Mr. Segun Adebutu is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Petrolex Oil and Gas, and all its subsidiaries including Bluebridge Minerals Ltd. and Oladiran Engineering & Trade Ltd.
He is born to the family of Kesington Adebukunola Adebutu, Founder and Chairman, Premier Lotto Nigeria Limited, who hails from Iperu Remo, Ikenne Local Government, and his mother, Mrs. Caroline Oladunni, from Odogbolu, both in Ogun State, South West Nigeria.
By Ebunoluwa Sessou & Dolapo Majekodunmi
He is presently building the second largest refinery in Sub-Saharan Africa and already has commissioned the largest petroleum product depot in Ogun State, Nigeria. In this interview, he speaks on how his mum took him to three countries where he had 16 different operations as a child. His love for his mummy is immeasurable. He also told WW how he started his oil and gas business in Lagos from 50 litres to a multi-billion dollars oil gas company.
What is the relationship between you and your mum like?
She is the benchmark of everything that I am. My daughter takes after my mother. I am my mother’s last child. When I was ill, I was in a coma for three and half weeks, my mother did not leave my sight. They gave me 30 percent of survival and mother left all that she was doing and followed me to three countries where I had about 16 different operations. I think, I said it all. My father is my wisdom, my mother is my heart and that explains it all.
Tell us the memories you will never forget about her?
If I start now, I will never be able to say up to 30 percent of her sweet memories until the end of 2019. She is an incredible mother. I offer her as a benchmark not just to all mothers but to all women, full stop.
Would you wish that your wife takes after such virtues?
Laughed. Next question.
It is believed that the boy-child is always close to the mum, was that what was obtainable in your case?
I have two children. A girl and a boy and I cannot separate them. I call them my dynamic duo. They are the most incredible gifts God has ever given me and I can boost that they are the most incredible gift anybody could ever have.
You are wearing different caps. You are into construction, oil and gas, entertainment, agriculture and real estate. We also know that you have a foundation; won’t it look like you are jack of all trades?
It is different if you say that I am farming and I am doing oil and construction. The entertainment part is actually not a core business. Venturing into entertainment was not for money making. But, it is a passion I had. It has been my sarcastic as a child. I was ill as a child, music and fame were all that kept me. I was hospitalized for more than six months in a stretch. My mum would go home after a while, she was back again in the hospital. My father was a business. But, I felt there was something that could be done. Nobody ever considers it. Not the way it is structured right now. Hopefully, when things improve, it might become as profitable as others. For now, it is the passion I had. The late MKO Abiola was a passionate supporter of football. He formed the MKO home base footballers. In 1998, he said in an interview that in 1981 and 1982, he spent N53million in Abiola Base and only him generated only N1.5 million in ticket sales. The entertainment is not something that I feel that I should make money from but an avenue to give young peoples the opportunity to express themselves and entertain others. So, it is a different ball game from the foundation. The foundation was meant to take care of the less privileged children. The first two and half years, I solely sponsored it but other people are coming on board now. Some people have identified with me while some people have gone to the extent of criticizing me saying that I was using the foundation as means to get into politics. And I take particular offense to that. Because I have said categorically that I am not interested in politics. There is a family member that I have who is a politician and I think, one politician is enough for the family. I think, the question should be why are people not doing what would make other people have sense of belonging. They live in three houses, they are comfortable. If you say, you do not have shoe, you do have forgotten those who do not have leg. So, you should be able to do your thing.
Can you tell us your hobbies, birthday and the rest of them?
My birthday is the 4th of May. I am an obsession Chelsea supporter. I use the word obsessive because there is no better word. I chose the club because it brings me joy and I also take the sad moment and I still love them. They are the best.
What are your likes and dislikes?
I like openness and transparency, honesty like every other person. I like the respect that comes with giving due respect to people.
Tell us how you came about all of this?
I ventured into oil and gas with 50 litre kegs. And I graduated to selling in 5,000 litres. My father and his family friends including the Okoyas were patronsing me. From them, i got factories and businesses associates who also were patronsing me. I gradually built a cartel. And eventually decided to invest more in infrastructure because in any business, you need to be able integrate to a certain level. Build capacity so that at some point, you will explore the economy of the scale, explore the process of having the full value added chain to see what you have done which is what I have done. I have built the tank farm, I am building the pipeline and I have started building petroleum stations as well. Presently, I have eight in operation. By the year 2022, when we know that the refinery would be commissioned, we expect to have at least 250 to 300 petroleum stations. So, that way, we are looking at the full value chain. And we have objective to move to upstream so that E and P growing to refining and vertical integration.
So, the story is from 50 litres to where you are today?
Like any other business, the challenges are expenditure. The problems wwere how to retain businesses. There were problems that come with the economy. Up until recently, the exchange rate was erratic. And we all know, we do not refine petroleum products now, so, it relies on the foreign exchange because it is dollar based business. So, the competition and any teething problems that come with business generally. Not only related to oil and gas. If you decide to open a restaurant, you should be ready to bear the operational expenses and cost among other things so as to be able to pay salaries until the business takes off and that is how it is.
So, how long has the business been in existence?
I started oil and gas since 2007. And it is 11 years. So, it did not just happen overnight.
Tell us about Petrolex
It is a group of an integrated energy conglomerate that provides services spanning across refining, storage, distribution and retailing of petroleum products. We are committed to seamless execution of strategic investment plans to provide innovative energy solutions. For us, the ultimate success lies not only in the profitability of our operations but in excellent service delivery. The company is also planning to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in the next 10 years to ensure that the business outlives its owners and give room for expansion. By the next five years we would have achieved a significant amount of our ambition, then begin strategy talks with the stock exchange. The company hopes to employ 10,000 people directly by 2021 when the projects will be up and running.