserv’s relentless contribution in the development of local expertise and technology transfer to indigenous companies.

The PETAN annual Excellence awards have become traditional for Sir Emeka Okwuosa and Oilserv

He also received the Best of Africa Awards in 2013 at the US Africa International Oil & Gas Leadership Award; Lifetime Achievement Award by PETAN in 2015; Award of Excellence by the Nanotechnology Research Group of the Physics Department, University of Nigeria Nsukka in 2014 and 2016; Nigeria Advancement Award for Creativity and Enterprise in 2016; and the International Socrates Award by the United Kingdom in 2016.

Sir Emeka Okwuosa also received the Award of Excellence by Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) in 2016; the PETAN Corporate Social Responsibility Award in 2016; the PETAN Capacity Development Award in 2016; an honorary doctorate degree (Hon.D.Eng) award by the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) in 2016; and the Industrialist of the Year Award in 2016.

Sir Emeka Okwuosa (c) and Gov Ugwuanyi of Enugu State share compliments after conferment with honorary doctorates by ESUT

Also in the list of his awards are the Agro Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2016; Honorary Doctor of Business Administration (Hon.DBA) degree award by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in 2017; Award of excellence in Engineering by the Association of Anambra State Development Union in 2017; Award of excellence in Engineering by the Nigerian Institution of Highway & Transportation Engineers in 2017, and Award of Excellence by Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) 2016.

The rest are Oil & Gas organization of the year award by African Entrepreneurs Foundation in 2017; and the National Productivity Order of Merit Award (NPOM) by his Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2017.

In recognition of his business acumen and shrewdness while driving value generation without turbulence, many companies have co-opted Dr Emeka Okwuosa into their boards to provide direction to the management.

Engr. Emeka Okwuosa is respectively an Executive and Non-Executive Director to number of companies in the financial services sector, petroleum industry and manufacturing. He remains the founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of several companies that operate in Africa.

While appreciating the President Muhammadu Buhari for recognizing him for the award of CON, Sir Emeka Okwuosa infers very strongly that he does not feel special, nor feel greater than others.

“I also believe that I am not the only one that could have possibly gotten the awards. It is obvious that other people that were honoured deserve their awards too. So, I do not take it lightly,” he declared.

He interprets the award as a call to more work, and expressed his readiness and the preparedness of the entire workforce of the group to take greater roles in their areas of play as more opportunities to deploy Nigerian capacity evolve.

“I believe strongly that this is an award that takes into account the contribution of Oilserv and my personal contributions in the country; whether in oil and gas or in other areas of Nigeria’s economic and social development,” he explained.

Looking into the future, Sir Okwuosa restated the determination of the Oilserv Group to continue demonstrating excellence when offered opportunity in the two transnational gas pipeline projects conceived to channel Nigerian gas to European markets.

He made it clear that “Oilserv is always ready and well prepared to be able to make the difference in the delivery of the emerging pipeline projects in the continent.”

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