Intergrated energy group Aiteo, has proven itself as a significant player in the petroleum industry, taking bold steps in terms of investment and contributing meaningfully to the economy of the nation.
The company, an indigenous player in the sector began from a humble beginning as an importer and exporter of petroleum products before it took over the operatorship of OML 29 in March 2015 when oil major Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) fully exited the facility.
Apart from achieving production from the asset to a very viable crude oil production level, it has through its enhanced production capacity continued to strengthen its position of creating direct and indirect employment.
In terms of financial contribution, it has attracted direct foreign investment worth more than $4 billion to the Nigerian economy while contributing, billions of Naira and millions of US Dollars to the nation's treasury through taxation, royalties and others.
Besides, the company has engaged in several other corporate social investment programs in its host communities and the nation generally - the brand is now Nigeria's foremost investor in sports development. Little wonder the Oil & Gas startup currently leads the nation's indigenous production quota for upstream while maintaining sound business ethics.
The Aiteo Group comprises a number of separate, legal and corporate entities whose asset base includes OML 29 and Nembe Creek Trunk Line(NCTL) upstream, and other substantial assets downstream, developed more than 16 years ago.
Sweetcrude gathered that the company had recorded a peak in production of 90kbopd(barrels of oil per day) just one year after its acquisition of sub-Saharan Africa's reputedly largest onshore oil block, OML 29.
It is on record that as at the time of the divestment, average production of the facility was 23Kbopd. However, Aiteo, one of the frontline sponsors of the just-concluded 16th Oil and Gas (NOG) Conference held in Abuja, says it has tripled this figure leveraging the diversity and skills of its work force and bona fides as a dynamic international energy conglomerate.
It's CEO and Vice Chairman Benedict Peters said the company grew production from 23kbopd upon takeover of operations to a peak of 90Kbopd in one year. He also highlighted several existing and developing projects that could potentially grow Aiteo's asset production to over 150 kbopd and 200mmscf/d.
Speaking on the prospect of the company he said: "Our outlook is bright with 3 producing oil fields and viable crude exports via Bonny terminal. We also have contingent resources to appraise and prospective ones to explore in the medium-to-long term, including full 3D seismic coverage and 2P NNS reserves of more than 1.6bn bbl. Put simply, we have a clear vision for the future with the experience and assets crucial to providing oil and gas consistently on a regional and global scale."
The company operates one of the most important oil evacuation pipelines which has in recent times been plagued with series of vandalization, in the country- the Nembe Creek Trunk Line which evacuates crude from the Niger Delta to the Atlantic coast for export.
In a rare show of courage and commitment to the country, The Aiteo Group purchased the troubled 97-kilometre pipeline with 600 barrels of oil per day design capacity from Royal Dutch Shell Plc. But vandals have not spared the pipeline.
The company had stated that the new scenario: "Clean energy initiatives are springing up with countries announcing target dates to move from oil and gas to renewables; and with the emergence of unconventionals, what used to be major demand centres for fuel like the US have turned into supply centres.
"So it behooves on us to be proactive in commercializing our oil and gas resources before they completely lose their value as the global energy mix is changing in favour of renewables and gas."
The company has kept production levels consistent rather than pulling the old trick of celebrating spikes on the graph to hide a modest output across the board. But as always, behind the statistics lies something more profound. A cultural shift, as much as a corporate one.
Aiteo has been relentless in the consistency with which it has championed the use of independent, local operators and SME suppliers from its host communities to support its operations. Benedict Peters, Executive Vice Chairman of Aiteo Group, has made a point of publicly endorsing the 2010 Local Content Act and is one of the most vociferous evangelists for acting upon its recommendations.
Recall that Nigeria was said to have needed a "renewed confidence in local content players" and Aiteo has led by example in showing just exactly how a local firm can compete globally in the same pool with IOCs.
But outside of the nuts and bolts of running its operations, the business has demonstrated real leadership in the structure, ambitions and relationships it maintains very publicly. Plenty of indigenous oil companies are very happy to stay in their area, not cause any trouble, not explore opportunities beyond its own borders.