In a little over a year, Aiteo Group, a leading energy company in Nigeria, under the leadership of Benedict Peters has ramped up crude production to 90,000 bpd from an average production of the 23,000 bpd after acquiring OML 29 for $2.8 billion from Shell at a time when local oil companies struggled to manage divested assets.
OML29 stretches over an area of 983 square kilometres, and includes the Nembe, Santa Barbara and Okoroba Oil Fields, including related facilities such as the 97-kilometre Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL). It also has a 100 kilometres long pipeline with a capacity of 600 thousand barrels per day.
In March 2015, Aiteo Eastern E & P, a subsidiary of Aiteo Group, acquired SPDC’s interest in OML 29 and the NCTL. Total E&P Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited – the other joint venture partners – also assigned their 10 percent and 5 percent interests respectively to Aiteo, giving the company a 45 percent interest in OML 29.
The bold acquisition has not only ramped up Nigeria’s crude production to the 1.8million bpd prior to militant attacks, It has proven that that indigenous companies can successfully operate an oil asset. The company also highlighted several existing and developing projects that could potentially grow its asset production to over 150,000bpd and 200 million standard cubic feet of gas daily in the near future
“Our outlook is bright with 3 producing oil fields and viable crude exports via Bonny terminal. We also have contingent resources to appraise and prospective ones to explore in the medium-to-long term, including full 3D seismic coverage and 2P NNS reserves of more than 1.6bn bbl. Put simply, we have a clear vision for the future with the experience and assets crucial to providing oil and gas consistently on a regional and global scale,” said Peters in a statement.
Some months down the line, this legacy achievement is impacting lives and has created significant direct and indirect employment in Nigeria’s highly competitive oil and gas industry.
Aiteo legitimately secured the oil bock after a keenly contested but transparent divestment bid driven by Shell. The funding of Aiteo’s acquisition was made possible through a combination of debt and equity involving several Nigerian and international banks. All these entities conducted stringent and substantial due diligence before backing the Aiteo Consortium’s bid for the oil block, adjudged one of the most transparent in the history of Nigeria.
Aiteo Group, since its formation in 1999 by a young ambitious Benedict Peters, has transformed into Nigeria’s pre-eminent energy conglomerate with an international focus. It is leading the vanguard with innovative solutions and strategic investments across the energy value chain – petroleum products storage and distribution; natural gas, power and exploration as well as production. The Group’s subsidiaries include Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited (AEEPCo), Aiteo Downstream and Aiteo Power.
As Executive Vice Chairman, Peters has been responsible for directing the company in terms of strategic development, policy formulation and execution.
“Our group’s vision is to create the most sustainable energy solutions to power growth on the African continent. By working together, we inspire people and communities across Africa to have a collective vision; Aiteo is showing its commitment to encouraging a transformed energy sector which creates health and wellness as well as resilient economic prosperity across its stakeholders. We have shown by our story that indigenous oil companies are competent enough to participate along with international oil majors in the exploration and development of Nigeria’s hydrocarbon resources, beyond the provisions of the 2010 local content act,” says Peters.
Aiteo has very strong ambitions still. It has already identified several existing and developing projects that could potentially grow its asset production to over 150,000bpd, with a vision to provide oil and gas consistently on a regional and global scale.
In the last one year, Aiteo has also made significant investments in sports development. In April 2017, the company announced a record N2.5 billion partnership agreement with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to pay the salaries of the Super Eagles’ coaching crew at N500 million per annum for the next five years. This social investment, which covers all the local and foreign components of the NFF’s financial obligations for the main team, earned the company the title ‘Official Optimum Partner of the NFF.’
This decision has made a two-pronged impact. It has put paid to the problem of delayed payments affecting the morale of our coaches and the Super Eagles’ performance, resulting in Nigeria’s qualification for the Russia 2018 World Cup.
“We are fulfilled that the Super Eagles have qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Nigerians are passionate about football and as a company, we are passionate about things which unite Nigerians. We are committed to ensuring that Nigeria’s national soccer teams are well managed and primed to bring glory to our nation at all tournaments,” said Benedict Peters after the Super Eagles’ much-celebrated qualification.
Acknowledging Aiteo’s support for the Super Eagles, NFF President Amaju Pinnick said: “Our teams are focused and show technical depth and excellence, thanks to AITEO’s financial intervention. The Nigerian soccer team is inspired, confident and relaxed that all bills are paid as opposed to the former times when players and coaches paid for their expenses themselves, all were dejected and most were hardly reimbursed.”
Amidst the euphoria, Aiteo did not neglect a key player on the national team whose contributions were interrupted by health challenges. It therefore committed to and redeemed a pledged to contribute N10 Million towards the treatment of Super Eagles goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme, for every goal scored by the Eagles against the indomitable Lions of Cameroon at the return leg in Yaounde. Ikeme was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in July, 2017.
As an indigenous oil company, Aiteo has also made significant contributions towards developing the local football league. In June 2017, the company announced another N2.5 billion agreement to underwrite the costs associated with organising the Federation Cup, Nigeria’s equivalent of the English FA Cup and which is the oldest football tournament in Nigeria. The contest, rechristened Aiteo Cup, had been struggling for sponsorship before Aiteo’s intervention. The 5-year package guarantees a monetary reward for the tournament’s best performing teams, with the winner of the men’s category guaranteed N25 million as prize money while their female counterparts will get N10 million for winning.
In October 2017, Aiteo also signed a partnership agreement with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to sponsor the Annual CAF Awards 2018, which honours footballers who have made outstanding contributions to the development of football development on the continent.
As a tribute to the company’s support for football development, international football governing body, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), extended a special invitation to Aiteo’s Deputy Managing Director Francis Peters to attend the recent FIFA Best Football Awards in London.
The company’s marks is outside sports, Aiteo is also committed to host community development. As such, it shares economic benefits with these communities by providing work opportunities, offering training programmes and supporting local businesses.
Aiteo has a clear vision for the future with the experience and assets crucial to providing oil and gas consistently on a regional and global scale. The company is currently developing a pipeline of power generation projects across the country with an ambitious five-year plan which includes transforming the oil-rich Niger Delta region into a power generation hub and ultimately tackling Nigeria’s power challenges through its legacy investments in the gas-to-power value chain. It is also working on developing a 24,000 MT LPG facility in the Delta with associated LPG distributing facilities nationwide.
Aiteo Power is developing a gas-to-power strategy by leveraging its power and upstream capabilities. It is utilizing the significant gas resources in OML 29 that would see the oil rich Niger Delta region become a hub for power generation in Nigeria. Aiteo Power is also a supporter of renewable, clean energy; developing multiple solar energy power projects within the sub-Sahara African region.
For its belief in Nigeria and significant investments in football and community development in the last one year, BusinessDay’s board of editors is pleased to name Aiteo ‘Company of the Year 2017’.