• Thursday, December 07, 2023
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From other industries to oil & gas, Rosario Osobase knows her knack


Rosario is a well-rounded professional with close to two decades of experience across several industries including banking, FMCG and oil & gas, where she has over the years developed expertise in energy, leadership, commercial and business strategies, operations, public relations and so on.

She heads Tenaris Nigeria’s Commercial & Institutional businesses and is responsible for their strategic, commercial, and institutional agenda for Nigeria. This role enables her manage their commercial agenda, define engagement with government and industry stakeholders, and execute strategies to guarantee Tenaris’ long-term sustainability in Nigeria. She has been instrumental to enabling Tenaris increase its human capacity development and local infrastructural deployment in Nigeria for economic advancement.

Rosario is a Director on the board of the Petroleum Contractors Trade Section (PCTS) and serves as the association’s Executive Secretary to drive industry level synergies and advocacy that enables the strengthening of the Nigerian economy.

PCTS is made up of key stakeholders in the oil & gas industry who provide technology and services across the oil & gas value chain in Nigeria. Recently, Rosario was nominated to represent the PCTS as a member of the Research and Development Council for a two-year tenure in the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, where she will be providing advisory inputs on research and development advancement in the Energy industry in Nigeria.

Rosario has several professional achievements to her credit and was recognised as one of the Top-100 career women in Nigeria by an independent adjudication panel of seasoned professionals for her career contributions in corporate Nigeria in March 2021.

Most recently, Rosario was named finalist for the Conqueror category of the 2021 ExxonMobil LNG Power Play Awards currently ongoing for her role in empowering others in the LNG value chain.

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She proudly holds a first class degree in Computing from the University of Bradford graduating with the overall best performance award. She has attended several leadership and executive management courses at Lagos Business School, Rice University, and is currently an Executive-MBA candidate at IMD in Switzerland class of December 2021.

She has a keen interest in energy transition and its impact on the energy industry across Africa. She is also very passionate about sustainable business strategies, corporate governance and gender advocacy topics as well as educational advancement in her local community and in Nigeria as a whole. She actively volunteers her time in several educational NGO programs and events. Rosario is married and blessed with three adorable kids.

Growing up and impact till today

I grew up at Calabar in the typical communal setting surrounded by lots of relatives and family friends where everyone around knew each other. I recall as a child, we always had to make adjustments around the home because of short or long-stay house guests who were transiting through or coming to Calabar for various engagements. This made me almost never have a dedicated bed to myself since my parents often had to make adjustments at home to accommodate our guests. This, very early on, taught me the value of family and community.

As the first female child of my parents, I had enormous responsibilities as a kid since I had to be responsible for myself, my siblings, and our conduct whenever my parents were out of the house. I believe this has largely influenced my independence and the strong sense of responsibility to all around me to date.

My parents are Catholics who devoted their time to showing us the path to Christianity through diligence and discipline. I have memories of my mum waking us up at 5:00am to ensure that we were ready for morning mass at 6:00am every day, Monday to Friday before we went to school or work respectively. At the time, it felt like any other routine but as I grew older, I observed how this routine shaped my unwavering faith in God and especially in his ability to see us through even through difficult times. With time, I found a home in the church; I took up active participation in church activities, served in various capacities in different church committees thereby building my leadership skills without knowing this at the time. This time of my life, taught me a lot of discipline and relentlessness.

As an incurable daddy’s girl, I recall my dad’s several admonitions. Dad often encouraged us on the value of education, hard work, and to aim for excellence without compromising the family name. My dad never saw my gender as a limitation and believed in me even before I could believe in myself. I recall dad influenced my studying science at senior school level, even when it seemed that the female population at school mostly gravitated towards the arts and business subjects. As a result, I never saw my gender as a setback and have always been resiliently determined to give my best shot at everything I embarked on.

