Top Nigerian Oil Moguls Who Rule The Oil Industry, Companies and Their Net Worths

Top Nigerian Oil Moguls Who Rule The Oil Industry, Companies and Their Net Worths

  • The Nigerian oil and gas industry is dominated by men and women who are entrenched in the sector
  • There are about six Nigerians who rule the oil and gas sectors, most of whom are said have roots in the corridors of power
  • These men have been in the industry for decades and have made their marks and become major industry players

The Nigerian oil and gas industry is a clique in which only a few initiates play. It is for an exclusive club of high-heeled and deep-pocketed men and women.

In July 2022, Nigeria handed over 57 marginal oil fields to new owners.

Oil and gas, Players
Top oil and gas leaders in Nigeria Credit: National Archive
Source: UGC

According to Vanguard, Matrix Energy, Ardova Oil, Suntrust Oil, Energia Ltd and Mainland Oil were among the over 100 companies awarded Petroleum Prospecting Licence, PPL, and given at most six years to develop the fields and produce oil.

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The Federal Government handed over the 57 oil fields located onshore, and swamps of the Niger Delta were handed over to local oil companies, with a charge on them to develop the fields and produce the first oil quickly.

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But these companies are not in the same league as those run by men and women with deep roots in Nigeria's oil and gas sector.

Bryant Orjiako: Seplat Petroleum Company Limited

ABC Orjiako is the Chairman and co-founder of SEPLAT, a leading Nigerian independent oil and gas company listed on the London and Nigerian stock exchanges with a strategic focus in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.

Orijako belongs to the exclusive global oil and gas tycoons club called the Energy Council.

According to data on the council's website, Ojiakor obtained his MBB.Ch degree in 1985 from the College of Medical Sciences, the University of Calabar, in Nigeria. After that, he trained as a surgeon at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in Lagos.

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He later became an orthopaedic and trauma surgeon, joining the fellow West African College of Surgeons in 1996 and completing his OPM programme at the Havard Business School.

Orjiakor founded and managed many firms in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria's upstream, downstream and service sectors.

In 2009, his company, Shebah Exploration and Production Company, co-founded SEPLAT. He has remained the Chairman of Seplat from inception, leading new business development and providing leadership on strategy and stakeholder relationships.

Recently, Seplat was in the news over plans to acquire a 100 per cent stake in ExxonMobile, an oil exploration company. The move was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and later upturned when the regulator said that the president's approval did not follow due process.

Mike Adenuga: Conoil Limited

Mike Adenuga is the Chairman of Nigeria's only indigenous telecoms company. But that is not the only thing Adenuga is known for.

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He is the key figure in Conoil, an oil and gas marketing company.

Conoil Plc is a Nigerian petroleum marketing company selling regulated gasoline, kerosene, diesel, aviation, and low-pour fuel. Other business activities of the firm include producing and marketing lubricants under the brand name Quatro.

Adenuga, born on 29 April 1953, is said to be Africa's fourth richest person. Forbes has estimated his net worth at $6.2 billion as of May 2021.

He made his first million in 1979, at age 26, selling lace and distributing soft drinks. Then, in 1990, he received a drilling license. In 1991, Consolidated Oil struck oil in the shallow waters of Southwestern Ondo State, the first indigenous oil company to do so in commercial quantity.

Adenuga was issued a conditional GSM licence in 1999, and after being revoked, he received a second one when the government held another auction in 2003. He was named African Entrepreneur of The Year at the first African Telecoms Awards (ATA) in August 2007.

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In May 2015, Adenuga bid to purchase Ivorian mobile telecom operator Comium Côte d'Ivoire for $600 million.


Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma is a retired Army General who fought during the Nigerian civil war.

He is the founder of South Atlantic Petroleum, known as SAPETRO. He is a privately held Nigerian oil & gas exploration and production company with a portfolio of high-quality assets in West Africa.

Danjuma amassed an enormous fortune through shipping and petroleum. He was Chief of Army Staff from July 1975 to October 1979 and was reappointed to the same position under President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, when the current democratic dispensation started.

