After 58 years of independence, Nigeria’s oil sector the beating heart of Africa biggest economy through responsible for 90 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, still contribute little to grow the country’s GDP which has remained in the one-digit margin, despite boasting of in Africa’s second-largest oil reserves with estimated known reserves of 37 billion barrels of oil and 5 trillion cubic metres of natural gas.
Segun Adebutu, Chairman and founder of Petrolex Oil and Gas Limited is embarking on a journey to changing the narrative in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry; from one about pollution, corruption, conflict and dependence on foreign capacity to tales of bold innovations, social investments, and local capacity development.
For many, Petrolex was not a name that rang a bell four years ago but the company has risen from obscurity to arguably a major player in the downstream and midstream sectors of the industry. As typical of emerging giants in the sector, Petrolex’s interest encompasses storage, distribution, retail and oil servicing, with plans for upstream and refining.
Though media-shy, Adebutu is a member of one of the most powerful families in South West Nigeria and an offspring of one of the wealthiest businessmen in the country; Kensington Adebutu. Segun must have had a lot of mentorship from his father, who made lottery games popular in Nigeria and his Premier Loto still dominates the industry today. Premier Loto is so successful that Nigerians call the entire loto business ‘Baba Ijebu’, after Kensington’s alias.
Like his father, Segun Adebutu is building his own industry-defining empire. Adebutu and his team carved out 30,000 acres of pristine swamp forest and are gradually developing it into thriving petrochemical hub that is expected to supply a sizable part of the country’s petroleum products consumption and create a significant impact on the economy.
The mega oil city is strategically located; accessible by inland waterways connected to the Lagos lagoon. It is expected to create over 10,000 jobs.
Six off years ago, Petrolex took a giant stride when it silently commenced the construction of a mega oil city in Ogun State, a coaster state next to Lagos, the commercial nerve centre and former capital of the 200 million people country. The first phase of the project has been completed and commissioned. It is the 300 million litres mega tank farm, consisting of 2015 million litre storage tanks.
Amongst others, the industrial complex will house a 250,000 bpd refinery, a 100mW power plant, a petrochemical plant, an ultramodern lubricant plant and gas processing plant.
The tank farm has 30 loading gantries with a scheduled truck loading and fuel management system, and a 4000-truck capacity trailer park for efficient loading. To supply the facility and ensure ease of distribution, a jetty has been constructed and vessels moored.
The Petrolex fleet consists of barges, tug boats, and a mother vessel. The total investment into the facility is about $330million. With the completion of the tank farm, Adebutu has pioneered a milestone in the Nigerian oil and gas industry downstream; he has built the largest tank farm in sub-Saharan Africa.
“At present, we have a depot with a total capacity of for 200 million liters, which is the largest depot for petroleum products in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Segun Adebutu told thebusinessyear.com.
The Petrolex tank farm is expected to account for over 30percent of consumption within the next few years. The tank farm is but a fraction of what is being developed at the mega oil city.
Over the next 5 years, Petrolex plans to invest up to $5billion into developing various monumental projects at the site. The biggest of these is 250,000 barrels per day refinery, which will be sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest when completed. This massive, laudable project will be a significant factor in determining the future of the Nigerian economy.
“The first phase of the refinery, which is essentially the storage tank, will take time and resources. We have a lot on our plate for the coming year, and we are confident and optimistic,” Segun Adebutu said.
However, oil and gas is not the only investment making the billionaire lottery scion the current toast of corporate Nigeria. Adebutu’s vast business empire reaches into mining with a company that is argued as one of Nigeria’s most endowed set of mining assets in one portfolio; a marine logistics firm also reputed to be quietly amassing the largest fleet in sub-Saharan Africa and already quietly executing several multimillion-dollar contracts across West Africa; coupled with an urban entertainment outfit based in America and Nigeria and boasting several top local artists and international affiliations.
Nevertheless, the need to infuse humanity into business is not lost on this big-hearted philanthropist. His insatiable desire to solve problems and contribute towards ameliorating pain in the society propelled him to create the Oladiran Olusegun Adebutu (OOA) Foundation, a non-profit and non-political organisation in 2016.
The foundation engages in philanthropic initiatives ranging from educational support, health support, nutritional support, psychosocial support, recreational support, shelter and provision of clean water. The foundation has carried out several initiatives that have buoyed access to education and healthcare for hundreds of children.
In October of 2018, the foundation in conjunction with ex-Arsenal and ex-Nigerian International, Kanu Nwankwo organised a novelty match in London between the legends of the English Premier League and African football legends with the proceeds going to operations for kids living with heart conditions.
His famed kindness towards children takes its roots in his hometown where he reportedly bought a house for a homeless family and awarded scholarships to all five children of said family up to university, on the request of a child.
Adebutu is charting new territories, proving that with vision and determination, the supposed insurmountable barriers can be scaled thus leading the way for a new breed of forward-thinking indigenous CEOs who believe that the future should not be defined by the realities of today. Adebutu is creating a new world of possibilities and the world is beginning to notice. Today, he is one of the 50 most influential Nigerians, according to BusinessDay Research Intelligence Unit.
On its future plans, “Our plan is to reinvest our profits in the business so the company can grow in size and launch an IPO,” founder of Petrolex Oil and Gas Limited said.