Inter-firm alliances can have a variety of cooperative arrangements, including direct investment, joint ventures, supplier relationships, technology licensing, technology exchange, research and development, and so on. Various typologies have been proposed to classify these structures. Many have devoted considerable discussion to critical issues on what is needed in an alliance, such as organizational culture, collaborative processes, configuration and coordination. Emphasis on compatibility of partners and levels of collaboration have been raised as being significant. However, some theorists have differentiated the governance structures into two categories: equity and non-equity alliances. Equity alliances involve the transfer or creation of equity ownership, and they take two forms: direct investment and joint ventures. Direct investment occurs when one of the partners acquires partial ownership of the other partner or partners. In joint ventures, partners invest in a new, jointly owned entity. Non-equity alliances on the other hand, do not involve any equity transfer, but they include all kinds of contractual arrangements. The choice between equity and non-equity alliances is one of the most important decisions that prospective partners are required to make. The decision has crucial implications on several aspects of the alliance: organization structure, operational process, control mechanism, and so on.

A number of studies have sought to reveal the underlying rationale for determining the choice between equity and non-equity alliances, many from a transaction cost economics standpoint. Adopting the neoclassical economics of oligopoly, transaction cost theorists have assumed that the partners of an inter-firm alliance tend to behave opportunistically, maximizing their own benefits, while plunging the collective efforts into difficulties. The opportunistic behaviour of partners is therefore a major source of transaction costs in inter-firm alliances. Opportunism results in expensive negotiating ex-ante and monitoring costs ex-post. However, if partners share ownership of an entity, or are ‘mutual hostages’, their incentive to behave opportunistically is likely to decrease. Thus, equity alliances are used to control opportunistic behaviour, and therefore transaction costs of inter-firm alliances. The general finding is that when the available chances and costs of opportunistic behaviour are high, equity alliances will be the preferred format. Non-equity alliances, by contrast, lack such a mechanism for curbing opportunistic behaviour, and rely heavily on the goodwill and voluntary cooperation from independent firms. However, non-equity alliances are much more flexible, with no transfer of equity, limited level of commitment and better control of risks relating to performance of the alliance. Against this backdrop, what types of alliances are prominent/required in the Nigerian oil & gas industry?

At the heart of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act which was signed into law in April 2010 is the need to compel oil and gas multinationals to utilize the indigenous material and human resources with the aim of building local capacity, increasing local participation, dissuade capital flight, and increase contribution of oil and gas to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). But to utilize indigenous materials and human resources, such must be available in the first instance and where not available, should be developed over time. It is my proposition that the desired development in local capacity cannot be fully achieved without the right strategic alliances between local and foreign firms with the primary aim of achieving knowledge and technology transfer. Such will require long-term commitment (including financial) by both parties. Yet equity alliances are prominent only between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the International Oil Companies (IOCs). Very few joint ventures exist between local and foreign firms (although more have emerged post-NOGICD Act), while equity partnerships between local firms are almost non-existent. Equity in this regard, refers to the mutual ownership of assets among parties in a venture, or a firm’s partial ownership in another firm. Prior to changes in regulation in the Nigerian oil & gas industry, there was very little incentive for both local and foreign firms to go into partnerships, with many local firms preferring to opt for a principal-agent relationship and happy to receive commissions.

In general, loose arrangements are still very prominent in form of instruments like a Memorandum of Understanding/Agreement (MOU/MOA) and representation or agency agreements in the Nigerian oil industry. This is typical between foreign companies/Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and local firms. Project-specific alliances are also commonplace, and exist purely for the bidding and execution of particular projects, after which both parties go their separate ways. Findings show that these loose arrangements are easier to form, require no long-term commitment, are cheaper and less risky due to limited financial commitment. Whilst these loose alliances are sometimes the only feasible or viable option for many local companies for a host of reasons beyond the scope of this article, such cannot lead to sustainable capacity development.

On one hand, I conclude that only long-term alliances via equity participation will lead to an increase in local capacity development in the Nigerian oil & gas industry. Yet on the other, I postulate that the avalanche of challenges within the oil & gas industry (largely internal but again outside the scope of this write-up)) continue to hamper the type of long-term alliances required to achieve desired capacity building objectives.

