Oriental Energy restructures, sacks top management staff

By Emeka Nze

Oriental Energy Resources Limited, a marginal oil field operator, has embarked on a massive reorganization of the company, leading to the sack of some top management employees.

The exercise, which is aimed at repositioning the company for improved performance, has affected the Managing Director, Ignatius Ifelayo, Executive Vice Chairman and other top ranking management staff.

The decision to reorganize the company was approved by the Executive Chairman and CEO, Muhammadu Indimi whose son, Ahmed Indimi, also a director, is a husband to President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter, Zahra.

Though no reason has been given by the company for the reorganization, Media Issues gathered from sources close to the company that the company has been struggling with production figures.

The company has a total of three oil fields – Oil Mining Lease (OML) 115, Ebok and Okwok.  Of these three assets, only Ebok which is currently delivering about 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) is producing. OML 115 is still at exploration stage while Okwok is undergoing development.

Media Issues also gathered that two years ago, a similar development played out when the daughter of Muhammadu Indimi, the Executive Chairman, Amina Indimi-Fodio, who is also the Legal Counsel/Director of the company, sacked all staff that were above 50 years of age.  Her decision was later overruled by her father, leading to the recall of the affected staff.

Oriental was founded in 1990, taking advantage of government’s policy of encouraging indigenous participation in the upstream sub-sector of the oil and gas industry, which led to the company being granted Block OPL224 offshore Nigeria in 1991.

Since then, the company has successfully converted OPL224 into OML 115 and expanded its portfolio to include both the Okwok and Ebok assets. Following an aggressive exploration and drilling program, and the largest development program for an independent Nigerian oil company to date, the Ebok Field achieved First Oil in the 2nd quarter of 2011.