jerry - JERRY UWANGUE: Resilient Entrepreneur & Professional...
09 Nov
SPECIAL FOCUS ON OUTSTANDING CEOs IN NIGERIA (II)

JERRY UWANGUE: Resilient Entrepreneur & Professional Par Excellence

Intelligent, savvy and focused, he belongs to the future of Nigeria, the generation next that tells of the great promise and huge potential of this giant on the African continent. Mr. Jerry Uwangue, the CEO of J&G Engineering and Construction Limited is a creative mind who approaches every task innovatively and his dutifulness over the years has seen the company grow from a subcontracting firm to a leading EPCM company in the Nigerian oil and gas industry with global affiliations.

At the early stage of his career, he saw an opportunity to pursue a career in the oil and gas industry and without wasting time, he wrote professional courses applicable to the industry. This action marked the turning point in his career as he went on to work in leading oil and gas companies, occupying roles in business development, logistics and community affairs, as well as project management.

As a forward-thinker who knew what he want to achieve in life, he registered J&G Engineering and Construction in 2009, however, operations didn’t kick off until 2011. Though it was a rough start, but given his expertise in the industry, coupled with the zeal to deliver projects as and when due, the company experienced a gradual growth in terms of manpower, expertise and the capability to deliver various services in engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance.

“Our strategy borders around having the right people, working environment, motivation and the expertise that helps to consistently deliver highly cost effective engineering solutions, using the latest technology, cutting edge industry process, sophisticated software and modern in-house processes to execute our clients’ projects.“

“In addition, our robust capital base and team of specialized and dedicated world-class professionals drawn from diverse fields guarantee us the enviable position we occupy today as an outstanding EPCM solution provider. We have equally built a manufacturing facility of international standards with all global process and quality certification”, he informed.

He further explained that the company has been able to forge ahead despite the negative economic situation imposed by the covid-19 pandemic across the world.

According to him, “In response to the COVID19 pandemic, the Department of Petroleum Resources issued a notice to all oil and gas operators stating that we should consider COVID-19 a force majeure. In addition to the decline in oil prices prior to the pandemic, you can imagine what that means to operators and service companies like ours who rely on operators to survive.”

“Projects were either deferred or cancelled. There were job losses due to change in revenue as clients were demanding discounts of up to 40% on existing running contracts thereby changing the financial status of projects. The delay in payment of existing legitimate invoices is also negatively impacting cash flow and it will not be a surprise to see many service companies go under in the long term. However, this period has taught us resilience. It has forced us to think out of the box and rethink strategies that are sustainable for the ever changing future which has helped us in braving the storm”, he added.

Commenting on the challenges faced in the oil and gas industry, Uwangue emphasized on issues such as the Niger-Delta crisis which has seen the people continue to live in abject poverty, government underfunding, long contract award processes, lack of sufficient infrastructure to run the oil and gas industry, as well as the pricing of petroleum products which is dictated by rising prices at the international market.

“Pollution and environmental degradation is very high in the Niger-Delta communities. Consequently, the region has remained unstable with periodic attacks on oil facilities and pipelines. I will urge the federal government to continue with the Amnesty Program, which has seen most of the Niger-Delta youths rehabilitated and sent outside the country for training and capacity building. Also, a recurring problem in the upstream sector is the inability of the NNPC to meet its funding obligations to JV operations. In response to this problem, the FGN should explore other models like the PSC terms and Modified Carried Agreement (MCA) with MOCs to provide permanent solutions”, he advised.

Speaking further, Uwangue lamented about the tedious and lengthy process of awarding contracts in the Nigerian oil and gas upstream sector. According to him, the duration of contract award between initiation and eventual execution of the agreement could take as much as 36 months in some cases. He therefore advised that MOCs should kick-start contract award processes well in advance of commencement of projects, to ensure that all regulatory and contractual approval processes are complied with before actual project execution.

An entrepreneur with a knack for excellence, Uwangue is motivated by the need to build a sustainable business and becoming a reference point in the energy sector. “Our goal as a company is to provide optimal engineering solutions to our clients’ needs through well structured, strategic channels to enable us respond effectively and efficiently”, he said.