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Emmanuel Egbogah…World’s towering petroleum tech oracle.

By Akintunde Ogoh - Policy, June 18-24, 2007, Page 23 -26.


That Dr. O. Emmanuel Egbogah is a giant in the petroleum industry is much of an understatement, as the man has had his life defined by petroleum technology at the very level of the industry. His profile is essentially large, and as the oil/gas industry has become global, his name is resonating through it world-wide. His name resonates in virtually all the major oil producing regions of the world, giving him such as intimidating status. His presence looms large in the Canada, Africa, Asia where he has made huge contributions to petroleum technology research and development.

His expertise is much sought-after in different regions. Recognizing the global shortage of experienced oil and gas experts, many countries are trying to deepen their petroleum technology as well as enhancing the flow from maturing fields to guarantee steady production. And since Egbogah is at the forefront of utilizing the best possible technological advancements to produce oil in a safe, economical manner, his services are in constant need the world over.

Armed with a theory and technology that have been a catalyst to making Malaysia become the deep water hub of South East Asia, Egbogah’s experience in the oil and gas technology is hard to match, in the field. In an era where oil fields are maturing in most regions of the world, with very difficult terrains encountered, his expertise is improving and enhancing recovery of oil wells. Maximizing flow from those wells is an area where he excels greatly. He is an authority in this particular field as he has developed a special methodology in enhancing oil recovery.

This is proving indispensable in over 25 counties now. Thus the world is appreciating him through an achievement that is shining international spotlight on his efforts to help the global oil & gas industry meet all the challenges and expectations of recent years.

Dr Egbogah has over 35 years of diversified geological and petroleum engineering  experience in consulting, teaching, research & development and management in Canada, USA, North Sea, Africa, Middle East and the Asia Pacific Region. He is an authority in the fields of petroleum policy and strategy, improved/enhanced oil recovery, field development planning and reservoir management.

Today the world of oil and gas better understands and recognizes the value that Egbogah has brought into the industry. His efforts, at first in Malaysia, have emphasized the crucial elements of safety and a development of local resources – both human and economic. This guru in appreciation of perspectives started work in the petroleum industry in Canada in 1973. From there he has be trodden the industry like a colossus worldwide.

He started his higher education in the USSR in 1963, when he studied at Friendship University, Moscow between that year and 1969. In 1970, he moved to McGill University, Montreal, PQ, Canada. From there he went for further studies at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada between 1972 and 1976. In 1977 he was at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London till 1979, bagging a Ph.D in the process.

His major areas of technical expertise include Multidisciplinary (Synergistic) Team Approach to Field Development Planning and Integrated Reservoir Management, Reservoir Engineering, Enhanced Oil Recovery Designs and Project Implementation, Resources/Reserves Evaluation Definitions Classification Guidelines and Technical Audit Procedures, Formation Damage Diagnosis/Analysis and Stimulation Program Applications, Problem Well & Reservoir Performance Analyses, Skill Matrix Design and (Petroleum Engineering) Career Development Planning. Long-range technology planning for E &P competitiveness, Design of strategic technical alliances and technology partnerships, Appraisal, Development Planning and Reservoir Management Design for Marginal Oil Fields, Distinguished competence in Designing and conducting technical seminars and training & technology transfer courses for oil and gas companies and professional organization.

Dr. Egbogah is the founder and executive chairman of Emerald Energy Resources Limited, the operator of continental shelf oil block OPL 229, Niger Delta, Nigeria. He is also director of numerous local and international companies. Previously, he was Vice President, International Production for Niko Resources Limited – an international E&P company in Calgary, Alberta Canada.

He served for eight years as Technical Advisor and Technology Custodian for PETRONAS, the national oil company of Malaysia, where he was responsible for long range strategic and investment diversification planning. He also served for five years as Enhanced Oil Recovery Advisor for the Libyan National Oil Corporation, Tripoli, where he was responsible for the national Reservoir Management programme.

