At a dinner to honor him in Lagos this weekend, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) also announced that a new, private refinery is expected to end Nigeria's chronic shortage of kerosene and reduce unemployment in the Niger Delta, where it will be sited. Engineering work is to begin soon on the refinery, which is being built by joint venture partners Chevron, Shell, Total and ExxonMobil.
While oil company executives spoke on the record about Pryor's achievements, the big news that was likely the buzz of the party was apparently off the record.
In lauding Pryor as a visionary executive and oil industry veteran, the Guardian of Nigeria quoted several executive, but none mentioned the discovery in Block 1 that has a host of investors on tenterhooks awaiting formal word of the discovery at its Obo-1 well in the field's A1 propsect. OPEC President Edmund Daukoru has said may be larger than the one billion barrels of crude already reported in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere.
Nonetheless, the manner in which the country said goodbye to Pryor suggests everyone in Nigeria was very pleased with the outcome of his work there.
Here is the Chevron press release on his new job, and below it is the story from the Guardian of Nigeria:
Jay Pryor Named Vice President of Business Development
SAN RAMON, Calif., March 20, 2006 -- Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) has appointed Jay Pryor to the position of vice president for business development, reporting to Dave O'Reilly, chairman and chief executive officer. The appointment is effective May 1, 2006.
"Jay's successful track record with the company and well-rounded experience in the industry make him well suited to build upon the momentum we have established in this strategic role," O'Reilly said. "The company is committed to pursuing new legacy positions in high-growth regions of the world. Russia, the Middle East and North Africa are among the areas of focus for us."
Pryor, 48, has served for the past four years as managing director of the Nigeria/Mid-Africa strategic business unit, one of Chevron's largest international upstream operations. While in Nigeria, he successfully led Chevron's commercial efforts aimed at delivering future production growth, such as capturing several new offshore leases and overseeing many major capital projects, including the $5 billion Agbami offshore oil project, the Escravos gas-to-liquids project and the Olokola LNG project.
Pryor joined Chevron in 1979 and has held numerous positions within the company, including manager of petroleum engineering at Tengizchevroil (a Chevron joint-venture partnership) in Kazakhstan and managing director for Thailand, before moving to Lagos, Nigeria. Pryor holds a Bachelor of Science in petroleum engineering from Mississippi State University.
Pryor replaces Sam Laidlaw, whose departure was recently announced.
Chevron Corporation is one of the world's leading energy companies. With more than 53,000 employees, Chevron subsidiaries conduct business in approximately 180 countries around the world, producing and transporting crude oil and natural gas, and refining, marketing and distributing fuels and other energy products. Chevron is based in San Ramon, California. More information on Chevron is available at www.chevron.com.
Here is the Guardian's story:
NNPC, four firms to set up export refinery
AN export refinery to be located in the Niger Delta is to be built soon by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its Joint Venture partners.
Oil firms participating in the venture are Chevron Nigeria Limited, Shell Petroleum and Development Company (SPDC), Total and Exxon Mobil.
NNPC's Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr. Funsho Kupolokun dropped the hint in Abuja at the weekend during a dinner in honour of the out-going Managing Director of Chevron, Mr. Jny Pryor.
He said that feasibility studies on the facility to be named "Green Field Export Refinery" had already been carried out while the engineering work would soon start.
He said the refinery would be sited at the oil-rich Niger Delta for easy access to crude since all export terminals are located in the area there.
"The project will meet government's aspiration of reducing unemployment as well as reduce poverty to the barest minimum," Kupolokun said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) also quoted the NNPC Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma as saying that an end to current scarcity of kerosene was in sight.
Ajuonuma said that 24 vessels loaded with the product were waiting at the port to berth.
The NNPC boss said that Chevron under the leadership of Pryor worked tirelessly with NNPC to realise the West African Gas Pipeline Project believed to be a veritable regional integration project.
He listed other national projects started during Pryor's tenure in partnership with the NNPC to include the 34,000 barrel per day (b/d) Escravos Gas to Liquid (EGTL), the 22 metric tonnes yearly OKLNG, the 34,000 b/d mini-refinery at Escravos as well as the 780 mega-watts (MW) Independent Power Project (IPP) at Ijede.
Kupolokun said that Pryor had an impressive outing in the country and that his feat would continue to impact positively on the nation's oil and gas industry.
He urged the new Chevron Managing Director Fred Nelson to build on the foundation laid by Pryor in order to add more value to the sector.
Ajuonuma said at the weekend the corporation would in the next few days flood the country with kerosene.
"We currently have 24 vessels loaded with various white products on the high sea waiting to berth," Ajuonuma said.
"I am optimistic that pump prices of kerosene will crash as soon as the product is pushed into the market," Ajuonuma said.
He said that the NNPC was complying with the presidential directive to make kerosene available and affordable to all Nigerians.
The image maker said the era of kerosene shortage would soon be a thing of the past given the commitment of Kupolokun to make the commodity available at all times.
Most stations in Abuja displayed N56 per litre of kerosene to be the cost of a litre of kerosene even though they do not have the product to retail.
Ajuonuma described it as artificial, saying that the NNPC had 25-day stock of petrol at Suleja depot.