Furthermore, I watched mum in those years, combine raising a family, building her career as a seasoned administrator, going to school to attain several additional degrees, and advocating for the advancement of women through her participation in a few women organisations. In the 90s, she held the position of Cross River State Secretary-General of the National Council for Women’s Societies (NCWS) and participated in several committees at the national level in support of female advocacy. With this background and as you can imagine, my mum plays a huge influence in my life and is my role model.

With the traction gained so far in the advancement of women, I recognize the huge sacrifice of women like my mom who has walked this path before us. Hence, I am resolved in projecting a positive influence to encourage my daughters and other women around me to reach for stars and maximize their fullest potential.

All my experiences have shaped who I am today – I hold onto the values of faith, family life, community, hard work, discipline, relentlessness, and pursuit of excellence.

Developing expertise in energy, leadership, commercial & business strategies and operations

With a degree in Computer Science, I started my professional career as a bank teller in GTBank, and had a brief stint in FMCG – British American Tobacco. Then in 2006, I had a big break and joined Schlumberger as a trainee engineer. From then, I grew organically through the ranks carefully developing my technical skills as well as my soft and transferable skills.

The energy industry is very technical and working in a world-class company like Schlumberger gave me a technical foundation that I continue to leverage today in various capacities. For instance, as a formation evaluation Engineer, I was initially deployed to customer’s offshore rig sites to evaluate the ability of their wellbore to produce oil or gas or in simpler terms, to evaluate the commercial viability of their wells after drilling.

This knowledge served me well as I grew and was made responsible for supporting the field population from the operations support center back in town. Given the huge cost of rig operations, I had to quickly develop several other skills, effective communication, problem-solving, and creative thinking which enabled me to become effective at real-time decision-making and operations management to support our engineers on the field at the time.

Working in several multinational organisations has enabled me to gain a balanced view of global trends and improved my understanding of the energy industry. Attending several industry conferences also helped me gain insights on topical issues in Nigeria.

My current role at Tenaris is where I have been able to strengthen my business acumen, commercial orientation, networking, leadership skills and continue to leverage the soft skills I have developed over the years.

Share on Tenaris Nigeria and heading the Commercial & Institutional Portfolio for the business

Tenaris is a leading global manufacturer of steel pipes and related services for the energy industry and other industrial applications. Our product portfolio includes casing, tubing and premium connections plus line pipe, with related pipe management services.

At Tenaris in Nigeria, I define and implement the commercial strategy, foster government engagements, define our strategic liaisons with key industry stakeholders, and execute strategies to guarantee Tenaris’ long-term sustainability in Nigeria.

I also manage relationships with strategic customers who are mostly international and national oil companies operating in Nigeria. Since joining Tenaris in 2014, I have rebuilt the commercial team from scratch through hiring, coaching and targeted development actions.

Today, the team is rock solid and I am gratified that my job lets me invest my time and effort in building people. Some of these team members have gone on to take up more senior roles and responsibilities across our commercial operations in other African countries.

We are a pioneer steel pipe manufacturer in Nigeria, keen on developing our local capacity and our employees’ capabilities. We have invested millions of dollars at our industrial threading facility in Port-Harcourt, which reached an annual threading capacity of 40,000 metric tons.

At Tenaris, we differentiate ourselves by providing several value-added products and services, tailored to meet our customers’ stringent demands. We have also worked diligently to ensure our products and services are in full compliance with all local regulatory policies and guidelines for the OCTG industry.

Nigeria’s OCTG regulations and guidelines are designed to promote the participation of Nigerians in the oil &gas industry and to retain more value created by the sector in-country, hence the importance of having a local OCTG threading facility (one of the end processes of manufacturing steel pipes) to promote value creation and human capacity development in this segment.

Being a Director on the board of the Petroleum Contractors Trade Section (PCTS)

The Petroleum Contractors Trade Section (PCTS) is a trade section under the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, set up to foster synergy amongst member organisations while advocating for issues of national and common interest that move the Nigerian petroleum industry forward.

