The oil and gas industry is the lifeblood of the Nigerian economy. According to a Nigerian Energy Sector report done by Proshare, the industry contributes about 16.05% to Nigeria’s total GDP, and accounts for over 74% of the national budget revenue. The industry has been divided into upstream, midstream and downstream. The upstream sector of the industry, which consists of the exploration and production of crude oil is the major revenue earner for the government. A 2016 KPMG Nigeria oil and gas industry brief puts the upstream oil sector as the single most important sector in the economy, accounting for over 90% of the country’s exports and about 80% of the Federal Government (FG’s) revenue.
Though, the upstream sector is dominated by International Oil Companies (IOCs) which account for more than 70% of Nigeria’s production, indigenous oil companies have within the last five years become increasingly involved. A couple of Nigerian oil and gas companies have acquired assets left behind by IOCs ongoing divestment. Although there have been challenges, indigenous firms have generally done well with the assets they have acquired, thereby increasing optimism in the ability and capacity of local content.
With indigenous firms now accounting for about 12 per cent of Nigeria’s 1.8million bpd total oil production, five of these local players are leading what is called ‘the indigenous revolution’ in the Nigerian upstream sector.
Formerly Sigmund Communecci, Aiteo was founded in 1999 by businessman, Benedict Peters. For many years, the company operated in the downstream sector as an oil trader, distributing petroleum products and building tank farms. Between 2009 and 2011, Aiteo imported up to 4 million metric tons of refined petroleum products into Nigeria. The chance for upstream involvement came in 2014 when Shell was selling its stakes in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, one of the largest oil acreages in Nigeria. Aiteo raised over $2.5 billion and acquired the asset in an extremely competitive bid. Within two years, Aiteo ramped up production from 23,000 bpd at the onset of divestment to 90,000bpd in 2017, becoming the largest indigenous exploration and production company in the country. Aiteo was adjudged the best indigenous oil and gas company at the 2018 Nigerian Oil and Gas (NOG) Awards. It also emerged winner in three different categories at the Guardian Oil & Gas Roundtable and Awards, held in Lagos in June 2018. Aiteo’s boss, Benedict Peters was declared Africa’s Oil and Gas Leader by Forbes in October 2018
Amni Petroleum is one of the oldest indigenous oil and gas companies in Nigeria. It was awarded the OPL 469 in 1993, the year of its incorporation and the OPL 237 the following year. However, drilling kicked off in 1996 when Amni commenced production in the Ima field on OML 112 via the services of the Abacan Resource Corporation of Canada. Amni’s existing oil production comes through the IMA and Okoro fields at 17,000bpd. In 2014, Amni acquired 40% Equity in OML 52, a shallow water block located 10km North of the IMA field. Amni is also one of the few indigenous companies to own acreages outside Nigeria. In 2014, the company acquired 90% in the Central Tano Block in (Offshore) Ghana. Amni has been a silent but consistent player over the years and so deserves to be on this list. In 2014, the company’s CEO, Tunde Afolabi, became Chairman.
Eroton Exploration and Production Company limited is a full spectrum indigenous company involved in the upstream sector. It was incorporated in August 2013 and began full operations on the 15th of May 2015, making it one of the youngest E & P players.
Eroton E&P company won the bid for the 45 percent (%) total interest in OML 18 previously held by Shell Petroleum Development Company, Total E&P Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited. Eroton E&P Company consequently became operator of OML 18 Asset in October of 2014. Eroton has over 230 staff with offices in Lagos and Port Harcourt. According to the company, Eroton produces an average of 45,000bpd. Eroton is led by the Chairman, Onajite Okoloko.
Newcross Petroleum Limited (NPL), is an emerging indigenous company with investment and operating interests in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. In the past three years the company has been increasingly involved in the upstream sector with the acquisition of some production assets and significant exploration activities.
In 2005, Newcross acquired a 40% participating interest from PPL in the Egbaoma field in OML 38, in which it acts mainly as a financial and technical partner. In 2007, the company’s oil output was put at 3,000bpd. In 2010, a 30 mmscf LPG and propane plant was commissioned at Umutu. Also in 2010, Newcross acquired 90% participating interest in Oil Prospecting Licence(OPL) 283 from Centrica Resources Nigeria Limited and CCC Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited.
Again, in 2012, the company acquired 90% participating interest in OPL 276 (another Production Sharing Contract) from Centrica Resources Nigeria Limited (60%) and CCC Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited (30%), while Albright Wave retains its 10% as the local content vehicle (LCV). The CEO of Newcross is Dr Bolaji Ogundare, a dental surgeon.
Seplat Petroleum Development company Plc is the result of a 2009 merger between Ambrose Orjiakor’s Shebah Petroleum and Austin Avuru’s Platform Petroleum. Seplat is the operator of a number of OMLs in the Niger Delta, as well as an Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL). In 2010, Seplat acquired a 45 percent participating interest in, and was appointed operator of, a portfolio of three onshore producing oil and gas blocks in the Niger Delta; OMLs 4, 38 and 41, followed by acquisition of 40% stake in OPL 283 in 2013. In February 2015, the Company announced that it had acquired a 40% working interest in OML 53 and an effective 22.5% working interest in OML 55. Also, in 2015, Seplat installed and commissioned a new 150mmscf/d gas processing facility at its Oben hub.
Under the leadership of its co-founders, Avuru (CEO) and Orjiakor (Chairman), Seplat has ramped up production on its acquired acreages, reaching a peak production of 85,200bpd at the end of 2015, which has only been surpassed by Aiteo. Seplat plc was declared the Sole Risk/Independent Company of the Year at the 2018 Guardian oil and gas roundtable awards.
Seplat is a public liability company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the London Stocks Exchange.