Meet Benedict Peters: The New Face of Nigeria’s Energy Revolution

By on
Oil Industry Pixabay/ Kristina Kasp

Many may not consider Nigeria or other African countries to be world leaders in the energy and oil sector. However, one man believes the region can be a powerhouse in the coming decades.

Nigeria-based Aiteo Group and its CEO Benedict Peters have earned a reputation as leaders and pioneers in the country’s oil and energy sector. In the last few years, Aiteo Group has achieved a series of business successes which have pushed the company upward in the oil sector, earning a strong name and well-deserved respect.

In 2015, Aiteo earned the rights to a massive Nigerian onshore oil block, OML 29. While Nigeria was experiencing its largest economic downturn since the 1990s, Aiteo was building and looking forward. OML 29 proved a hit, and Aiteo has since boosted its oil output from 23,000 barrels of oil per day (BPD), up to 90,000 BPD, a drastic increase in production. Aiteo is working to increase its output even more in the coming years.

In another success, Aiteo was able to lock in a sponsorship deal for Nigerian football with the Nigerian Federation (FA) Cup. This move by Aiteo is set to help restore the league’s tarnished reputation, which has been tainted with rumors of the inability to pay many of its coaches’ salaries. In an epic win-win, Aiteo Group hopes to increase the standard and reputation of Nigerian football as well as its own visibility and become more of a household name.

Peters is earning his reputation as a visionary, and he has high hopes for Africa as an energy leader. Coming from a modest upbringing, he is now one of the Nigeria’s wealthiest businessmen with an estimated net worth of US$2.7 billion. Born in Nigeria in 1966, Peters earned his BA in Geography and Regional Planning at the University of Benin in 1989. Soon after, he joined the oil sector and co-founded the company Ocean and Oil, later taking the position of managing partner at MRS, another oil firm.

After nearly a decade of experience in oil and energy under his belt, Peters decided to take the leap and found his own company, which he still runs today. Started in 1999, Aiteo has been on a successful upward trajectory ever since and is sure to become a household name for Nigeria.

Peters was an outspoken proponent of recent Nigerian legislation hoping to change regulations and business for the country’s oil sector. Dubbed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), Peters believe that if implemented correctly, the law can give more power to regional energy players hoping to get their foot in the door. More attraction from foreign investments will help drive local businesses and give them an opportunity to contribute to the region.

Peters believes much of Africa’s energy problems can be solved with a good mix of micro-grid and macro solutions. He believes that by embracing newer and alternative forms of energy, not just traditional oil plants, African countries can create solutions for localized regional problems, from players who best know the region and all of its intricacies. This approach is based on a practical and integrated strategy to solving energy problems, as well as a dedication to the region and its people.

He believes that while much of Africa’s energy problems can be solved by building large macro scale projects, the continent must embrace newer technological solutions and applications. Peters has argued that many countries across the world are burdened with maintaining, repairing, and replacing older energy infrastructure, which are expensive and soon to be obsolete.

Many African and sub-Saharan countries are relatively lacking the energy infrastructure that other countries might have.  This allows African nations, according to Peters, an opportunity to bypass the problem of trying to play “catch up” with soon-to-be obsolete infrastructure, and instead focus on innovating and creating new micro-grid and regional solutions.

It is this type of forward thinking and resourcefulness which is help fueling Benedict Peters success and helping him emerge as a leader in Nigeria’s huge oil sector. His optimism is refreshing and perhaps should be considered by those interested and involved in Africa’s energy crisis.