Gone are the days when women do not pursue their careers to the fullest, they have successfully learned how to balance their career and family responsibilities to achieve equilibrium. Women are not only operating in but are also taking up leadership positions in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, bringing in their skills and nurturing nature into the business which makes them exceptional in the field. Some of the female movers and shakers in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry include:
Folorunsho Alakija is a Nigerian billionaire businesswoman and philanthropist. She is ranked as the richest woman in Africa by Forbes Magazine and in 2015, the magazine ranked her as the 87th most powerful woman in the world.
After graduating from Pitman’s Central College, London, where she studied Secretarial Studies, Alakija started her career as an Executive Secretary at Sijuade Enterprises, Lagos in 1974. She later left Sijuade Enterprises to work at the National Bank of Chicago now known as First City Monument Bank (FCMB).
After some years, she delved into fashion when she established a tailoring outfit called Supreme Stitches which she later renamed Rose of Sharon Fashion when she rebranded the business. Her dexterity and contribution to the fashion industry earned her the position of National President of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN).
She went on to establish Famfa Limited in 1991, which has come to be one of the largest crude oil exporting companies in Nigeria. In 1933, the company applied for and was granted the license to carry out oil exploration activities on the Agbami Field, formerly known as OPL 216 now OML 127. The license given to the company to explore the oil field will be due for renewal in 2024.
In 1996, Alakija transferred 40 percent of her shares from her 100 percent to Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited, a subsidiary of Texaco, which she appointed to provide expert advisory services to Famfa Limited in handling exploration activities at the Agbami Oil field.
She is the founder of Rose of Sharon Foundation, a non-governmental organization established to empower widows, orphans, and underprivileged people.
Catherine Uju-Ifejika is a Lawyer and CEO/ Chairperson of Brittania-U. She is also regarded as one of the most influential women in the oil and gas industry worldwide. She graduated with honors from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where she studied law and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986.
Uju-Ifejika got her first experience in the industry when she did her one year compulsory National Youth Service Corp at Texaco. She became a full staff at Texaco after her service year and later left for Chevron in 1987. She worked as a junior counsel at Texaco’s legal department and rose to the position of Senior Counsel after some years. In 2003, the company made her Secretary for Public and Government Affairs for West Africa.
She joined Brittania-U Group’s affiliate in Nigeria, Brittania-U Nigeria Limited in 2007 to become the CEO/Chairperson. The company operates in the upstream (exploration and production), downstream (refining) and midstream (supply and trading, shipping)
Under her leadership, Britannia- U bought a stake in the Ajapa Marginal Oil and Gas Field where it established the Ajapa floating production storage unit whose reserves is believed to be worth $4.3bn. She also established up to six subsidiary companies, they include Data Appraisal Company Limited, Nexttee Oil and Gas Trading Company Nigeria Limited and Brittania-U Ghana Limited.
She has led the company in carrying out different corporate social responsibility projects that has positively impacted the community. She has received so many accolades and awards for her contribution to the society and the industry.
Amy Jadesimi is a Nigerian businesswoman and the CEO of the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), a logistics and engineering facility in the Port of Lagos, Nigeria. She was listed in Forbes magazine’s ‘20 Youngest Power Women in Africa’ in 2014.
The beautiful CEO had her first degree in Physiological Sciences from Oxford University, England, before proceeding to Oxford University Medical School, where she studied Medicine.
She was hired by Goldman Sachs International in London after medical school while working for a firm in Oxford. She worked with finance firm for three years, specialising in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, as part of the investment banking division of the company before leaving to study Business Administration at Stanford School of Business in California.
She interned at Brait Private Equity in Johannesburg, South Africa, while on her MBA program in Stanford. She worked as a transaction executive in private equity at Brait.
She relocated to Nigeria in 2004 to join LADOL, her father’s firm. She worked and rose to the position of Executive Officer of LADOL five years later after the agreement of the Board. Jadesimi has successfully handled the company since her appointment to meet the logistical needs of deepwater offshore oil and gas operations and projects in and around Nigeria which is at the core of the company.
Jadesimi is on the Prince’s Trust International global advisory body and also a founding commissioner of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission.
