New Boss of African Refiners Association

Anthony Ogbuigwe
Anthony Ogbuigwe

Anthony Ogbuigwe, group executive director, refining and petrochemical division, NNPC, replaces Anabella Fonseca of Sonagol as the new president of African Refiners Association

 |  By Maureen Chigbo  |  Apr. 8, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

 ANTHONY Ogbuigwe, the group executive director, Refining and Petro-chemicals Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is the new president of the African Refiners Association, ARA. Ogbuigwe replaces Anabella Fonseca, vice president of Sonangol, Anogola’s national oil company.

Ogbuigwe’s election took place at the end of the 8th annual conference of the African Refiners Association in Cape Town, South Africa, March 22. The ARA event is regarded as the most important meeting place for the African downstream petroleum industry. In his acceptance speech, Ogbuigwe said he would improve the efficiency and reliability of operation of African refineries and foster the production, marketing and distribution of high quality petroleum products to drive the anticipated and ongoing high growth of African economies.

He said he would work with the African Union and regional groups like ECOWAS, SADEC and COMESA to ensure that the AFRI 1 to 5 specifications are adopted and enforced in Africa to protect the health and wellbeing of the continent, it’s people and the environment as well as to grow ARA as a strong association.

He is happy with the fact that members were in full agreement that it is vital to encourage governments and regional associations to assist in establishing common fuel specifications. This, it is believed, should be done within economic zones and common fiscal structures along regional supply chains. “This will encourage free trade between neighbouring countries, avoid smuggling and adulteration, as well as help create the regional cross-border optimisation that is necessary for an efficient low cost product supply,” he said.

A self- driven professional with considerable experience in management of large scale process plants and engineering procurement and construction projects, Ogbuigwe has had an extensive career in the oil industry spanning over 35 years commencing from the premier Nigerian Petroleum Refining Company Limited, Alesa- Eleme in 1976. He joined the NNPC in 1977 and was assigned to the Warri Refinery Project. He was on the team that commissioned and started the refinery in 1978. After the refinery had attained steady and profitable operation, he was transferred to the Kaduna Refinery Project and sent to Japan on attachment to refineries there.

When he returned in 1980, he became part of the team that commissioned and started the Kaduna Refinery. Ogbuigwe was also responsible for the start-up of the KRPC famous fluid catalytic cracking unit that maximises production of premium motor spirit otherwise called petrol.In October 1981, he proceeded to Glasgow where he obtained an M.Sc. in Plant & Process design. He returned to be re-assigned to the Projects & Engineering Division at the NNPC Corporate headquarters.

He was part of the owner’s project management team that subsequently engineered, constructed and commissioned the New Port Harcourt Refinery. Final start-up and profitable operation was achieved in 1989. After a fire that damaged sections of the Old PH Refinery early that year, he was again assigned to the team that rehabilitated, modernised and restored the operations of the refinery in 1991. Subsequently, Ogbuigwe was appointed to manage all improvement projects in the combined old and new Port Harcourt Refineries under the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited.

In 1998, he was appointed deputy manager of the Process Engineering department, a position he held until his secondment to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company in 2001. In 2002, Ogbuigwe was appointed executive project manager for the NLNG Plus Projects. He successfully managed the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning projects that resulted in the building of NLNG Trains 4, 5 and 6. All three trains were successfully completed and commissioned in line with world class quality standards with a distinguished health, safety and environment record.

At the peak of the Trains 4 & 5 project, there were more than 11,500 workers on the construction site from 42 countries. Peak site labour on train 6 was more than 7,500 workers. The Nigerian labour component was consistently averaging 90 to 92 percent. They also contributed significantly to enhancing Nigerian content performance in several fabricating and manufacturing companies including Dorman Long Ltd, Nigerian Foundries Ltd, Nexans Kabelmetal Ltd among others.

At one point, the NLNG Plus Project attained 38 million man-hours worked on site without a lost time incident. When a report on this performance was given at the world gas technology conference back in 2004/2005, the chairman stated that this was the first in the gas industry at the time and complimented the Project for the excellent performance.

Train 4 was completed and started up in October 2005. Train 5 likewise in February 2006. By this time, Ogbuigwe was already a general manager in his parent company, the NNPC. Train 6 was completed on December 14, 2007, and started immediately after. Product was run down to storage within nine days. Between 2008 and 2009, he constructed and completed additional tankage, instrument air and Nitrogen generation facilities, and a new condensate stabilization unit. The upgrade of the electrical generation and system monitoring infrastructure has been practically completed. His managerial competence and skill in interpersonal relationships in a cross cultural environment contributed immensely to the successful delivery of the three train projects.

Ogbuigwe was appointed managing director of PHRC on April 26, 2010, with a mandate to revive the plants that he had been involved in constructing in the 1980’s. On June 26, 2012, he was appointed group executive director, Refineries and Petrochemicals Directorate. In this position, he oversees the operation of the four refineries in Nigeria. Within the last eight months, the onstream efficiency of the refineries has improved. Their contribution to the supply of petroleum products in the country has also increased, thus reducing the products import bill.
Ogbuigwe is a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, a chartered engineer and a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE.

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