Muhammadu Indimi is one of Nigeria´s low-key ultra-wealthy business tycoons, who according to Forbes, is worth well in excess $550 million as he is rated number 27 among Africa´s 40 richest businessmen. He founded a privately held Nigerian oil exploration and production firm, Oriental Energy Resources in 1990. Currently, hdue to his rugged determination, focus and never say die spirit he is noted to have attained an enviable position not only in the Nigerian terrain, but Africa at large
Perhaps, except for those that operate in the same industry with him, it is most unlikely that not many would be familiar with the name, Muhammadu Indimi. Yet, this is one distinguished and highly successful Nigerian multibillionaire businessman whom the Forbes magazine has rated number 27 among Africa’s 40 richest businessmen. According to Forbes, he is said to be having a net worth well in excess of $550 million as of November 2013 with his contribution to GDP being as much as much 0.13 per cent.
However, as a distinguished and highly successful businessman with a notable presence in the international business arena, not many are aware that his rise to the top is a story of perseverance, determination and rare courage to be successful in life. Not known to have been born with the proverbial silver spoon like some of his compatriots who are billionaire businessmen, Indimi’s rugged determination, focus and never say die spirit is noted to have made him attained an enviable position not only in the Nigerian terrain, but Africa at large.
Born in the ancient city of Maiduguri, Borno State capital, Indimi, who has distinguished himself as a highly successful businessman with a notable presence in the international business arena, came from a noble background. As a young man, coming from a background where formal education was given little or no consideration, with determination, Indimi, had to teach himself on how to speak and write in English language, a feat which made him a reference point in his community.
Age of 16, Dr. Indimi took a bold initiative launching himself into the business world. However, in 1990, he delved into the Nigerian oil and Gas terrain as he established Oriental Energy Resources, a privately held, Nigerian oil exploration and production company. Shortly after establishing Oriental Energy Resources, the fi rm was awarded OPL 224 by the Federal Government.
Interestingly, Oriental’s story can be said to be that of tenacity and perseverance. In the over 20 years that it had been founded, Oriental have converted OPL224 into OML 115 and have added both the Okwok and Ebok(OML 67), assets to its portfolio.
Being a multifaceted businessman, Indimi decided to expand his business interest beyond Oriental as he continued to seek alliances with other businesses to deepen his investment portfolio in the Oil exploration industry.
With the OPL 224 in its kitty, and having started work on the OPL 224 almost immediately, Oriental Energy Resources entered into a Technical Services Agreement with DuPont Nigeria Ltd which took them through the fi rst half of the 1990s. By May 20, 1999, Oriental received approval from the Nigerian Department of Petroleum Resources for conversion of OPL 224 into OML115 as a result of the work that had been done on the Block. In the decade of the 2000s, the growth of Oriental had witnessed unprecedented height as the fi rm developed a technical advisory collaboration with Joe Bruso, CEO of Sovereign Oil & Gas, which continues till today. This collaboration of the two companies resulted in a favorable result stemming from the settlement of the International Boundary Dispute between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea which impacted Oriental’s holdings in OML 115. This result gave Oriental the opportunity to farm-in to both the Okwok fi eld in 2006 and Ebok fi eld in 2007 of OML 67 from Mobil and NNPC.
While Indimi’s Oriental went into strategic alliances with Addax Petroleum (Okwok); Nexen E&P Services Nigeria Ltd. (OML 115); and Energy Equity Resources Oil & Gas (OML 115), in 2006, Oriental and Addax announced the successful well test of Okwok 4 fl owing 32 degree API oil from the lower D2 Reservoir. In 2008, Oriental also announced entering into a Technical Services Agreement with Afren Energy Resources to appraise the Ebok Field. This Partnership expanded quickly with announcements of Afren signing a JVA with Oriental and Addax for the development of Okwok (2009) and then Afren signing a JVA with Oriental and EER for the exploration and appraisal of OML 115 (2010). In 2009, the Ebok appraisal drilling program resulted in Ebok 4 confi rming a total gross oil column of 284 ft in high quality reservoir sands, the Ebok 5 encountering a total of 377 ft. gross oil column, and the Ebok 6 encountering 107 ft. gross oil pay. This was followed in 2010 with the Okwok 9 appraisal well successfully confi rming the commerciality of the Okwok Field.
2010 saw the rapid development of the Ebok Field with an aggressive drilling program as by August 2010, Oriental and Afren celebrated the Naming and Sailaway Ceremony for the Virini Prem Floating, Storage, and Offl oading Vessel from the Yulian shipyard in China. In December 2010, production testing resulted on three Phase 1 production wells delivered a constrained aggregate rate of 12,500 bopd of 24 degree API crude.
In January 2011, Oriental and Afren announced the sailaway of the Mobile Offshore Production Unit from Galveston, Texas to the Ebok Field. In March 2011, Oriental received approval from the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the establishment of the Ebok Terminal for the offl oading of crude oil.
By the end of March 2011, the production, processing, and storage facilities have been installed at the Ebok Field and were being readied for First Oil. By the end of 2011 the Ebok fi eld had produced approximately 3.0 million barrels of oil. In January 2012 the initial phases of the Ebok development have been successfully completed, following the commissioning and ramp up of all 14 production wells.
An Ocean Bottom Cable 3D seismic survey over the whole Ebok/Okwok/OML 115 area was completed in November 2011 in order to acquire 348 km2 of new data. The data will assist in future development and infi ll planning at the Ebok Field and development planning for the Okwok fi eld.