Godrey Ogbechie is a graduate of Agricultural Economics and Extension of the University of Calabar. She is also a Business Administration Master Degree holder.
In 1988, she was posted to Universal Trust Bank for her National Youth Service Corp, she worked there for 12 about years after service. She left Universal Trust and moved to work for Fidelity bank where she worked for seven years. During her time working at the banking sector, Ogbechie worked in all positions from operations to customer service/relationship management, audit and human resource management.
She finally left Fidelity Bank in 2009 as the Head of Human Resources to join her husband, Gabriel Ogbechie in Rainoil as the company’s Executive Director.
She oversees the corporate support service functions of the company which includes human resources, information technology, and administration and facilities management.
According to Ogbechie she does not have money issues while working with her husband and their smooth working relationship has contributed to the success of the company.
She co-owns two non-governmental organizations with her husband, Gabriel Ogbechie Foundation and AGAM Foundation through which they have reached out to many young people in the area of education and health care
Victoria Samson was a dealer under Texaco Nigeria Ltd now MRS Plc in 1980. She has experience of over 25 years in the Oil and Gas industry as Dealer with both Texaco Nigeria Plc and Mobil Plc.
In 1990, her services made her the first Nigerian to win the highly competitive Texaco Latin America West Africa (LAWA) Award for Best Overall Dealer for the highest sales in both regions combined TEXACO award her the most priced Texaco Plc Best Dealer Award in sales, marketing innovativeness among others for the Latin American/West African Region.
She and her husband, Bamidele Samson then went on to established BOVAS Group, an indigenous independent petroleum marketing company. The Company now operates service stations across the country and has several more under construction.
Its first service station was in Osun State Nigeria in 1991 and its aim was to assist the government towards making petroleum products easily accessible to the people.
BOVAS began Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) production in 1995 at its LPG plant at Ibadan, Oyo State. Its supply LPG directly to homes and other major domestic users of LPG and also provide refilling services. The company also introduced innovative LPG Auto Skid Units at selected service stations and locations across the nation.
Samson is also a woman of principle who speaks up against when there is a need for it. At a time when a litre of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), known as petrol, was sold for N200 and above in Nigeria, and Motorists were stranded as a result of unending queues at many filling stations, she made sure BOVAS, an independent marketer, sold its products at the official price and the company has been helping to ease fuel scarcity in Nigeria ever since.
Audrey Joe-Ezigbo is a multi-business owner, speaker on various facets of management, entrepreneurship, and business strategy and a prolific writer.
She attended the University of Nigeria, and the prestigious Lagos Business School and Harvard Business School where she bagged several Masters Degrees and certifications in Finance, Marketing, Business Administration, and Leadership.
In 1994, she co-founded Falcon Petroleum Limited with her husband where she acts as the Executive Director, Commercial Operations with principal accountabilities in the areas of Finance, Business Development, and Commercial Strategy.
Falcon Petroleum provides various services to the oil and gas industry from Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) to Pipeline Construction and Maritime Support services. The company is also one of the three licensed Local Distribution Companies (LDC’s) operating within Nigeria’s domestic gas sector, with responsibility for design, development, operation and management of Natural Gas pipeline distribution network & supply infrastructure within the Ikorodu Natural Gas Distribution zone.
As an Executive Director, Audrey has contributed immensely to the growth of the company which has made it to receive several recognitions and awards over the years for role in facilitating the commercial and industrial exploitation of the abundant reserves of Natural Gas on the domestic front in Nigeria.
Ezigbo is also the Managing Director and principal strategist of Falcongaz Limited, a company which she also co-founded with her husband in 2003 to provide Engineering Construction, Project Management, and Technical Maintenance Services which satisfy global engineering and safety standards.
She is a member of co-founder of many Boards some of which are: Woman Act Now (WAN) Nigeria Chapter, International Women’s Society (IWS) a non-profit socio-philanthropic society committed to improving the lives and culture of women worldwide, Women in Management, Business & Public Service (WIMBIZ) a non-profit professional association with the mandate to act as the catalyst to elevate the profile and empower women in these areas.
She has written and published two books titled: “Uniquely Woman’” and “Double Impact”.