Monday, April 26, 2010

Nigeria Names New Oil-Industry Regulator in Shakeup

By Paul Okolo

April 26 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria named Andrew Obaje to head the country’s oil-industry regulator, replacing Billy Agha.

Nigeria’s oil ministry said Agha will become executive director in charge of engineering and technical services at Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., the state-owned oil company. Before his new assignment, Obaje was Agha’s deputy, the statement said.

The change comes after Nigerian acting president Goodluck Jonathan appointed Shehu Ladan as the group managing director of the NNPC to replace Mohammed Barkindo who was sacked on April 6. Jonathan appointed Diezani Allison-Madueke the same day as the first woman to serve Nigeria as petroleum minister. Allison- Madueke, a former executive at Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s local unit, will be in charge of pushing through an oil bill that has been criticized by international companies.

The ministry also announced the creation of a new unit known as the International Trading Co., or ITCO, according to the statement. It will be headed by Ayo Balogun, formerly head of the National Petroleum Investment Services, it added.

Under a proposed oil industry law still being debated in parliament, Nigeria is seeking to re-position the state-owned company to make it operate as a profitable venture.

The west African country vies with Angola to be the continent’s top oil producer and is the fifth-largest supplier of U.S. crude.

--With assistance from Dulue Mbachu. Editors: Mike Anderson, Steve Voss.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Okolo in Abuja at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at

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