Julius Rone: The Gas King

Business

By JEREMIAH UROWAYINO, Assistant Online Editor

THE Group Managing Director, of UTM Offshore Limited, UTMOL, Mr. Julius Rone, OFR, fondly called ‘The Gas King’, has lived up to that title when he took the bold steps toward the implementation of Nigeria’s first floating liquefied natural gas, FLNG, facility. This, which is in line with the Federal government’s ‘Decade of Gas Initiative,” remains very strategic as it would enhance energy transition, employment, capacity building, transfer of technology, reduce gas flaring, increase domestic supply, and export, all targeted at generating additional revenue for stakeholders, including the Federal Government. Under his able leadership, UTMOL recently signed the Front-End Engineering Design, FEED, contract for the development of the FLNG facility with JGC Corporation, Japan, Technip Energies, France, and Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) in the United Kingdom, UK. 

The FEED contract entails conducting various studies for UTMOL to figure out technical issues and estimate rough investment costs for the FLNG facility prior to the engineering, procurement, and construction, EPC, phase of the project. The timeline for this phase of the FLNG project is 10 months. Before then, Mr. Rone had led the company to successfully execute the pre-FEED agreement between UTMOL and JGC, a leading international engineering, procurement, and construction company. The pre-FEED scope was completed within four months of the commencement date. KBR provided due diligence on the JGC scope by conducting a third-party review of all deliverables from JGC during the pre-FEED phase. UTMOL entered into the pre-FEED agreement with JGC and KBR in May 2021.  

Under his watch, UTMOL looks forward to developing and financing a 1.2 million-tonne per annum FLNG facility with a capacity to process 176 million standard cubic feet per day, (MMscfd) of natural gas and condensate from the block, located at the Yoho field, operated by the joint venture of ExxonMobil (operator, with 40 per cent equity) and the NNPC (with 60 per cent equity), to be completed in 2026. The facility would become complete with a turret and mooring system, gas pre-treatment modules, LNG production modules, living quarters, self-contained power generation and utilities, as well as capacities for LNG storage and offloading. Before starting the business, Rone had led others to incorporate UTMOL in July 2012 as a privately held Nigerian company, actively engaged in diverse sectors of the Nigerian and international markets, which include but are not limited to direct sales and direct purchase, DSDP, of the Nigerian crude-for-fuel products exchange (swap); an established premium provider in subsea engineering, construction, ballast water treatment plants, dredging, equipment leasing, rental, procurement, supply, marine support, security, and logistic services to the ever-expansion of its clientele, which comprises government and private oil and gas companies. Under his leadership, UTMOL also provides premium marine security, support, and logistics services, such as sales and supply, short and long-term leasing of sea-going vessels, service boats, and allied equipment such as large and medium-size Platform Supply Vessels, PSVs, Security Vessels, Anchor Handling Tugs, AHTs, Fast Service Intervention Vessels, FSIVs, Crew/Supply Boats, Dive Support Vessels, Drill-Ship.  The company is well operated, apparently because he has put in place a team of highly experienced maritime and oil services specialists to run its operations. Consequently, within a short period of time, it has grown its services through strategic affiliations and global alliances, thus enabling UTMOL to provide a competitive and wide array of customized products and services; including support services, broad-based capacity enhancements, international trading opportunities, and resource-optimized strategies and plans that are sustainable and productive to the benefit of our existing and prospective partners/ affiliates, and clientele.  

He is an alumnus of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and the University of Calabar, where he attained his advance diploma and postgraduate diploma in business administration, respectively. Mr. Rone is on the board of the UTM Group of companies, viz: Water Petroleum Limited; UTM Dredging Limited; UTM Offshore Limited; UTM Engineering and Construction Limited: UTM Properties Limited; UTM Logistics and Marine Services Limited; MWS Allied Services Limited; SBM Limited; UTM Ghana Limited; and UTM-CTK Ghana Limited. This seasoned businessman and renowned philanthropist is a member of many professional associations, including the Nigerian British Chambers of Commerce (NBCC); The Institute of Directors (IoD); The American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP); The American Management Association (AMA).

 The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) USA; The Association of Associate Executives (AAE); etc. Mr. Julius Dediare Rone is happily married to the beautiful business entrepreneur and fashionista, Mrs. Utibe Rone, and they are blessed with three adorable children: Misan, Winor, and Sesan. However, his numerous landmark contributions in Nigeria and abroad have attracted him many commendations, recognitions, and important awards, including the title of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, (OFR) on October 11, 2022, in Abuja. These and other feats culminated in his emergence as the 2022 Vanguard’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

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