The PCTS is made up of companies that deploy technology and services across the oil & gas value chain in Nigeria. Its current members are – Baker Hughes, Bristow Helicopters, Halliburton, Julius Berger, NigerStar7, Schlumberger, TechnipFMC, and Tenaris, where, together, we have a core focus on issues of viable legislation, corporate social responsibility, safety, and security.

As the PCTS Executive secretary, I direct the secretariat and work alongside other executives of the organisation to drive PCTS’s mandate. For example, we advocated strongly for major legislation impacting the Nigeria oil & gas industry, such as the Petroleum Industry Bill and the Local Content Amendment Bill. Both Bills will influence the future direction of the energy industry and promote in-country value domiciliation, which ultimately strengthens the Nigerian economy. Recently too, our association supported Nigeria’s response to the pandemic that saw us set up a N50million intervention fund, and provided critical items to support the Lagos and Rivers state governments in the battle with the COVID-19 pandemic.

How does PCTS provide technology and services across the oil & gas value chain in Nigeria?

PCTS member companies are reputable petroleum services contractors, whose contributions remain the bedrock of the life cycle of the oil & gas industry. Their services range from deploying critical infrastructure and technology to service exploration, field development, production, decommissioning, and transportation of crude oil.

PCTS member companies are committed to the long-term growth and strengthening of the local capacity in Nigeria, based on world-class standards. Ultimately, all our member companies are contributing partners in the growth and development of local human and technical capacity in the Nigerian oil and gas industry and a positive influence in the development of the Nigerian economy.

Synergy between stakeholders in the energy industry and the government

It is critical for stakeholders to team up with the government to address the challenges of the sector and the nation at large. Collaboration between the private and the public sectors drives economic growth and maximizes the fullest potential of a country. Government alone cannot resolve all the challenges of the energy industry.

Nigeria’s oil & gas, blessing or curse?

Looking at this from a positive frame, the vast oil & gas resources we have as a country will always be a blessing, if not, why would other nations continue to exploit from this abundance of our oil & gas resources?

This question should be considered as a full scale discuss on its own, nonetheless, the negative lens on our oil & gas resource is driven by our over reliance on this resource as a major source of our foreign exchange earnings. Furthermore, our continued production and exportation of this raw material without major impact on the full value chain of this resource, and the limited impact to local industrialisation, has an additional impact on the nation’s ability to create more jobs for the teaming population, thereby widening the poverty gap.

Government’s granting of private refineries licenses was designed to address the value chain deficit currently at play in the energy industry. Dangote’s Refinery is bound to play a pivotal role in our economy when it eventually comes on stream.

Nigeria’s “Decade of Gas” initiative seeks to leverage our huge gas reserves in industrialising our country with further potential to enable local manufacturing ecosystem. No country has achieved wealth primarily by exporting raw materials without developing the industrial sector. While I applaud this initiative, it needs to be backed by critical pipeline infrastructure and the right policy direction.

In response to the global trend for cleaner energy, Nigeria has the opportunity to leverage renewables beyond oil & gas to close our energy deficit. Solar technologies have strong potentials to emerge as the biggest disruptor by providing us with a decentralised national grid. Favorable policies and renewable cost incentives are crucial enablers to drive down renewable costs and ensure long-term sustainability.

Gender is not a limitation

I have never seen my gender as a limitation, as humans we are all bound to encounter challenges from time to time. My experiences have taught me to overcome challenges by focusing on the positive perspective of every situation. This mindset helps me never to look at myself as a victim and strive for excellence by putting my best effort into whatever I do.

However, I recognise as women, that we face unique challenges while building careers in any male-dominated environment. Some challenges women face include, having the primary responsibility of childcare often with impact on their careers, struggling with the feeling of incompetence disguised as imposter syndrome, encountering work place stereotypes which demean femininity as a primary requirement to join the boys club.

As more women professionals break glass ceilings, we must continually influence the next generation of women positively and leverage our femininity to lead with empathy.

For me, I shine the light by demonstrating a “can do” mindset, regularly improving my technical competence, and never saying NO to new and challenging opportunities (even if I am scared to fail).

