Nigerian oil billionaire and non-executive chairman/founder of Taleveras, Igho Sanomi has signed a joint venture deal to build a biofuel refinery in the United States of America (USA) with African feedstock. Igho Sanomi, was featured in the last edition of Ventures Africa’s rich list as one of the continent’s youngest billionaires.
The Proposed Integrated Biofuel Production Enterprise will be able to establish a capacity to produce several Million Gallons of neat Biofuel per year under its initial pilot program in Claiborne County Mississippi USA. The Biofuel project is expected to include a capability to blend the neat biofuel product with Petroleum-Based equivalent fuels ordered to meet approved certifications and specifications. The project will be in different phases and will involve the establishment of Farming Cooperatives in Africa to grow the feedstock.
The Global Green Energy Joint Venture Project will focus on the increase of advanced biofuels production capacity by establishing a complete value chain capable of producing drop-in replacement biofuels. This includes feedstock production and logistics and Integrated Biorefineries, Fuel blending, transportation and logistics. Taleveras, under President Goodluck Jonathan’s government, lost one of its most lucrative Crude for Exchange Contracts in December 2014, which dealt a big commercial blow to the company.
Venturing into a locally unproven business such as renewable energy is a laudable feat for Igho Sanomi who has built a name for himself as an Entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, Sanomi has built a reputation for treading the paths less travelled. As a young Geology graduate from the University of Jos, he built his wealth by executing third party downstream contracts, which includes refining and marketing of oil products. At that time the norm was for highly connected locals to win government contracts and resell to International Oil Companies.
Sanomi acquired the much needed highly technical expertise and capacity by approaching government contract winners to execute for them, promising them that they would profit more than selling the contract and then partnering with and understudying Masefield, a medium Swiss oil player, which fulfilled the contracts. With time he learnt, saved start-up capital, built confidence and connections with international financial institutions and started out his flagship trading company Sarian Oil circa 2000, which later rebranded to Taleveras in 2004 after undergoing a merger.
According to media reports, his success has been tied to a supposed close relationship with the past Nigerian government but Sanomi has refuted the allegations as fake news.
“The Nigerian Local content Act, was signed into law on 22nd April 2010, so this was a boost for the local oil and gas players under the Goodluck Jonathan Administration,” Sanomi said.
“But what most people don’t realize is that we were doing much better prior to Jonathan’s government in terms of our profitability and our peace of mind. We were trading internationally and making exceptional returns. In 2008, way before Goodluck Jonathan became president, Taleveras had annual revenues of $2 billion and in 2005 Taleveras bided in a round organised by the Department of Petroleum Resources and was awarded two oil blocks because of our track record. It’s not just our style to make noise on every achievement,”Sanomi clarified further.
In 2015 and 2016, Igho Sanomi was successively ranked as Africa’s top under-40 business leader by the renowned Institute Choiseul for International Politics and Geo-economics and has been awarded the Prestigious Martin Luther King Jnr award for Philanthropy and Chaired the 25th Year Anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jnr International Salute held in Washington DC in 2015.