Leading independent oil exploration and production firm, FIRST Exploration and Petroleum Development Company Limited (FIRST E&P) on Wednesday, 29 June, gathered experts in the energy and financial sectors for its strategic leadership session organized to deliberate on the ways Nigeria and Africa can harness economic prosperity through gas resources.

The seminar themed ‘Scarcity in Abundance; How Gas Can Enable Energy Access in Nigeria and Africa’ was held at The WheatBaker Hotel, Lagos to commemorate FIRST E&P’s 10th anniversary of the commencement of operations and sustenance of its ambition as an integrated energy company.

The strategic hybrid thought leadership seminar brought together global executives, government officials, investors, industry players and key stakeholders across the oil and gas industry to discuss unlocking energy access in Nigeria and Africa, proffer solutions to the demand and supply gap for gas, and practical steps on how the gas value chain can add to the economic prosperity of Nigeria and the continent, given the abundant gas resources.

Dedicated to exploration and production, FIRST E&P commenced full operations in 2012 and achieved its first oil production from one of its flagship assets – OML 83 in October 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and has achieved over 4-million-man-hours with zero Lost Time incidents to date.

In his welcome address, the Chairman of FIRST E&P, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia thanked the Federal government of Nigeria, NNPC, partners, host communities, key stakeholders, investors and employees for supporting FIRST E&P’s efforts to be successful in Nigeria in the past decade. “Today, we are celebrating a decade of successful partnerships and collaborations as we remain committed to increasing our contribution to Nigeria’s energy needs in the coming years,” said Ajumogobia.

According to him, gas is the future of Nigeria and Africa which is why FIRST E&P is leading the discussions and urging all oil and gas industry players to see gas as being more than a transition fuel for the continent and which can chart a new course for economic prosperity for Nigeria and Africa. “We at FIRST E&P are fully committed to playing a vital role in increasing energy access in Nigeria and by extension, Africa. We are focused on growing and maintaining daily oil production from 40,000bopd to 60,000bopd while setting up a shallow offshore-based midstream gas business that will be fully operational by 2025. With this, our future Gas Hub is expected to provide gas to the domestic market and address the energy deficit,” he added.


While delivering his keynote address titled: “The Ironic Abundance of Gas in Nigeria and the Significant Energy Deficit”, the NNPC GMD, Mallam Mele Kyari who was represented by the Group Executive Director, Finance & Accounts/CFO Umar Ajiya congratulated the board, management and staff of FIRST E&P for reaching this historic milestone in its fascinating journey as an emerging E&P company in Nigeria.

“10 years is not just a random milestone in the history of any organization so please accept my heartfelt congratulations. Over the last decade, the Nigeria oil and gas industry has witnessed FIRST E&P’s remarkable growth from strength to strength evolving into what we see today as a fully-fledged exploration and production company. I sincerely commend your organization as you have remained focused on your aspiration as the leading indigenous and independent Nigerian company hinged principally on developing and operating a portfolio of oil and gas assets along the entire upstream value chain,” said Ajiya.

Addressing the need to harness Nigeria’s abundant gas resources, Ajiya noted that the Nigerian Government is committed to cutting its carbon emissions to net zero by 2060.

“In recent times, developed nations of the world are clamouring for a cleaner and healthy environment which however poses a threat to emerging and developing oil countries, especially nations that are currently dependent on oil like ours. But I use this opportunity to reaffirm that the government of Nigeria is ready to speed up the identification and development of both existing and new gas resources, and the decade of gas declared. With the Nigeria gas transportation network code established, Nigeria seeks to achieve a significant reduction in gas flaring and create a conducive environment for investors through the introduction of an appropriate institutional legal, regulatory and commercial framework for the gas sector as well as establish strong linkages for the gas sector to power agriculture and transporting the industry. The NNPC will continue to support these gas aspirations by increasing gas penetration as this, in the long run, will diversify Africa’s energy supply links and improve the security of supply,” Ajiya disclosed.

DMD, Falcon Corporation, Mrs. Audrey Joe-Ezigbo who was one of the panellists at the session, acknowledged that natural gas is the one singular resource and viable tool Nigeria can leverage to create transformative change across various sectors and spheres of the economy.

“We have no doubt seen a lot of very high level of stakeholder engagement in the last few years but what we have not seen is the actual progress to bite the bullet and implement the outcomes of engagements such as this without politicizing the recommendations due to a lot of policy inconsistencies, looking away from these situations and not dealing with consequential realities we are faced with. If you think about the whole decade of the gas programme and the objectives surrounding it, you will be marvelled at what people can do with gas as an enabler of industrialization in the economy,” said Joe-Ezigbo.

Reiterating FIRST E&P’s commitment to a thought leadership role in the area of advancing gas energy access in Nigeria and Africa, the Managing Director/CEO, FIRST E&P, Mr. Ademola Adeyemi-Bero, said that the expected growth in domestic demand will create significant opportunities for gas by 2030.

According to Mr. Adeyemi-Bero, the run-up to 2030 will be a decade of accelerated growth for gas as domestic demand grows from 30% to 60% of total demand, which will create a supply gap of up to 10bcf.

He noted that this shift in market dynamics will expand opportunities across the value chain in upstream gas to fill the supply gas and infrastructure to transport and treat the wet gas. However, these opportunities can only be unlocked by addressing the massive infrastructure gaps and pricing barriers that currently limit the growth of gas.

FIRST E&P will consolidate the invaluable insight received at the session, publish a White Paper on the topic and more importantly own the delivery of some of the required solutions. FIRST E&P also commits to sustaining the practice of collaboratively thinking through the challenges that face the country and the continent regarding energy access.

The panel sessions moderated by Chibuzor Ifeanyi- Vitol & Rolake Akinkugbe-Filani – Board Member, African Energy Chamber, featured thought leaders in the industry including Roger Brown – CEO, Seplat Energy Plc; Audrey Joe-Ezigbo – DMD, Falcon Corporation; Bolaji Osunsanya – CEO, Axxela Limited; and Opuiyo Oforiokuma – Senior Partner, Africa50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund.

Other speakers were Peter Gaius Obaseki – Partner Mckinsey, Yinka Sanni – Chief Executive, Africa Regions, Standard Bank Group, Mukund Dhar – Partner, White & Case LLP, Nike Kolawole – GGM, LNG Investments Services, NNPC, Engr. Farouk Ahmed – CEO, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority represented by Engineer Zakka Ayuba.


FIRST Exploration and Petroleum Development Company Limited (FIRST E&P) is a leading independent Exploration and Production company with delivery capacity across the upstream oil and gas value chain, including drilling, well completion, well testing, and production operations. Established in 2011, the company officially commenced operations on July 1, 2012, initially focused on the acquisition, exploration, and appraisal of the assets it acquired.

FIRST E&P achieved its first oil production from the Anyala field in OML 83 (a joint venture with NNPC) on October 21, 2020, and the JV recorded its first export lifting on January 10, 2021. The company currently produces over 40,000 bbl/d from this field and remains focused on growing its daily production to 60,000 bbl/d. With the vision of establishing itself as the most admired independent exploration and production company contributing to the well-being of Nigerians, FIRST E&P aims to set up a shallow offshore-based midstream gas business and that will be fully operational by 2025.

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