A former Petroleum Engineering Manager & EOR Specialist for Amerigo International in Calgary and Houston, Egbogah was previously Senior President Engineering with Applied Geosciences and Technology (AGAT) Consultants Ltd, Calgary Alberta, Canada where he had directed the multi-million dollar, multi-client study on Reservoir Sensitivity and Completion Procedures Project on behalf of 53 multinational and 10 independent oil companies, issuing 2200-page report of same to its subscribers.

He has authored and /or co-authored 6 technical publications so far. A distinguished member (995) of the SPE, Egbogah was a Review Chairman for the Journal of Petroleum Technology, JPT, a 1993-99 Steering Committee Member of the Asia Pacific Oil & Gas Conference and a 1992-96 Steering Committee member of the Forum Series on Challenges in Gas Reservoir Management, member of the Diversity/Governance Task Force, SPE Speakers Bureau, Speaker and member SPE Cedric Ferguson Gold Medal Committee. He served as Senior Editorial Advisor to the Journal of Petroleum Technology on Field Development Planning and reservoir management (1994-98).

Egbogah is a registered Professional Engineer of Alberta, Canada, and listed in the world’s Who’s Who in Science and Engineering. He is Life Patron of the African-Caribbean Network for Science & Technology, United Kingdom. Dr. Egbogah is the recipient of SPEs 1998 Asia Pacific Regional Service Award and the 1999 SPE Nigeria Council Millennium Award for his active and dedicated service to the Society of Petroleum Engineers in the 20th Century. He is currently the Society of Petroleum Engineers Regional Director for Africa. At its 22 Convocation march 11, 2006, the Senate of the University of Port Harcourt Nigeria, conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Science in Engineering (D.Sc Honoris Causa) in recognition of his outstanding contributions as a foremost intellectual to the development of the energy sector, both in Nigeria and other countries of the world. Dr. Egbogah is a recipient of the 2006 Nigeria National Order of the Niger, OON.

Indeed, in practical terms, his most sought – after skills are known all over the world. But the major highlight of his career was the extensive depth he acquired in Canada from 1968. Of course, the foundation was rooted in the USSR, starting as assistant well-site geologist with the USSR Academy of Sciences Geologica/Geophysical Party at the Black Sea Area exploration to being a lecturer at the McGill University, Montreal, Quebec between 1970 and 1971. Equally, he had extensive actions as consulting geologist to Northern Science Research Group in Ottawa, Canada, Petroleum Reservoir/Production Engineer with Pacific Petroleum Ltd Calgary, Alberta 1973 to 1977. He held some other important appointments as well. All these from 1970 to 1985.

However, a very career defining moment came when he served as an Enhanced National Recovery advisor in Tripoli, Libya, and was responsible for salvaging the oil industry from collapse after an embargo. He also had a stint in South East Asia, Malaysia, helping PETRONAS. This put him in the world map as an indispensable person on oil/gas matters, when he joined PETRONAS Carigali (PCSB) as a technical advisor in 1991. He narrates how he got to Malaysia.

”The opportunity to join PETRONAL Carigali in 1991 was God-sent. I was working in Libya as an Enhanced Oil Recovery Advisor to the Libyan National Oil Corporation in Tripoli when, in may 1990, I received a phone call followed by a written invitation from Mr. Chai Kwok Kit, manager of Petroleum Engineering at PCSB, to visit Malaysia and to present a technical seminar on Secondary Oil Recovery in general, and Water Injection in particular. As I wanted to understand the motivation behind this invitation, I called my friend Mr. Sastry Karra, who had earlier on left Tripoli to join PETRONAS as a Technical Advisor (Production). He explained that PCSB was on the verge of developing the Dulang Oil Field in the South China Sea.  This would be the company’s first attempt at independently developing a major oilfield and whose diagnosed problem included pressure maintenance.

As I had never had the opportunity of developing any field from inception, it was my dream to be able to participate in the development of a green field where I could test my reservoir management principles, particularly the multidisciplinary team approach to management. The chance to do it in Dulang field was a rare and wonderful opportunity.

I went to Malaysia in August 1990 and delivered my technical seminar, following which I was officially invited to lead the effort in implementing all the technical details which I had presented. I happily accepted the invitation to become Technical Advisor (Reservoir Engineering) from January 1991, and thus began a mutually very satisfying and rewarding relationship that lasted eight-and-a-half years.