Kayode Thomas – 28th January, 2021

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Ebi Dike

Operations Manager

Ebi Dike is a dynamic and results-oriented operations and project manager. With a successful track record and specialization in pipeline and piping operations and projects spanning over 15 years, Ebi has consistently delivered exceptional results in complex and challenging project environments.
Ebi’s strong leadership abilities have allowed him to effectively coordinate cross-functional teams, fostering collaboration, and ensuring seamless communication throughout project lifecycles. Since his involvement in the Bonga FPSO project in 2004, Ebi has lead project teams on other FPSOs like Erha, Agbami, Akpo, Usan, and Egina. He has also led project teams on other offshore and land production facilities like Total’s Ikike Project, Chevron’s DSO – Meren GGCP & SONAM Projects, Interplant Corridor Escravos Pipeline Project, and Abiteye Sewage Treatment Plant Project.
Ebi’s technical expertise is complemented by his in-depth knowledge of industry regulations, safety protocols, and quality control standards. He consistently applies best practices and innovative solutions to optimize processes, enhance efficiency, and minimize risks. His ability to analyze complex situations and make data-driven decisions has proven invaluable in resolving challenges and delivering successful outcomes. As Operations Manager, Ebi is responsible for managing cross-functional field operations and delivering various complex projects across an array of clients.
Ebi has a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Geology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Information Technology, both from Federal University of Technology, Owerri. He holds certifications in relevant areas such as piping design, equipment maintenance, safety, quality, and project management methodologies. He has also completed several training programmes in engineering design, construction, management, and improvement in operational processes. Ebi also actively pursues continuous learning opportunities and stays updated with the latest industry advancements.
Beyond oil and gas services, Ebi has interests in Systems and Design thinking, Data analytics, Agile concepts and principles, Lean Six Sigma principles, and emerging technologies. He is also an avid reader of different genres. Ebi is keen on making contributions to positively impact his immediate environment and the society at large.

Aigbe Abohi

Finance Manager

Aigbe Abohi is a seasoned professional with almost 10 years cognate industry experience in areas of accounting, financial management, financial planning and reporting, budgeting, and operational finance.

Prior to joining Bell Oil and Gas, he was a General Ledger Manager at Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc where he was responsible for general accounting operations, financial reporting, suggesting, and implementing sound internal control procedures, designing standard operating procedure manuals, preparing annual audited financial statements, as well as leading and coordinating external audit exercises for various companies in the agro allied value chain. He had also functioned as a finance and accounts team lead in other organizations where he oversaw finance and management reporting, accounts payables and receivables, inventory, payroll as well as fixed assets management.

In his current role at Bell Oil and Gas, he is responsible for supervising the finance team, coordinating a variety of finance and accounts activities including general accounting, accounts payables, payroll and treasury management, financial reporting and budgeting amongst others.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Benin, and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

His hobbies include studying, sports, music, movies and networking.

DR. (Engr). Chima Ibeneche

Chairman, Board of Directors

Dr. (Engr.) Chima has over 31 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. He spent his first three years with Schlumberger where he started out in 1978. He joined The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in 1986. Chima was sent overseas on assignment as Senior Petrophysicist, Land Operations, in  Nederlandse Aardolle Maatschaappij, a Shell/ Esso company in Assen, northern Netherlands. He returned to Nigeria in 1989 to become the Divisional Chief Petrophysicist. He was later appointed Chief Petroleum Engineer in the Western Division of The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC).

Dr. Chima drilled the first horizontal well in Shell’s operations in Nigeria. From 1994 to 1999, he served as the Petroleum Economist for Europe and Africa at Shell International Headquarters in The Hague, Holland; Acting Petroleum Engineering Manager, Western Division; Human Resources Manager; and Deputy Development Director and Corporate Well Engineering Manager and Service Director at SPDC. In 2004, he became the Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), pioneering offshore and deep-water exploration and production operations in Nigeria and bringing on stream the Bonga field. Chima joined NLNG in 2008 as the first Nigerian Managing Director from The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), a position he held between 2008 and 2012. During the same period, he was the Executive VP of Bonny Gas Transport Limited.

