Benedict Peters is listed as the 17th richest person in Africa, with a net worth of approximately $2.7 billion. Gaining influence in the oil and gas industry, Peters is considered a leader in the field. As his company continues to grow, it is expected his wealth will grow too. Here are 12 things you didn’t know about Nigerian billionaire Benedict Peters.
Sources: Leadership.ng, Ventures-Africa.com, ZoomInfo.com, AfricanBusinessCentral.com, ThisDayLive.com, Leadership.ng, Forbes.com, ArabAntiCorruption.org
Peters’ parents, a banker and a homemaker, were considered middle income. He grew up with three brothers and two sisters, and would go on to work closely with some of his siblings as he grew his company.
Peters earned a degree in geography and regional planning from the University of Benin. Shortly after graduating, he entered the workforce and quickly began gaining experience in energy trading, commodity trading, and banking.
Benedict Peters has more in common with Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa, than just billions of dollars to his name. Peters spent several years in the early 1990s working alongside Dangote’s younger brother, Sayyu Dantata, in the Nigerian oil and gas business.
After leaving Ocean and Oil (now known as Oando), Peters attempted to start his own company, Sigmund Communecci in 1999. Oando is a multinational energy corporation headquartered in Lagos and Nigeria’s largest non-government owned company in the energy industry. The company focus for Sigmund Communecci was on the downstream sector of the industry, specifically in tank farms, but Peters began to rack up debt and had to restructure.
Peters officially formed Aiteo Group out of the restructuring of Sigmund in 2008, establishing the company’s headquarters in Lagos. Aiteo Energy specializes in providing petroleum products to an international market, including everything from petroleum exploration and production to distribution of refined products to retail outlets.
Benedict and his brother, Francis, are both listed as founders and vice chairmen of Aiteo Group. The brothers are responsible for overseeing all operations of the company.
Recently, Peters has diversified his portfolio outside of strictly oil and gas industries, acquiring three power-generating companies in Nigeria. He is also planning to build a 100,000-barrel refinery in Warri in Delta State to further expand his influence across the industry.
In 2014, Peters acquired a prolific oil block from Shell Nigeria for $2.56 billion. This was part of the Nigerian government’s effort to boost local ownership of the oil and gas industry in the country by giving indigenous companies access to larger acreages. Aiteo now owns a portion of the OML 29 block, along with other members of a consortium. It’s the largest oil block that was offered to investors.
As a member of the African billionaires list, it is expected that Peters’ wealth will continue to grow over the coming years. The OML 29 block recently acquired by Aiteo Group is thought to have up to 2.2 billion barrels of oil and 300 million standard cubic feet of gas. Aiteo has an 85-percent stake in the block.
Peters has made it known that he is not a fan of the spotlight, often refusing to be photographed. He is intensely secretive about his personal life, and extremely religious as well.
In 2014, Leadership Newspaper in Nigeria named Peters CEO of the Year for making “a path-breaking deal that deepens the country’s capacity to manage its oil assets and one that will create local content valued at $2.7 billion.”
Peters joined the Africa’s billionaires list in 2014. His net worth is reported to exceed $2.7 billion, boosted by Aiteo’s continuing growth. He made the list at the same time as three other Nigerian businessmen: Cletus Ibeto ($3.7 billion), Tony Elumelu ($1.6 billion), and Akanimo Udofia ($1 billion).