He was born in Takum, Taraba State (formally Gongola), Nigeria to Kuru Danjuma and Rufkatu Asibi. Takum was mainly a farming community when Danjuma was young, and families and clans largely cultivated yams, rice, cassava, and beniseed.

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His father was a hardworking peasant whose ancestors were all highly respected community members. Kuru Danjuma was a farmer who traded metal parts for farming implements and tools.

The oil tycoon started his education at St Bartholomew's Primary School in Wusasa and moved on to the Benue Provincial Secondary School in Katsina-Ala, where he was the captain of the school cricket 1st XI team; he received his Higher School Certificate in 1958.

In 1959 Danjuma enrolled at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology in Zaria (Ahmadu Bello University) to study history on a Northern Nigeria Scholarship. However, according to his Wikipedia Profile, Danjuma left the university in 1960 to enrol in the Nigerian Army.

Lola Alakija: Famfa Oil Limited

Lola Alakija has broken into the ranks of top players in the oil and gas clique, where she holds sway as the Vice Chairman of Famfa Oil Limited.

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According to her public records, Folorunso Alakija is a dynamic Nigerian businesswoman and philanthropist. She was a business administrator and banker before following her heart and creative calling to join the fashion industry. Her "Rose of Sharon House of Fashion" was a household name in Nigeria. She was a two-time National President and is now a lifelong Trustee of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN).

Famfa Oil Limited is one of Nigeria's largest indigenous-owned crude oil exporters.

Tony Elumelu: Heirs Oil and Gas

Tony Elumelu is a Nigerian investor and philanthropist. He is described as the Warren Buffet of Africa.

He is the Chairman of Heirs Holdings Oil and Gas, United Bank for Africa and Transnational Corporation Plc.

While Elumelu is known for his astute banking career, he burst into the oil gas scene through Heir Oil and Gas.

According to reports, the Nigerian billionaire acquired from Shell, Total and ENI the ownership of 45% of a producing oil block in the Niger Delta. With the blessing of the Nigerian authorities, who want to develop domestic companies.

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Wale Tinubu: Oando Plc

Forbes Magazine described him as the king of African oil and of the top ten CEOs in the world by AskMen. So his name rings a bell and is widely recognised in the oil industry in Africa.

He is popularly known as Wale Tinubu. Before turning 30, Wale had established himself as a market leader in Nigeria's burgeoning oil and gas sector.

Wale is the nephew of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A lawyer and consultant, Adewale Tinubu is also the Chief Executive Officer of Oando PLC, one of the leading oil companies in Nigeria. He also serves in many other blue-chip firms as Chairman and Director.

In 2007, he emerged as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Geneva, an award which recognised him as one of the leading executives under 40. In addition, he won Africa's Business Leader of the Year award in 2010 from the African Business Magazine and Commonwealth Business Council based on oil and gas. He also won Athe African Business Leader of the Year by Africa Investor.

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Tinubu was said to have contacted a lawyer friend, Omamofe Boyo, who works at the FRA Williams Chambers. Boyo allegedly introduced them to the owners of The Carolina, an oil vessel at Bonny Island. Tinubu paid for the vessel which transported the diesel to Lagos. In exchange for his services, he asked for a share of the profit of the diesel.

That singular situation launched him into the oil and gas business and marked the birth of Ocean and Oil, popularly called Oando.

He later bought the Carolina, the vessel he used to transport the diesel to Lagos, and began selling petrol to local oil businesses.

Finally, he registered Ocean and Oil. He partnered with Okoloko, Boyo and Osaze Osifo in Oando, increasing the fleet to 7 vessels. At 30, he was already a market leader in Nigeria's oil and gas business.

In 2000 when the Nigerian government wanted to divest Unipetrol, Tinubu bought 30 per cent of the oil company, which was the largest acquisition by any Nigerian oil firm.

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Oando Oil Magnate, Wale Tinubu's wealth, life and businesses reported that Forbes Magazine described him as the king of African oil and of the top ten CEOs in the world by AskMen.

His name rings a bell and is widely recognised in the oil industry in Africa. He is popularly known as Wale Tinubu.

Before turning 30, Wale had established himself as a market leader in Nigeria's burgeoning oil and gas sector.


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