For Wale Tinubu, although Law was an obvious choice coming from a family that already ran a Law firm, the quest for self-sufficiency coupled with fulfilling his vision drove him into business – a decision that has paid off as he now heads Oando Group, Nigeria’s largest oil and gas company and one of Africa’s leading energy solutions provider as Chief Executive Officer.
Born on June 26, 1967 in Eti-Osa local government area of Lagos State, Wale began his elementary education in Lagos state before moving to Federal Government College, Odogbolu where he obtained his West African Examination Council certificate in 1983.
With the desire to join the legal practice, Wale proceeded to the University of Liverpool where he received a bachelor’s degree in Law in 1988 as well as a master’s degree also in Law from London School of Economics the next year.
On his return to Nigeria in 1989, he attended Nigerian Law School and was called to the bar in 1990.
As expected, he joined the family law firm, K. O. Tinubu and Co, where he specialized in corporate and petroleum law but in 1994, he decided to venture into the oil and gas business leading to his co-founding of Ocean and Oil Limited with Omamofe Boyo and Onajite Okoloko.
The trio bought their first vessel, MT Carolina, in the mid-90s to supply diesel to off-shore companies from the Port-Harcourt Refinery and within the space of seven years, the fleet had grown to seven ships. In 2000, when the government wanted to sell its controlling stake in the defunct Unipetrol Plc, a downstream oil marketing company, they bid for it.
With the help of its foreign technical partners, Compagnia Espanola De Petroleos (CEPSA), the second-largest oil group in Spain, Ocean and Oil Services successfully paid for the shares and took over the company.
On December 2001, they made a purchase of Italian Agip Petrol’s 60 percent stake in Agip Nigeria Plc, for $74 million, a purchase that was objected by shareholders. Wale and his team later branded the company Oando Plc.
His significant contribution made Oando the first African company to be enlisted on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of more than three billion South African rand in 2005. The same year, Oando Energy Services was incorporated.
Through his leadership, Gaslink, a subsidiary of Oando Plc, successfully phased and executed the construction of about 100km of natural gas pipeline distribution network from the Nigerian Gas Company city gate in Ikeja, to cover the Greater Lagos Area including Ikeja, Apapa, and their environs.
Gaslink currently delivers over 60 million standard cubic feet per day of gas to over 150 customers on the Greater Lagos gas distribution network grid, with the capacity to deliver up to 101 million standard cubic feet per day.
In 2010, Oando, through its subsidiary, Oando Gas and Power built the first ALPL, a 10.14MW Independent Power Plant developed and operated under a Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT) arrangement with Lagos State Government. The plant operates under a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with state government. The plant was commissioned in 2013 and leverages Gaslink’s Pipeline network for gas supply.
The company’s upstream subsidiary, Oando Energy Resources, is currently listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).
In 2014, Tinubu witnessed the close of his best transaction yet with the acquisition of ConocoPhillips Nigeria businesses for $1.5 billion, fortifying Oando’s position as the largest indigenous independent oil and gas producer in Nigeria with a current net production of 53,145 boepd (Barrels of Oil Equivalent per Day) and 230.6 mmboe (Million Barrels of Oil Equivalent) of 2p reserves and 536.8 mmboe of 2C reserves.
Following the economic shocks as a result of the global drop in oil prices which began in the last quarter of 2014, Oando recorded a loss of N184 billion in its year-end 2014 results to the disappointment of shareholders however, at the company’s 38th annual AGM the next year, the CEO assured shareholders that the company would rebound to profitability in 2016 and continually create value for shareholders. True to his words, the company declared N4.1billion profit after tax in the first quarter of 2016.
Oando is now the number one distributor of petroleum products across Nigeria and the second largest downstream fuels company in Nigeria, with a market share of 12 percent.
Over the years, Wale has received several awards and nominations including Forbes magazine ‘The King of African Oil’, ASKMEN magazine named him as one of the Top Ten CEOs in the world. In 2007, he was named a ‘Young global leader’ by the World Economic Forum and in 2011, he was awarded ‘African Business Leader of the Year’ by Africa Investor.
The story of Wale Tinubu and his company is definitely that of having a vision and fulfilling it as he had once said that the vision of his company was to be the leading indigenous exploration and production player on the African continent and today, they are the largest indigenous oil and gas producer in Nigeria.