Meet the Brain behind Nigeria’s Biggest Independently Owned Oil Company

by Duchess Magazine

Nigerian billionaire Benedict Peters founded the Aiteo Group, which is the country’s biggest independently owned oil company. According to Ventures Africa, he is the seventh-richest person in Nigeria and the 17th-richest person overall in Africa.

Peters is an Ebonyi native who was raised in Abakaliki by a banker and a housewife. He is from Onicha Oloma in Delta State. He attended the Ekulu Primary School in Enugu and the Federal Government College in Enugu before going to the University of Benin to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) Hons degree in Geography and Urban Planning.

Early in the 1990s, Peters began working in the oil and petrol sector, alongside Adewale Tinubu, Mofe Boyo, and Onajite Okoloko, who were the founders of Ocean and Oil, the company that is now Oando Nigeria Plc. Before quitting MRS Oil Nigeria PLC in 1999 to found Sigmund Communecci, he joined the company as Group Executive Director and eventually rose to the position of Managing Director.

The Aiteo group, which replaced Sigmund Communecci, was established by Peters in February 2008 (Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company Ltd).

The enterprise has facilities that can store more than 250 million litres of petroleum over more than 100,000 square metres of land, making it one of the largest petroleum tank farms in Nigeria. Abonnema Storage Terminal is another facility that it owns and runs.

In 2014, Aiteo purchased from Royal Dutch Shell Plc a controlling interest in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 and the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) in the Eastern Niger Delta. 1956 at the Oloibiri Oilfield, according to Wood Mackenzie,  “OML 29 is a large block located in the southeastern Niger Delta. It contains 11 oil and gas fields. 

“The 983-square-kilometre OML 29, onshore in the Niger Delta region, is the site of Nigeria’s first-ever commercial discovery.”

With the development of Aiteo Power, where he currently serves as chairman, Peters is also fast diversifying. He is the head of the Aiteo Consortium and the EMA Consortium, two groups that have each won separate bids to buy three power generation firms. They also plan to construct a 100,000-barrel refinery in the oil-rich city of Warri in the Delta State.

Aiteo Group announced the signing of a five-year collaboration deal with the Nigerian Football Association in April 2017 for an estimated N2.9 billion. Gernot Rohr, the manager of the Super Eagles, and the coaches of every NFF national team were paid thanks to Aiteo’s sponsorship as the NFF’s Official Optimum Partner.

The African Energy Association, “a non-profit organisation of experienced negotiators, advisors, and high-level energy advocates,” hosted the Africa-US Leadership Awards dinner on August 5, 2014, in Washington, DC. Peters was one of four recipients of the Marquee Award for Global Business Excellence. He was named the “Leadership CEO of the Year 2014” by Leadership, an Abuja, Nigeria-based national newspaper, for promoting a local content agreement that enabled better management of oil assets in his native Nigeria. Peters received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Awards for “Economic Empowerment” on January 18, 2015, at a ceremony held at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC. According to Nigeria’s BusinessDay Newspaper, Benedict Peters was one of the 50 Most Important Nigerians in 2017.

He was also recognised in June 2018 as Guardian Oil and Gas CEO of the Year and Business Day’s 2019 Man of the Year.

Significantly, Benedict Peters will be recognised at the African Heritage Concert in Kigali, Rwanda on April 1, 2023, with the African Philanthropist Award for his enormous contributions to sport and human capital development across Africa.

Heritage Times (HT), the event’s organisers, states that the African Heritage Concert and Awards will honour notable African individuals who have elevated themselves through outstanding accomplishments around the world.

Peters is happily married with four children.

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