By// Chandler Rollins
Folorunsho Alakija is a Nigerian oil tycoon. She was most recently listed as number 24 on Forbes‘ list of Africa’s 40 Richest People. According to Forbes, Alakija is worth $600 million. But a recent study of her assets by Ventures-Africa, show that she may be worth more, $3.2 billion to be exact.
Alakija’s success started with the opening of her high-end Nigerian fashion label Supreme Stitches. In 1993 former head of state General Ibrahim Babangida awarded Alakija an oil block. Alakija had no experience in the oil business.
In 1996 she transferred 40 percent of her stake to enter into a partnership with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited, a subsidiary of Texaco, and appointed the company to serve as the technical adviser of her oil block, Famfa Oil.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo tried to acquire a 50 percent interest on the oil block in 2000. Famfa Oil went to court to challenge Obasanjo’s unconstitutional acquisition and won. In May 2012, the 50 percent stake of the block, which produces 200,000 barrels of oil a day, was transferred back to her.
By comparing her oil field to a similar field, Royal Dutch Shell, Ventures-Africa calculates that Famfa Oil is worth $10.74 billion dollars. This means that Alakija’s 60 percent stake in the company is equal to $6.44 billion dollars.
“In July 2012, Royal Dutch Shell agreed to sell its 45 percent stake in OML 30 for $850 million to Heritage Oil and Shoreline Energy. “OML currently produces 35,000 barrels of oil per day. So, if 45 percent of a 35,000 bdp-producing oil bloc is $1.88 billio, by the same logic, a 100 percent take in 200,000 bdp-producing oil blow is worth $10.74 billion. “Folorunsho Alakija’s 60 percent stake in a $10.74 billion oil is well worth $6.44 billion… At this point, we have no doubt that she is indeed richer than Oprah.”
Assuming debt, Ventures-Africa calculates Alakija’s market value at $3.2 billion. That is $500 million more than Oprah Winfrey’s fortune of $2.7 billion.