Career development

SPE Spotlight on Young Professionals: Francis N. Oko


Francis Oko is a petroleum engineer working at the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company as a production technologist. He is an integral part of the SPE Benin City Section and has become a prolific speaker by his participation in SPE activities. Through his engagement with SPE’s Ambassador Lecturer Program (ALP), he has organized more than 25 lectures at schools and universities. ALP lectures are designed for SPE young professionals to share their career development in the industry with school students. Not only is this a record number of ALPs held by the Benin City Section, it is also internationally one of the most outstanding accomplishments for this program. Oko has inspired a huge number of local students to become engineers and use the benefits SPE has to offer.

Oko’s engagement with SPE started early with his enrollment in the SPE chapter at Federal University of Technology Owerri and continued as he moved to France to complete his master’s degree in reservoir engineering at the University of Lorraine. He also supported Igbinedion University Okada’s student chapter when he lectured there for 2 years in the petroleum engineering department.

With his ALP presentations, Oko has clearly shown an ongoing drive to encourage and support the next generation. But when asked about what inspired him to become an engineer, he cited the challenges the profession brings.

“Challenges are my biggest motivation. The intrigues of subsurface science inspired me to study petroleum engineering. The uncertainties involved in hydrocarbon exploitation presented an attractive challenge to me, so I became even more eager to practice petroleum engineering.”

His initial curiosity has expanded into a much wider range of skills and experiences. Oko continues to be engaged with both technical and professional activities as well as educational and fund-raising programs for charities in his section. He is currently organizing the Young Professional Program for the Nigerian Annual International Conference and Exhibition, SPE’s largest conference in Africa, to be held in August.

Oko’s SPE activities also made him an ideal choice for participating in the 2016 Emerging Leaders Alliance Conference, a unique conference which brings together engineers from all backgrounds to help develop their leadership skills.

The purpose of “Spotlight on Young Professionals” is to share interesting voluntary contributions and technical achievements of young professionals with their peers. If you know someone who deserves to be put in the spotlight, tell us via our online form.