8 Nigerians included in list of the top 25 movers and shakers in Africa’s energy sector

Nigerians feature prominently in the African Energy Chamber’s recently launched list of the top 25 movers and shakers in the energy sector to watch.

“With this list, we hope to put all key role players to task, we want to challenge them and pose the questions: ‘What’s next? Are you going to deliver on your plans and promises? How will you and your organisation contribute to the development of Africa’s oil and gas sector?’,” said NJ Ayuk, executive chairman of the African Energy Chamber.

How we made it in Africa takes a closer look at the eight Nigerians who stand to contribute significantly in shaping the continent’s energy economy.

Aliko Dangote: chairman, Dangote Group

The Dangote Group is nearing the completion of its $12 billion, Lagos-based refinery. At a capacity of 650,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) – enough to supply Nigeria’s domestic fuel demand – it is truly a game-changing downstream addition to the continent’s largest oil producer. All eyes will be on Dangote in 2020 as details emerge about the group’s distribution plans for refined products and his ability to navigate logistical challenges to complete the refinery on time. Similarly, the father of Africa’s modern private sector could have a new landmark project in the pipeline next year.

Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo: secretary general, OPEC

Since assuming the top job at OPEC in 2016, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo has been a flagbearer for African oil and gas. Under his leadership, OPEC has welcomed African producers like Equatorial Guinea in 2017 and the Republic of Congo in 2018. As the organisation increases its outreach to Africa in 2020, who will be the next African producer to join OPEC? Can Barkindo continue to expand the OPEC/non-OPEC outreach across Africa to find consensual solutions to market stability while assisting upcoming producers like Senegal, Uganda or Mauritania to manage their newly-discovered natural resources?

Kola Karim: chairman, Shoreline Energy

Karim has made a name for himself over twenty years of successful entrepreneurship in Nigerian oil and gas. He has built an impressive empire, which includes Shoreline’s 45% interest in OML-30, currently producing around 75,000 bpd. Recent expansion over the past few years across the gas value chain through an agreement with Shell, and the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and services sector through a 51% acquisition of Entrepose DBN in 2018, could result in further diversification and expansion for Shoreline in 2020. Meanwhile, plans are in place to double output from OML-30 over 2020/21, making Shoreline one of the key independents to watch next year.

Benedict Okey Oramah: chairman/president, Afreximbank

In the first half of 2019, Afreximbank provided $2.28 billion in loans to the energy and mining sector – more than it provided in the whole of 2018. Oramah is overseeing a significant increase in the bank’s financing activities. Projects in the downstream sector – such as the Dangote Refinery, to which the bank provided $650 million – are especially well aligned with the bank’s mission to support intra-African trade and industrialisation. What deals will Oramah, along with director of client relations Rene Awambeng, be executing next year? With an entire value-chain hungry for cash, Afreximbank’s next big move could be anywhere.

Tope Shonubi: executive director, Sahara Group

Nigeria-based Sahara Energy is looking forward to a packed 2020. Negotiations are ongoing with Total to acquire its stakes in refineries in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, all which Sahara plans to upgrade. In Zambia, Sahara has committed to build a hydrocracker at the 25,000 bpd Indeni refinery. But beyond its pipeline of upcoming deals, its Sahara’s ability to replicate its success across sectors and geographies, and solve key challenges such as electricity access and fuel shortages that needs to be looked out for. They will be an indicator of whether Sahara is well-positioned to seize Africa’s future opportunities.

Prince Arthur Eze: chairman, Atlas Oranto

Through Prince Arthur Eze’s leadership, Atlas Oranto continues to be one of the boldest independent players on the continent. In 2020, Atlas Oranto’s next big move could be coming from anywhere. With IOCs’ divesting in Nigeria and acreages on offer across new African frontiers, Prince Eze has a large menu to choose from. With licences in 11 countries across sub-Saharan Africa – including some of the most highly prospective basins, such as Uganda’s Lake Albert – Prince Arthur Eze’s firms are positioned for a busy year with significant growth potential.

Catherine Uju Ifejika: CEO, Britannia-U Group

The Britannia-U Group is a Nigerian oil and gas company with operations in exploration and production, oilfield services and consultancy. Under the leadership of CEO Catherine Ifejika, Britannia-U will be one of 15 contractors supplying the Nigerian government with refined petroleum under the deep sea drilling project programme in 2020. The company currently has a production facility of 10,000 bpd with an expansion capacity of up to 20,000. Ifejika is also part of a new generation of female oil leaders and could be a driver of the women’s empowerment agenda across the industry in 2020 and beyond.

Austin Avuru: CEO, Seplat Petroleum

Austin Avuru retires in 2020 after a decade of leading Seplat Petroleum, one of Nigeria’s leading independent energy companies. Though retired, it is unlikely that Avuru will be completely out of the industry in the future. With a vast experience across Africa’s oil sector, a wide network and strong industry recognition, Avuru could well become a strong influencer on the future of Africa’s energy sector.