Career development

Reliving the Unforgettable Experience of Africa’s Future Energy Leaders at the 2022 Africa Young Professionals Workshop

Young professionals gather during NAICE to learn from industry experts as part of the 2022 Africa Young Professionals Program.

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Kamel Ben-Naceur, 2022 SPE International President, speaks at the 2022 NAICE workshop.

In what can be termed the foremost gathering of young professionals in the oil and gas industry in Africa, the SPE Africa Young Professionals Workshop was held as part of the Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE) from 31 July–3 August 2022 in Lagos, Nigeria. The event lived up to expectations of providing a forum for discourse on the future of the energy industry especially in Africa, including knowledge sharing on emerging opportunities, leadership development, networking, and team-building activities.

Since its inception in 2013, the NAICE Young Professionals Workshop has left indelible marks in the minds of the young professionals in the energy industry in Nigeria. This year’s expansion to include other SPE sections in Africa promoted cross-border collaboration and fostered relationship-building to solve the common challenges of the industry.

Underscoring the importance of the young professionals to the future of the energy industry, the Africa Young Professionals Workshop was graced by Kamel Ben-Naceur, 2022 SPE International President; Oghogho Effiom, Africa Regional Director of SPE; and Olafuyi Olalekan, SPE Nigeria Council Chairman.

Speaking on the young professionals’ workshop theme, “The Evolving Energy Mix in Africa: Prospects, Pathways and Opportunities for Young Professionals,” keynote speaker Osayande Igiehon, MD/CEO Heirs Oil & Gas, emphasized the need for a collective drive toward energy security. He remarked, “Energy security is a huge imperative for Africa and a foundation for financial security.”

Building on the event discourse, Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, principal finance specialist for Nigeria’s energy transition, laid out the initiatives by African countries to prepare for the energy transition. He highlighted features of Nigeria’s net-zero pathway, which includes decreasing emissions in the oil and gas industry driven by environmental sustainability as well as reduced flaring, improved electrification, and energy efficiency in upstream activities.

The panel discussion featuring seasoned panelists provided a deep dive into prospects, pathways, and opportunities for young professionals. The panelists shared insightful tips, their diverse stories, and examples made the lessons relatable for the audience. Attributes such as curiosity, discipline, and creativity were highlighted as being critical to navigate the evolving energy landscape.

The workshop also featured sessions on leadership building. Olufesobi Bright discussed the need for adaptability among young professionals in a volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous (VUCA) world. Effiom shared her SPE volunteer experience, which resonated with the participants and allowed for practical discussions on honing leadership skills and creating opportunities for themselves.

As a buildup to the workshop, the young professionals visited the Lekki Conservation Centre for a team-building event. It was fun-filled and featured various team-based contests including painting, karaoke, and a walk on the longest canopy walkway in Africa.

The unforgettable experience of the 2022 Africa Young Professionals Program was supported by SPE Nigeria Council and the Africa Regional Director. The successfully delivered event gathered numerous positive feedback and was enabled by a team of dedicated volunteers from SPE sections in Africa.

The next workshop of the Africa Young Professionals Program will be held in August 2023.

By Sunday Otutu, Eelah Muzan, Chinyere Princess Offor, and Olutola Oluwaseyitan.

Check out highlights from NAICE 2022.