Beyond technical capabilities, I have also found developing emotional intelligence is crucial for success in a male-dominated environment. Thankfully, I also have the privilege of working for organisations that have supported women in many aspects.

On my part, I am committed to continue to support women through mentoring and participation in female advocacy groups to advocate for the continued advancement of women in the energy industry. Our particular industry needs more female participation.

STEM for girls

Developed and rapidly developing countries have leveraged STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education to feed their economy with human capital talent. Men have always had the upper hand as the world evolved from the industrial to the IT-driven and now data-driven age.

Today, STEM subjects can be taught in a more fun way than was previously possible. To keep girls inspired on their STEM journey, they should also be encouraged to seek out mentors, role models, and internship opportunities early.

I recommend that more girls take up STEM courses because there are ample opportunities for them to have fulfilling professions in this data age. It is my hope that the impact of the technology era ahead of us inspires more girls into STEM as a safeguard for the future.

Rosario Osobase

Energy transition

Energy is currently in transition and will always be in transition. I assure you that this will not be the last transition the planet will see. We previously transitioned from biomass to coal then to fossil fuels. Today, there is consensus on demand for cleaner energy fuels, hence the race to reduce global warming below 1.5degC by 2050.

Our reality in Nigeria and the African continent, in general, is that we cannot adopt the same approach of developed countries to the energy transition. Energy transition should be country-specific. I am keen that we develop an equitable and practical approach that appropriately investigates energy transition for Nigeria so as not to drive us further down a path of economic uncertainty.

For developing countries such as Nigeria, our population growth and the need for industrialisation will drive energy demand across the country with a strong focus on sustainability through the security of supply and affordability.

Addressing Nigeria’s energy access requires a broad-spectrum approach, as renewables alone do not guarantee sustainability for us. Thus, our huge gas reserves will play a pivotal role, with gas to act as our transition fuel into the future.

Increase in women on boards in Nigeria

I hope this trend continues and at an even quicker pace. It shows the tremendous effort put in by others before us to advance the cause of female participation in the boardroom. I also align fully with several global research on this subject, which concludes that the performance of effective boards requires a diversity of skills, cultures, and viewpoints to make impactful business decisions.

I encourage women to develop themselves continually in readiness for future board opportunities, by ensuring we have the appropriate level of leadership and corporate governance skills required for board participation.

I can only say it’s a great time to be alive as a woman, and we take full advantage of this.

Has gender advocacy and inclusion come to stay?

Yes. The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) addresses gender equality (Goal 5). Therefore, in the coming years, we will only see an increase in gender advocacy.

Since the onset of the global pandemic, I see emerging trends in corporate organisations with how people work and businesses operate. There is an increased focus on capturing diverse perspectives to move organisations forward.

Although gender advocacy has come a long way, more work is required to ensure an equitable future for the coming generations. As such, I perceive more women support groups coming up to advocate for an equal future.

Day never to be forgotten and why

It is difficult to pinpoint one particular day. I have had pleasurable days that I cherish and days that tested the limits of my grit. Life to me will always be the sum of all my roller coasters experiences.

There are days I remember when the pain of labor instantly disappeared at the sight of my newborn, other days where I received news of a promotion at work or closed a major deal. I cherish all of these priceless moments forever. There have also been days where I received the devastating news of the passing of a loved one or days where I had to stay up all night to nurse both my ailing parents and still had to show up at work the following day. Such days tested my faith and the limits of my grit for which I still have vivid memories.

Nevertheless, my reflection from these, is to be grateful in all seasons and stay mindful not to miss the invaluable lessons from the season.

Final words

Thank you BusinessDay for the incredible work you do in spotlighting women. I do appreciate the opportunity to share a bit of my story here.

For anyone reading this, you are born with a spark. In the world reeling with darkness, use your spark, be that shining light and dispel the darkness of this world. As you build your value and create a positive impact, you shall find your purpose in this intersection.