As the Chairman Board of Directors in Bell Oil & Gas, he is responsible for leading the Board on strategic matters and guiding the company on its strategic direction. Dr. Chima holds a degree in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and a Doctorate Degree Honoris causa in Production Management from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri. He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Institute of Directors and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group. He is also the former president of the Nigerian Gas Association and a fellow of the Energy Institute of London. He also serves on the board of several notable companies.


Position: Assistant General Manager

Ejiro Erivona has over 20 years of international experience in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry. His expertise spans Business Operations Management , Business Development, Contracts and process management in the oil service industry as well as the Exploration and production segment of the Oil and Gas Business. 

He has managed key business divisions for various multinationals like Falcon, General Electric and Baker Hughes, working in various countries in Africa and North America, leading multidisciplinary and multicultural teams to achieve stellar business outcomes. Most recently, he held the position of Senior Manager, Operations at Nigeria’s Major E&P Independent- Conoil Producing Nigeria. 

Experienced in business startups, as well as new business generation, Ejiro has a track record of closing major deals in the IOCs, NOCs and marginal field operators in the sub-continent. 

He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the university of wales and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Benin. He is also an alumnus of the Administrative College of India ( ASCI) 

Ejiro has a “Black Belt” in people and change management and has pursued the same with great flair. 


Chief Executive Officer

With a solid background in corporate strategy, business development, project management, business analysis and supply chain management, gained from key positions with various blue chip organisations, Kayode has many years international and domestic experience in driving businesses to achieve their strategic and corporate goals.

Prior to Bell Oil & Gas Ltd, he managed and delivered various strategic projects for multi-national corporations in Europe including business process re-engineering, organisation design, change management, ERP solutions, mergers & acquisitions, and post-merger business integration. He held strategic positions in different organisations including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (London office), British Telecommunications (UK), Johnson & Johnson (UK), Cable & Wireless (UK) and GlaxoSmithKline (UK) where he managed and developed supply chain processes, new product introduction models, sales and operations planning policies, product rationing strategies, customer services and performance management methodologies across Europe. His various achievements led to him being named the Glaxo Wellcome IIP Award winner in 1998.

A finalist at the 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and a founding director of Bell Oil & Gas, Kayode is a seasoned entrepreneur with a successful track record of leadership in cross-functional teams. At Bell Oil & Gas Ltd where he has held the position of CEO since inception, Kayode is responsible for corporate strategy, business planning, major projects development, change management, corporate governance, strategic alliances, brand management and corporate social responsibility. He is also responsible for the overall direction, growth and expansion of the company.

A strong advocate of continuous learning, Kayode is an ardent reader of a range of books covering leadership, motivation, relationship building, crime, autobiographies, and Christian literature. He is also a presenter and speaker at international conferences with specific interests in Strategic Alliances, Nigerian Content, and Entrepreneurship.

Kayode is an avid animal lover, with interests in exotic breeds of dogs, parrots, horses and wildlife. He is also a staunch Formula 1 follower, a lover of cricket, rugby, snooker, polo and sailing.

A Harvard Business School and Warwick Business School alumnus, Kayode is a highly motivated and articulate professional who brings with him, deep business insights, strategic thinking, and extensive management and business development experience and expertise spanning many key business areas.

A Certified Management Consultant (CMC), Kayode serves on the board of a number of companies, including several start-ups, provides advisory services to many organisations, within and outside the oil industry and supports young aspiring entrepreneurs in translating ideas into business reality. Kayode is also the founder and chairman of Rifugio Communications, a leading mobile phone retail and enterprise solutions provider in Nigeria. He holds a B.SC (Hons) Degree in Physics, an MSc in Advanced Manufacturing Systems, an MBA and a Doctorate Degree in Business Administration with research interest in Strategic Alliances and Implications for Local Capacity Development in the Nigerian Oil & Gas industry.

Kayode is a member of the Institute of Directors, the Nigerian Institute of Management and a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC-Nigeria).

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