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Paddy Adenuga: How I NEARLY bought Chevron Netherlands (long read)

Paddy Adenuga: How I NEARLY bought Chevron Netherlands (long read)
January 30
14:53 2018
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A few weeks later Richard called me, “I have the perfect deal for you Paddy!” US oil giant, Chevron, had decided to sell their entire upstream, exploration and production business in the Netherlands and had appointed Jeffries to manage a bid process for the sale of Chevron Netherlands. The sale included their production platforms in the North Sea off the Dutch coast, their office buildings, around a thousand or so native Dutch staff, and their crude and gas pipeline evacuation infrastructure. Even the Chevron coffee and tea mugs were part of the sale. Richard was right, this deal was perfect and the ideal Trojan Horse with which to enter the Africa oil & gas terrain with from Europe. He informed me that this would be a competitive bid against other companies to acquire Chevron but thought that Catalan and I stood a good chance. I told him I was interested and that he should send all the necessary paperwork over. Something within me believed I was going to win this bid and with that in mind I was going to throw everything at it. If I won this bid, I thought, there would be stories written about me for a long time to come.

Chevron are by nature, prudently selective with which companies they invite to bid. So the fact that Catalan was chosen was a big deal to me. I felt like for once in my 29 years, I wasn’t being judged solely by my last name but for my skill, merits and ability. I got the first bits of information from Chevron on their Netherlands assets and I began putting together a team of hired hands to act as my management team for Catalan’s bid. I appointed Dutch law firm DeBrauw as my lawyers, Canadian firm Canaccord Genuity as my finance managers, RPS Energy as my technical managers, and Moore Stephens as my accountants. I informed Chevron of my management team and they asked for a few weeks to open the data room and kick off the bid.

Whilst Catalan and its hired management team waited on Chevron, I decided to be pro-active. From previous my experience with OML 30, not engaging government regulators enough could prove to be unwise. I decided that I needed to meet with the government body in the Netherlands responsible for managing their oil & gas affairs. After all I was a young Nigerian man, trying to buy prized, national Dutch assets. I, more than anyone, needed to be ten steps ahead at any given time. My lawyers put me in touch with Jan-Dirk Bokhoven, the managing director at the time of the Dutch state-owned oil company, EBN. Jan-Dirk and I spoke on the phone and agreed a date to meet at EBN’s head office in Utrecht, a one-hour drive or so outside of Amsterdam.

I had never been to the Netherlands before. I took the first flight from London to Amsterdam and arrived a little after 7am. The hotel sent a car to pick me and on my ride into Amsterdam the most fascinating thing I saw was that the Dutch rode bicycles everywhere. When parents take their kids to school, they pop them onto the back of a bike and ride on. I had never seen an entire city on bicycles. It was like something out of the twilight zone. A few hours later I changed and drove to Utrecht on a warm and sunny morning. The ride to Utrecht was stunning. The skies were a picturesque baby blue and there wasn’t a cloud in sight. On either side of the motorway there were golden fields of farm land and further beyond, wind turbines spun in synchronicity. The view was so special to me that I asked the driver to stop on the side of the motorway so that I could get out and appreciate the scenery for fifteen minutes or so. The driver thought I was odd.

I finally met Jan-Dirk at his offices with his head of operations, Thijs. I could see in both their faces, looks of confusion and reverence at the same time. How could a 29-year-old Nigerian have found himself in a position to buy Chevron’s business in the Netherlands? I told Jan-Dirk and Thijs of my intentions and that I took this bid seriously and wanted to make sure that I did everything right in the eyes of not only Chevron but the Dutch government. They both assured me that I was on the right track and that if there was any issue, they would let me know. I spent a few more days in Amsterdam, met up with a few friends, and enjoyed the Dutch nightlife and hospitality. I flew back to London.

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7 Comments

  1. lexy
    lexy January 30, 21:55

    The managing director of Petrogas of Oman was a close friend of his and he knew he was bidding for Chevron Netherlands at the time. If I had told him what I was up to when we saw in London, whilst I was searching for the last bidder, he would have introduced us. I was blown away. There it was that whole time. That mystery last bidder that I had searched so hard for was there for my taking and it passed right by me. This killed it.. Had a lot to learn from your business adventure..

    Reply to this comment
  2. CCIMSSS
    CCIMSSS January 31, 05:38

    Try to think outside the box… must it be Oil& Gas?

    Reply to this comment
  3. Adeleke Oriade
    Adeleke Oriade January 31, 07:41

    Almost almost. Buy it and bring refining to nigeria abeg

    Reply to this comment
  4. nonso
    nonso February 01, 04:31

    Interesting read! More grease to your elbow

    Reply to this comment
  5. Suffi
    Suffi February 01, 12:26

    Great story on Paddy business adventure. It’s really inspiring and i have learnt a lot from this young man. Please post more this type of story on your new board

    Reply to this comment
  6. Capt. Eke
    Capt. Eke February 02, 16:28

    It’s always good to be a good son & a good boy. Keep it up. Also remember the down trodden Nigeria youths who need empowerment and job. Oil & gas business is diversifying, it has the opportunity and a wider range where youths can be involved positively
    I sincerely wish you good luck in your future endeavors in Jesus mighty name-Amen.

    Reply to this comment
  7. @DiasporaBro
    @DiasporaBro February 02, 21:10

    I like this story. If he had succeeded in pulling this through, people will say it is because of his father’s money, without knowing the tenacious efforts Paddy put in! Nice one, Paddy! We live and we learn.

    Reply to this comment

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