Aiteo Group and Peters have a different approach than many oil and energy companies. By searching for localized and regional solutions with an integrated business model which embraces alternative solutions, Aiteo hopes to lead the way in dealing with the African energy crisis.
Although the CEO of a successful oil company, Benedict Peters maintains that petroleum, the largest sector of Nigeria’s economy, will not be the only solution. This is especially true, in his opinion, in a continent like Africa which is vastly underdeveloped in terms of infrastructure and technology compared to much of the world.
According to Peters, this disadvantage might in fact be a blessing for the next century. He believes that being unbeholden to soon-to-be-defunct and outdated models of energy production is a good thing. African countries have the chance to focus completely on innovating technological energy solutions on a large and small scale. Instead of struggling playing catch-up, Africa can serve as a model for blending progressive micro-grid technologies with localized regional infrastructure and energy plants.
Peters’ optimism comes at a time where Nigeria has just clawed its way out of the biggest economic downturn in over two decades. The recession coincided a devastating drop in oil prices, and a lowering of value in Nigerian currency. The recession subsequently also lowered confidence from global investors and trade partners.
While the country has managed to recover, some are still wondering how Nigeria’s oil sector can sustain the economy through the coming push for a global African presence, or if companies can adapt with the times.
Future success for Nigeria can be seen in companies like Aiteo with CEO’s like Benedict Peters, who know how to adapt with the times. Born in Nigeria in 1966, Peters graduated from the University of Benin, where he studied Geography and Regional Planning. Soon after graduating, he gained plenty of experience in the energy field by co-founding petroleum company Ocean and Oil, and later becoming a managing partner of MRS. In 1999, Peters set off to found Aiteo, his most successful venture, which has led him to become one of Nigeria’s billionaire’s, with an estimated $2.7bn net worth.
Peters has been a proponent of the Nigerian Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), a controversial legislation regarding the Nigerian oil firms which was recently passed. Peters believes the reforms, if followed, will allow for more localized regional players to make moves in the oil sector, and will help lead to a more diverse set of solutions for Nigerian energy.
Peters is clearly on the right track, as his acquisition of the OLM oil block is starting to pay off huge. In just a year since starting production, Aiteo has drastically increased its oil output from 23,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) up to 90,000 bpd. This increase shows huge promise for Aiteo in being a major player revitalizing the Nigerian oil industry.
But it’s not just his business successes which make Peters a person to keep an eye on. Peters regularly gives back to the community, by establishing grants, donations, scholarships and more. He is driven to raise the standard of living for everyone in the country and the region. His philanthropic endeavors and overall dedication to the region are highly valued in such a time where Nigeria and Africa are showing so much promise to become major players on the world stage.