Nigeria’s leading energy company, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), operator of the SPDC Joint Venture, and the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State have appointed Sunday Ikiensikimama, a professor of Petroleum and Gas Engineering, on a four-year term to the SPDC JV Aret Adams Professorial Chair in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Port Harcourt.
Making the announcement at a ceremony on Friday, the two organisations said the new Aret Adams Chair Professor came tops in a keenly contested selection process.
SPDC General Manager, External Relations, Mr. Igo Weli, said, “SPDC Joint Venture endowed the professorial chair in honour of foremost Petroleum Engineer and former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aret Adams, to highlight the company’s commitment to human capital development in the Niger Delta.”
“Experts have said, an endowed chair is among the most important gifts to higher education. It is a vital tool to ensure excellence. As a result, SPDC continues to support education initiatives,” Weli added
Weli, who is also the Alternate Chairman for the Board of Directors for the SPDC Aret Adams Professorial Chair, said SPDC believes that educating Nigeria’s young population is critical to the success of the country. ”For several decades, we have continued to invest in education initiatives in Nigeria, supporting a range of programmes that include six Professorial Chairs in Nigerian universities, scholarships to thousands of students in secondary and tertiary institutions, and two Centres of Excellence that promote the emergence of industry-ready graduates and advance collaborative researches with industry.”
According to Weli, SPDC will provide the needed support to Prof. Ikiensikimama to build on the success recorded by his predecessor, Professor Adewale Adeosun, who occupied the Chair between 2008 and 2016 and developed the award-winning Optiwell Software for exploration activities.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Professor Stephen Okodudu, said, “It took us a while to get somebody to occupy the chair; to attract somebody of the right quality. We have done so now; and I don’t have any doubt that, surely, just like the first Chair occupant did so well, this time round, there will also be a time when Shell will applaud the current Chair’s output.”
Okodudu, represented at the ceremony by the university’s Deputy Vice Chancellor for Administration, Professor Regina Ogali, applauded SPDC and its joint venture partners for their patience while the process of appointing an ideal candidate lasted.
He urged Prof. Ikiensikimama to “bring his colleagues together and bring the industry closer to us to achieve what has been outlined for the Chair.”
Okodudu also enjoined SPDC to consider a Centre of Excellence for the University of Port Harcourt.
The SPDC JV has endowed a number of Professorial Chairs in Nigerian universities including University of Uyo (Biodiversity and Climate Change); Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife (Geophysics); University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Environmental Management and Control); Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (Mechanical Engineering); and Federal of University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (Lightweight Automobile Engineering).