Breaking: Life After SEPLAT, Austin Avuru Invests Heavily In His Watering Hole

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Breaking: Life After SEPLAT, Austin Avuru Invests Heavily In His Watering Hole

Breaking: Life After SEPLAT, Austin Avuru Invests Heavily In His Watering Hole
May 24
11:24 2020

Gradually, time is slowing down to a trickle. July is just a few weeks away. All the milestones and moments that Austin Avuru, the pioneer Managing Director and later CEO, Seplat Petroleum Company Plc, has experienced and enjoyed in the oil and gas industry are coming to an end in July when he resigns from the company. The Guinness Stout-loving man would be bidding an industry he has spent the last four decades goodbye for good.

The Delta State native is, however, not bitter or broken. He knows that the future has a way of arriving unannounced and thus, had prepared himself for it. Apart from his 9 to 5 gig at Seplat, Avuru had already invested heavily in BlackBell, operating from a modest building on Admiralty Road, Lekki. The outfit has now moved to a sprawling building on the same street, which has seen an increase in its patronage over the past months. It is one of the concerns with which Avuru hopes to keep busy and ensure he does not go broke in retirement. 

A geologist by training, Avuru spent 12 years at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, where he held various positions including Well Site Geologist, Production Seismologist and Reservoir Engineer. In 1992, he joined the Allied Energy Resources in Nigeria, a pioneer deep water operator, where he served as Exploration and Technical Manager. Ten years later, he established Platform Petroleum Ltd and held the role of Managing Director until 2010, when his team worked with Shebah Exploration and Production Company to form SEPLAT in 2009.

As the pioneer MD of Seplat, his renown as a reference resource professional in the oil and gas industry was solidified. Under his leadership, the company grew from a little known minnow producing 18kbd in 2010 to a major independent petroleum marketer dually listed on the Lagos and London Stock Exchanges with operated production of over 70kbd crude oil and 280mmscfd of gas.

But his heat does not seem to be hot any longer. Seplat, whose majority shareholder is billionaire Dr ABC Orjiakor, is now in a big debt mess as its fortune has nosedived due largely to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global oil and gas industry. 

Sources said the board of Seplat has seen a need to restructure and bring in people with fresh and innovative ideas that can help the company to navigate these perilous times and reposition it for local and global competitiveness.

This was the reason the board unanimously chose Roger Brown to replace Avuru and lead the restructuring. In a move that represents a strategic shift in its operations, the change of guards at the company has been done with a view to giving the company a new corporate direction. And, Brown, who, until his elevation as the new MD/CEO, was the Chief Financial Officer, a position he had held since 2013, knows the terrain well enough.

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