Nigeria’s power industry is receiving a big boost, as oil magnate Femi Otedola is investing $1 billion in the Geregu Nuclear Power Plant. Otedola, who was formerly the chairman of Forte Oil Plc., confirmed through social media that he is refocusing his business interests from the oil-and-gas industry to the broader energy sector.
The billionaire indicated that, from now on, his primary focus will be on power generation. Otedola had already invested $94 million in the Geregu plant in 2013, with the goal of increasing its energy capacity from 414 megawatts to 434 megawatts. To further strengthen his hold on the sector, Otedola invested another $350 million in the plant in 2018.
While with Forte Oil, one of the leading diesel-distribution companies in Nigeria, Otedola was a major player in the oil sector. In his lengthy experience with the company, he contributed more than his fair share to the development of the formerly stagnant company.
Forte Oil started out as a subsidiary of British Petroleum until the Nigerian government bought it and rechristened it as African Petroleum Plc. After the company’s privatization, Sodiq Oil owned the firm for a short while before Otedola came on board and renamed the firm Forte Oil. As a result of these many changes, the company was dysfunctional. However, Otedola’s ingenuity and innovative ideas brought the company back to life.
During Otedola’s time there, Forte Oil rose to the occasion by solving Nigeria’s lingering kerosene scarcity problems. The company sold kerosene directly to Nigerians through its various petrol outlets across the nation.
Otedola completely divested his Forte Oil shares in June, selling them to Prudent Energy. a local Oil and gas company that came on board through Ignite Investments and Commodities Ltd. He intends to invest at least $1 billion in the Geregu Nuclear Power Plant. This action will help strengthen Nigeria’s power generation, which is currently a prominent concern.
Otedola explained his decision-making in an Instagram post, “A few years ago, my team and I embarked on an arduous task of transforming a moribund petroleum marketing business, African Petroleum Plc. ... into Forte Oil Plc., a leading integrated-solutions provider with solid footprints in downstream petroleum marketing, upstream services, and power generation.” As a result of this, his team “built intrinsic value to the benefits of our shareholders.”
Having already revitalized Nigeria’s oil-and-gas sector, the magnate believes that it’s time to do the same for the power sector, in support of the government’s drive for increased power generation: “In line with [the] principle of business focus, we have divested from our marketing and upstream businesses and shall from now on focus and consolidate on the gains of our power-generation business, Geregu Power Plc.”