Toward the end of last year, precisely on October 13, 2013, the Austin Avuru led Seplat Petroleum Development Company, made a crucial step to show class in the oil and gas sector of the economy. Having successfully crossed the average daily production of over 50,000 bpd, it became a public limited liability company.
To observers, the decision was a good move and a sign of rapid growth for a company that is just about five years old.
Before then, many industry watchers had predicted that it was a matter of time, Seplat would go public and so it did.
Though, its shares are not yet listed and so not publicly traded, the company has snagged some big fishes as shareholders. The coming in of the quality shareholders, which includes one of Nigeriaâ€™s biggest investors and entrepreneurs, Mr. Jim Ovia, has been described as a positioning drive towards creating a solid base for future growth. Mr. Ovia got on the SEPLAT train through his investment company, Quantum Capital.
If there is any question that agitated the minds of industry watchers at its last weekâ€™s Extra Ordinary General meeting, it was how the company became a brand to watch in the space of just five years. But to the handlers of the brand, the answer is simple.
The companyâ€™s chairman, Dr. ABC Orjiako, said the answer lies in the manner of its emergence. According to him, Seplat was formed as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) made up of ShebahPetroleuem and Platform Petroleum. This collaboration was said to have helped it to successfully bid for Shells OMLS 4, 38 and 41.
â€œThat successful bid set the stage for what has seen Nigerian companies taking over assets from divesting majors. The SEPLAT deal was unique and ground breaking in so many ways because it also got operatorship with Nigerian Petroleum Development Company as JV partner,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, the company has also recently put in bids for Chevronâ€™s 40 per cent equity in the gas rich Oil Mining Leases (OML) 53, 52 and 55 in the eastern onshore Niger Delta basin. Though that process is yet to be concluded but considering its pedigree, many believe SEPLAT will emerge preferred bidder.
Speaking further at the EGM, the chairman admitted that the company has recorded phenomenal strides, adding that corporate governance and best practices were the bed rock of its existence.
â€œThey are pivotal to the sustainability of our growth aspirations. In SEPLAT, we not only comply with International Corporate policies and best practices, we strive to remain best in class at all time,â€ he said.
To keep the brand pristine and its stakeholders happy, key new board appointees were presented to the public and they included respected oil industry professional, former Chairman of Shell Companies in Nigeria, Basil Omiyi, and Former head of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Ifueko Omogui-Okaro. Others are Briton Michael Alexander, Mr Stuart Connal and Dr. Charles Okeahalam.
The appointments have been described asâ€strategic moves to help fire the companyâ€™s growth aspirations and thus make SEPLAT a truly competitive global player and investorâ€™s choice.â€
The board is now comprised of ABC Orjiako, Austin Avuru, Macaulay Ofurhie, Jean-Francis Henin, Michel Hochard, Alhaji Nasir Ado Bayero, Basil Omiyi, Ifueko Omogui-Okaro, Michael Alexander, Mr Stuart Connal and Dr. Charles Okeahalam.