In a move that amplifies the influence of Nigeria’s richest woman Folorunso Alakija within the oil and gas sector, FA Oil Limited, an upstream entity under her leadership, has successfully secured exploration rights for a substantial offshore acreage situated in Sierra Leone.
The government of Sierra Leone, as part of its fifth licensing round, awarded six offshore oil blocks — namely, blocks 53, 54, 55, 71, 72, and 73 — to FA Oil Limited, a subsidiary of the FA Group conglomerate founded by Alakija in 1991.
The petroleum license agreement was formally signed by the country’s Ministry of Energy and Power on Dec. 4, 2023, in the capital, Freetown, covering an expansive area of approximately 9,700 square kilometers in the Atlantic Ocean — the awarded acreages boast diverse water depths, ranging from 100 to 3,000 meters.
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The decision to award the blocks to FA Oil Limited comes after a year-long process initiated in May 2022, during which Sierra Leone extended deadlines and actively sought bids from exploration companies. The successful closure of the licensing round in late September, facilitated by the UK-based consultancy Africa Energy Partners, saw FA Oil emerge victorious, securing all six blocks under a single petroleum licensing agreement.
Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio, in office since 2018, disclosed that the recent move is pivotal to stimulating the country’s economy and attracting increased foreign investment. He added that it aligns with Sierra Leone’s broader strategy to harness its natural resources for economic development.
Alakija, the CEO and chairman of FA Oil Limited, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to participate in Sierra Leone’s oil and gas sector. As Nigeria’s richest woman and one of the world’s wealthiest Black women, Alakija, whose net worth surged to $2.5 billion in 2014, highlighted the mutually beneficial nature of the deal.
Folorunso Alakija’s diverse ventures, from fashion to oil, continue to make waves across the continent
Alakija’s journey from fashion to oil exploration underscores her versatility and unwavering determination. Famfa Oil, an indigenous company under her leadership, boldly ventured into the oil and gas industry in 1991, holding a 60-percent interest in Chevron-operated Oil Mining Lease (OOML) 127 — the second-largest deepwater producing field in Nigeria, yielding approximately 100,000 barrels of oil per day.
Beyond her business ventures, Alakija’s philanthropic efforts are equally notable.
The Rose of Sharon Foundation, dedicated to empowering widows, their families, and orphans through educational programs and scholarships, reflects her commitment to social impact.
Additionally, she founded “Flourish Africa,” a platform fostering a community of empowered women, encouraging their potential, and providing grants to female entrepreneurs. Forbes has repeatedly recognized Alakija as one of the world’s most powerful women, attesting to her resilience and strategic investments.