On April 12, 2012, Oriental Energy Resources (“OERL”) and Afren Plc (“AFR”) spudded an exploration well in the Ebok Field’s North Fault Block reaching a total vertical, and measured, depth of 4320 ft. with the Transocean Adriatic IX jack-up drilling rig. The well targeted a fault block structure located north of the Ebok Field Central Fault Block and successfully encountered 370 ft. net pay of good quality oil in the same Tertiary reservoir s sands equivalent to those being produced in the main Ebok Field development. This signifi cant discov discovery highlights the high grade prospectivity that exists across the wider Ebok/ Okwok/OML 115 area.
Logging operations for this well have been completed with results indicating a Pmean STOIIP in excess of 100 million barrels of oil. The well has now been suspended while OERL and AFR determine the optimal development solution for the North Fault Block. This development solution will likely incorporate the existing production, storage, and Ebok Terminal infrastructure located on the main Ebok Field. This solution could also involve the early drilling of new production wells from the existing wellhead platform on the Ebok West Fault Block, followed by a full fi eld development of the Ebok North Fault Block.
Dr. Indimi, commenting on the rare feat noted: “We at Oriental are pleased at the success of this Ebok North Fault Block exploration well and what it means to the overall success of the Ebok Field. We are also encouraged as this result provides a positive indication of the productivity that exists over Oriental’s assets in the immediate area.”
While the Ebok Field produces 35,000 barrels a day, it shares ownership of the projects with U.K.-listed oil exploration company Afren Plc. The Ebok Field was awarded to Oriental Energy Resources in 2007 by a joint venture between Exxon- Mobil and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Through aggressive exploration and drilling programs, the Ebok Field came on production in the second quarter of 2011 which initiated the largest development program for an independent Nigerian oil company to date. Oriental is looking to bring the Okwok Field on production in the 1st quarter of 2015 with OML 115 to follow shortly thereafter as it has also developed an offshore production hub centered on the established Ebok Terminal which is used for the storage and offl oading of crude oil.
Since coming on board, Oriental has been a staunch supporter of the Nigerian domestic oil industry, adhering to strong ethical EHSS policies and has been a considerable contributor to the empowerment of its local host communities.
While Oriental engages in the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, it does this by forming strategic alliances to leverage world class technologies and practices with local knowledge and experience to create an effi cient, cost effective, and on-time approach to project implementation.
Spreading its business web, in 2012, Indimi’s Oriental decided to pitch tent in The Gambia’s energy sector, particularly the petroleum sector as he met with the president of the Republic, Yahya Jammeh. According to Indimi, it is prudent to come as Africans and grab the existing opportunities there before the “Western powers identify the place to take it away from us”. “So it is better for us to mobilise ourselves to come and grab the opportunities here because we have seen a lot of opportunities here,” he added, as he indicated his willingness to serve as an ambassador for The Gambia to many of his close associates whom he said do not know much about the country.
“The investment climate is good and I am so impressed with the little resources the country has and with the developments here – the road network from Airport – you have fi rst class facilities. So that shows how this country is serious. So really I am happy to be here and I am looking forward to invest,” he said. As the sole Founder and Chairman of Oriental Energy Resources Limited, with over 20 years of experience in the Nigerian upstream and Oil and Gas sector, the 66 year-old self made oil magnate sits on the board of several privately-owned companies cutting across different sector of the economy.
As a distinguished and highly successful businessman, Dr. Indimi has received numerous awards as well as honorary doctorate degrees from notable Universities in Nigeria, Ireland and the United States. He sits on the board of International University in Africa, Kharton, Sudan.
As a notable humanitarian and a philanthropist who has used his fi nancial resources to make a difference in the lives of many individuals as well as improving the quality of life in his community and his country, Indimi has given various scholarships to students to pursue their education in Nigeria and abroad.
Having contributed to the growth of the university and entrusting it with his most precious assets-his children whom he sent to study at the Lynn University, the University decided to honour him with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
Today, six of Indimi children serve on the board of Oriental Energy. They include, Jibrilla Indimi, Ibrahim Indimi, Ahmed Indimi, Mustafa Indimi, Amina Indimi-Fodio and Yakolo Indimi- Babangida.
In 2012, in recognition to his outstanding contributions to the Nigerian economy and national development, Indimi was awarded the Rank of Offi cer of the Federal Republic (OFR) by the President, Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Noted for its commitment to corporate social responsibility, through his Oriental Energy, Indimi is noted to have empowered various indigenes of the host communities where his company operates. For instance, recently, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, the fi rm commissioned two major development projects which formed part of the Oriental-Afren Partnership’s community development work in the region. The projects included the renovation of and the provision of equipment for the Chemical & Petroleum Engineering Department’s laboratories and libraries at the University of Uyo. This has helped the School re-attain accreditation from the Nigerian University Commission (NUC) and Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) and forms part of a 5-year project to transform the Department into Nigeria’s number one Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Studies Center.
In 2009, the Management of the University established collaboration between the University of Uyo and the Oriental- Afren Partnership. The collaboration led to the donation of textbooks and scientifi c journals to the Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering. Between 2011 and 2012, equipment worth approximately $750,000 were purchased by the Oriental-Afren Partnership and shipped to the University of Uyo.
The equipment was subsequently installed and tested by an expert from the University of Texas at Austin, USA. Technologists of the Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering have been trained on the operation and maintenance of the equipment. In the last few months, additional equipment has been donated by the Oriental-Afren Partnership to the University.