In Malaysia he evolved what is called a multidisciplinary approach to field development, which involves reservoir engineers, geologists, economists and so on. That in itself reinforced his star status in the petroleum industry. Through the process he fashioned a doctrine he applied at PETRONAS that technology is the bedrock to compete in the oil and gas industry. That has defined the successful international growth of PETRONAS. It is on Egbogah’s doctrine that PETRONAS has built its operations.

He talks on the oil & gas industry in Malaysia has evolved over the years, and what has been PETONAS’ role in this. ”When you have a good, clear definition of a problem, chances are good that you will find the solution. When I arrived in Malaysia in January 1991 there was no clear available definition of the country’s road map for the oil and gas industry. It took the visionary leadership of many PETRONAS managers, such as Abdul Hamid Ibrahim, General Manager, PCSB Development Division, Data Mohammad Idris Mansor, Managing Director, PCSB; and the PETRONAS President himself (then the Senior Vice President, Finance) Tan Sri Hassan Marican, to construct the very successful long-tem plan for the industry. I played a helping role in this through my technology championship activities.

Thanks to the plan the Malaysian petroleum industry has evolved to its current enviable standing in the global industry.“ PETRONAS is one of the National oil corporations strong in performance and can compete with the like of giant petroleum majors such as Shell, Chevron, Conoco Phillips and Exxon Mobil. He describes the most gratifying part of his eight years with PCSB.

”The technology foundation we built up in PCSB equipped the company for very successful global competition. The success we achieved in the development of the Dulang Field, in the implementation of sustainable pressure support programme and the implementation of robust reservoir management practices, were all gratifying to me. The work we did in the Dulang Field in reducing field development and reservoir environment through advanced coring and core analysis permitted the very first successful core-log integration for improved formation evaluation in the Dulang Field and serves as a living model for similar freshwater environments worldwide. It is my most singular significant contribution to the industry, and my most gratifying moment at PCSB.

”The acceptance of my doctrine that you have to be technologically competent to compete in the global oil and gas industry was the bedrock upon which the successful international growth of PETRONAS was irrevocably laid. All these, and the visible success they have led to, are incontrovertible and very satisfying and gratifying to me.“

It is the totality of these pieces of experience that have translated into the private business that Egbogah has found himself through his company – Emerald Energy Resources Limited. The doctrine of being technologically competent is what has made the company. And to achieve this, he assembled top-line management. This is made up of Dr. Egbogah as executive chairman; others are Dr Jude Amaefule, vice chairman; Professor Amos Nur, Chief Technology Officer; Mr. Paul Caldwell Jnr. – senior strategic advisor, operations; Mrs. C.N Aqua-Umoren – Executive Director, Corporate Affairs; Mr. Ben Onyeise – General Manager, Production; Mr. Onuorah Oji – Financial Controller; Mr. Emeka Igweze – Manager Administrative Services, Mr. Emmanuel Okoli – Manager, IT & Security; Mr. Patrick Egekenze – Manager HSE & Community Relations and Mr. Boniface U. Ajaegbu – Manager.

Emerald is translating all those experiences in OPL 229 to volume and values. Thus OPL 229 is defining this for Emerald, with production starting from 2005, and is expected to pick in 2009/2010.

The current situation in the well is this: 55 percent of OPL 229 is awarded Emerald Energy Resources Limited as designated operator, and 45 percent is awarded to AMNI International Petroleum Development Company Limited as syndicated partner, through the oil and gas licensing round results of the year 2000 as awarded by the Federal Government.

In August 2006, China National offshore Oil Corporation, CNOOC, acquired 35% of  AERD’s 38% working interest and is now one of the joint interest owners in OPL 229. But what is more is that Dr. Egbogah has become an oracle in the world oil and gas industry. And it is likely to hear him become a facilitator to very many governments and commercial organizations in the mould of state oil and other that have global reach all over the world while at the same time using his experience to translate volume in OPL 229 to values, helping the National Economy in the process.

Policy, June 18-24, 2007, Page 23-26.

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