Mrs. Nkechi Obi, is executive vice chairman, Techno Oil Limited, a petroleum products bulk storage and marketing company, employing retail outlets, commercial and industrial channels to serve the energy needs of automotive, marine, construction, aviation and other highly specialised sectors of the economy. Driven by her desire to give an expression to innate entrepreneurial drive, she founded the company in 1998 after a 10-year career in Mobil Oil.
The work experience at Mobil Oil gave Obi a vantage position to see the untapped potentials of the downstream petroleum sector. She discovered that there existed a service gap in the sector requiring a marketer with facilities that match the standards of major oil marketers but with more flexible terms of engagement.
She therefore conceived Techno Oil to fill in the gap with the objectives of providing service and creating wealth. By filling the market niche, the company has established firm roots in meeting the energy needs of businesses and individuals. It ensures stable petroleum products supplies and availability through its multi distribution channels.
Techno Oil has recorded significant growth within a short space of time to the point of becoming a strong player in the Nigeria’s oil and gas downstream sector. The company has contributed to the development of the industry in line with the national aspiration of increased indigenous participation in the business.
Obi has led Techno oil to become a company holding a diverse portfolio of prime investments in oil and gas, energy, infrastructure and manufacturing. The company is a major supplier of diesel, petrol, gas oil, marine gas oil, marine fuel oil, kerosene, propane, butane and fuel oil in Nigeria. It serves the market through a network of 20 retail outlets spread across the country.
The company has attained a daily distribution of 10 million litres of petroleum products through deployment of strategic assets. It has a 65,000 MT fuel terminal facility in Lagos, which receives and holds all the petroleum products marketed by the company and from which products are distributed through retail outlets, commercial and industrial channels. The terminal has capacity for storage of premium motor spirit, automotive gas oil, household kerosene and dual purpose kerosene. Other products are aviation turbine kerosene, low pour fuel oil, liquefied petroleum gas, lubricants and base oil.
The company’s strategy to establish competence in the business is the deployment of automated facilities to dispense petroleum products. Obi finds it difficult to distinguish her personal attributes from Techno Oil profile. The company, she said, is a manifestation of her undying belief in integrity, excellence, service and rewards.
Techno Oil has a 200-meter two finger jetty facility at Kirikiri Lighter Terminal in Apapa, Lagos through which it receives petroleum products, handles and stores products through coastal supplies from refineries and supply tanker trucks.
The company also operates a 10,000 metric-tone lubricant blending plant located at Lekki Lagos. The plant has a large warehouse that stocks over 15,000 metric tones of packed lubricants and open storage of over 150 metric tones of drums.
Techno lubricants come in a wide range of packs from 800ml to 250 litres and blended for all modern petrol and diesel engines, including turbo charged types. They include engine oil, gear oils, hydraulic oils and greases. Others are automotive, industrial, marine and heavy duty engine oils.
Techno Oil operates an automatic digital liquefied petroleum gas bottling plant in Lekki, Lagos. The plant handles bottling and refilling of gas cylinders, bulk gas delivery to industrial customers, branded gas cylinders, gas cookers and other accessories. It also offers after sales services and maintenance solutions.
Beyond the gas bottling plant, Techno Oil has built the first fully indigenous automated LPG cylinder manufacturing plant at Kajola, Lagos. The plant has a capacity to produce over 5 million gas cylinders annually. The cylinders come in different sizes of 6kg, 12.5kg, 50kg etc. Obi’s purpose for the plant is to end importation of LPG cylinders in Nigeria. She also intends to deepen the LPG adoption in Nigeria and switch households from the use of fire woods and kerosene to the use of LPG for cleaner, healthier domestic energy.
Other strategic assets of the company include 15000MT capacity ocean on-going vessel, 12000MT LPG terminal, quality assurance laboratory and 30 mobile LPG skids. With the development of the facilities across the value chain, Techno Oil has built a strong brand presence in the market.
Climbing up the ladder in an industry ruled by men against daunting challenges didn’t happen by luck but by defiance, strong will and commitment to hard work, according to Obi. “I have nursed the dream of being at the top of my career and as a woman in a sector dominated by men, I knew I had to work extra hard to make enough impact that would take me to the height where my performance would be recognised and accepted”, she said.