By Ebele Orakpo
Riquest Oil and Gas Limited is an indigenous company with focus on providing innovative energy solutions for the Oil and Gas industry. The company is also involved in haulage, environmental management and consulting. In this chat with Financial Vanguard, the Managing Director, Riquest Oil and Gas, Mr. Chinedu Okonkwo speaks of his journey into Petroleum marketing world and says the company is committed to the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry. Excerpts:
According to Mr. Chinedu Okonkwo, Riquest Oil and Gas Limited came into being in year 2009.
“I was a fleet/transport manager for a company in Lagos. One day, I had a dream and in that dream, I saw myself in Port Harcourt. I had a strong conviction and I was certain that being in Lagos then was not God’s plan for me. At that time, I was comfortable living in a three-bedroom flat.
I woke up one morning, packed my luggage and left Lagos. Coming to Port Harcourt, I lodged in a hotel at Akapajo with the limited fund I had. God was in control because on the day I exhausted my money, my ex- boss called that I should assist him in loading his trucks. That was the beginning of my journey into the petroleum business.”
Okonkwo hinges his success on the grace of God upon his life, accurate positioning, integrity and customer satisfaction.
Said he: “For me, I am not the smartest or the most intelligent in this business. I know that it is only God’s grace/favour that has brought me this far. Secondly, I believe in accurate positioning; that is being in the right place at the right time. What I mean is that today, I do far better than many of my friends in Lagos who have been doing the same business for a longer time.
Lastly, I do not joke with some principles like integrity and customer satisfaction. For example, if a customer pays and we assign him to load, let’s say at Masters Energy, if something happens, we will re-assign the customer to load in another depot just to make the customer happy.”
This has paid off because according to him, the company has received so many awards from major companies that import petroleum products.
“We have been adjudged the most valuable customer in the major companies that import petroleum products such as Oando, Shorelink and Master Energy where we won the Master Energy Best Customer Award. These awards are based on excellence and volume. In fact, in Master Energy Oil and Gas Limited, the first runner up by their rating came with 3,000,000 litres behind us,” he said.
Mr. Okonkwo who said he is greatly bothered by filling station operators who hoard products to create artificial scarcity noted: “I don’t encourage hoarding at all because it makes consumers suffer so much, and they lose a lot, including their lives, income, time and property. This is one of the errors we are coming to correct in the business when we come into the mainstream later this year, God willing.”
Crude oil diversion:
“I believe it is a deliberate sabotage by corrupt elements in government. We are still loading petrol but there is no diesel and kerosene. You know if there is no kerosene, the poor masses are affected. As a cushion to the delayed loading at PPMC depot, Riquest Oil and Gas sells petrol, diesel and kerosene through private tank farms to independent marketers in the South-South and South-East regions. This has helped to make the product available in the two zones.”
Solution to fuel scarcity:
The boss of company which has about 30 people in its employ and lifts about one million litres of petroleum products daily, praised the Rivers State Government for donating vast acres of land to build a park for petroleum tankers. “The park will be built using PPP model in Eleme Local Government, and interested investors should liaise with NUPENG or Rivers State Ministry of Energy. Riquest Oil and Gas is currently open to partner investors to build tank farms and refinery in Port Harcourt. This, I believe, will provide a permanent solution to fuel scarcity in the region.”