Mr. Femi Otedola is chairman, Forte Oil Plc – one of Nigeria’s petroleum marketing majors with about 500 retail outlets and over 19% market share of the downstream business. He is also chairman, Zenon Petroleum & Gas Ltd, his flagship petroleum products marketing and distribution company he set up in 2003. Most industrial concerns in the country depend on Zenon Petroleum & Gas for diesel to power their private generating sets.
Since then, he has invested heavily in the development of downstream infrastructure. In 2004, he invested N15 billion in this respect and also acquired storage depots at Ibafon and Apapa in addition to four cargo vessels. That gave him a combined total storage capacity of 147,000 metric tonnes. In the same year, he acquired a fleet of 100 DAF fuel-tanker trucks for N1.4 billion.
The investments enlarged his market share and empowered him to control a major share of the diesel market and also to become an important player in the kerosene market. In 2007, his company commenced the project of building the largest premium motor spirit storage facility in Africa.
Later that year, the company acquired a 28.7% stake in African Petroleum, one of Nigeria’s largest fuel marketers. He also personally acquired a further 29.3% of the company for N40 billion in the same year. That gave him a controlling stake of 55.3% in the company. In 2009 Otedola embarked upon the project of upgrading the company’s liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage terminals in Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt.
In 2010, he embarked upon the restructuring of African Petroleum, to give it a leaning on technology and a leap in corporate governance. As part of the rebranding, the company changed its name to Forte Oil Plc. It operates mainly in the downstream sector of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry through a network of 500 retail outlets spread across the country with extended operations in Ghana.
It has major fuel storage installations at Apapa, Lagos State and Onne, Rivers State. It has also built an aviation joint users hydrant in Lagos and joint aviation depots in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano, serving the aviation industry.
The downstream division specializes in the distribution of a wide range of petroleum products; premium motor spirit, diesel, aviation fuel, kerosene, as well as a range of lubricants for various automobiles and machines; distributed mostly to the automobile, industrial, aviation and marine markets.
It has however pursued aggressive diversification of its operations into other arms of the energy value chain. The company invested in the power sector in 2013 through its subsidiary – Ameperion Power Distribution Company Limited, which acquired the 414 mw Geregu Power Plant for $132 million. That gave the company a big leap in revenue and profit.
Otedola embarked upon a $90 million overhauling project with Siemens to upgrade the 414 mw power plant in 2015. The project was completed in July 2016, which raised the installed capacity of the power plant to 435 mw.
Forte Oil operates in the upstream petroleum services sector through a wholly owned subsidiary – Forte Upstream Services Ltd. The company specializes in the supply of oil well production chemicals and drilling/completion fluids to the upstream sector. Otedola’s vision is to see the company become Africa’s leading indigenous upstream petroleum service company meeting the needs of operators in the upstream petroleum sector in Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe.
Forte Oil’s operation in Ghana is through a subsidiary that commenced business in July 2008 with a single outlet and a few industrial customers. The company has since grown to become a viable energy company operating from Accra business district through a network of retail outlets.
Otedola also owns a shipping company – Seaforce Shipping Company Limited, which currently owns and manages modern tanker fleet of vessels that transport petroleum products. Other companies that support his main downstream business are Atlas Shipping Agency Company Limited and F. O. Transport Limited.
Under Otedola’s leadership, Forte Oil turned around from a huge loss of close to N20 billion in 2011 to a consistently profitable organization since 2012. Leveraging technology and improved corporate governance, Forte Oil has become one of the most investor friendly organisations listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with regular dividend pay-outs. Improvement in operational efficiency has resulted in cost moderation and enhancement of profit capacity.
Otedola is on a mission of making Forte Oil a long-term successful company through strategic investments and acquisitions to expand downstream business and venture into upstream oil and gas operations.