The upstream sector is a major prospect for the African continent as a whole
To the north, Algeria holds a similarly strong position in the global oil and gas production sector, with two million barrels of oil output per day, ranking 16th in the world, and 85 billion cubic metres of natural gas produced in 2010, placing Algeria in the top ten global producers of natural gas.
Already, oil production and refinement are the largest contributors to gross domestic product in several African nations, including Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer and the 11th largest upstream supplier in the world, with output of 2.45 million barrels per day.
Despite these substantial daily and yearly production figures, the full potential of the pan-African oil and gas market is far from realized. The Niger Delta basin alone has reserves of over 30 billion barrels of oil, of which 70% remains untapped – a pattern repeated in other areas of the country, West Africa and beyond.
Meanwhile, we continue to innovate in ways to raise the efficiency of production, not only from new oil fields, but also from marginal fields that have passed their peak.
In Niger, oil production is expected to grow rapidly until at least 2016; however, the upstream market is still in its infancy.
Of the 6,000 barrels of oil per day consumed in Niger in 2010, almost 5,500 were imported, with very little domestic production of the resource.
As with other African nations, Niger is sitting on a potential source of energy and income that it would be wise to develop, but it needs an innovative and visionary company to enter the market in order to carry out the necessary work to turn the underground potential into tangible profits
We are keen to ensure Africa's entire potential is realized, whether that means underground reservoirs of oil beneath the continent itself, or previously undiscovered reserves in the Niger Delta and other offshore fields.
By approaching these untouched possibilities, we aim to drive success in the pan-African upstream oil market, with our principle of looking where no one else has dared to look
Africa's downstream oil market offers a vast array of opportunities, from the domestic fuels sector to lubricants and plastics.
Rising oil prices in recent years have contributed significantly to Nigeria's gross domestic product, which has grown by around 7% annually since 2009.
However, there are still areas for further growth in the West Africa region, on which a dynamic and adaptable company like ours is ideally placed to capitalize.
Petroleum products account for the vast majority of Nigeria's exports – some 95% of the total annual cross-border output of the country – making it a key component in a pan-African and international oil industry
However, we still intend to expand on the existing infrastructure to reach new markets – in 2010, Nigeria had in place:
In order to fuel this expansion in pipeline infrastructure, we will expand our refinery operations, constructing new refineries where our existing facilities have reached their maximum output capacity
West Africa is famed for its desirable light, sweet crude oil – low in wax and sulphur content, this natural resource is easy to refine.
It is also the form of crude oil most commonly refined into a variety of different products, including kerosene, gasoline and diesel fuel.
As our upstream activities bring more productive oil fields online, we will establish the refineries needed to transform the crude oil into valuable commodities for sale and export.
Our technical expertise will make our refineries highly efficient and technologically advanced, helping us to gain market share in a competitive environment.
Pipeline expansions will help to bolster this refinery capacity, without unnecessarily increasing reliance on road vehicles for transportation and delivery.
As such, the regular pipeline flow will be able to cope with any interruption to scheduled vehicular deliveries due to weather events or other upheavals.
Overall, the market is already mature and robust, but with significant untapped opportunities that we intend to target, in order to deliver substantial growth in market penetration and revenues in the years to come.
For those who have it, power is an essential component in everyday life. However, many people face the prospect of living some or all of their lives without access to mains electricity.
In Nigeria alone, 76 million people had no direct access to electricity in 2009, representing half of the country's entire population.
Throughout Africa, natural gas from oil production is frequently flared, rather than being retrieved in a useful form, raising carbon emissions and wasting a valuable revenue stream.
Creating more gas-fired power stations could help to overcome this, putting the 5.3 trillion cubic metres of natural gas in the Niger Delta to good use.
Around a third – or 15 billion cubic metres – of the natural gas produced in Nigeria in 2010 was flared. We want to take steps to make sure this valuable commodity is put towards a profitable purpose.
Similar opportunities exist in other national markets throughout West Africa and the rest of the continent – where others are hesitant to take action, we are looking to capitalize on this sizeable opportunity.
Meanwhile, oil itself represents a significant prospect for power production, at both the power plant and domestic levels.
With a large percentage of the African population living in remote areas, without access to a mains electricity supply, a consistent and reliable provision of heating oil and fuel for generators can ensure those communities are able to stay warm and benefit from the availability of power whenever they need it.
Oil-fired power plants are an important way for Africa to put its valuable natural resource to good use, converting the energy stored in oil into electricity that can be distributed safely to communities across the continent.
Much of the oil and gas extracted in West Africa is found within coal – another rich source of energy that can be mined for use in power stations.
In many other parts of the world, coal is an almost-exhausted resource. In Africa, we still have stocks waiting to be mined, which can contribute a further component towards our future energy independence.
By targeting these potential power-generation markets, we can bring a further 7.6 million people on to the mains power grid in Nigeria in the years to come – and cut the number of people without a mains electricity supply by 10%, while expanding our market share and increasing revenues.
We will target similar opportunities in other pan-African countries, giving the continent the energy independence that it deserves, and which its natural resources make a very real possibility.
AITEO IS TAPPING INTO ENERGY RESOURCES IN NEW WAY