by Torrance Stephens
Prior to this year, the United States was energy-dependent in 2019 for the first time since 1957. It marked the first time in 62 years that U.S. energy production was higher than its consumption. Many factors contributed to this, mainly the energy sector oil and natural gas industry use of techniques like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. During this period, several major Black-owned oil and natural gas firms benefited economically from the increase in U.S. energy production.
Although few, there are several well-established and successful Black-owned energy companies. Some of the best known include ACE Petroleum, located in Detroit.
Moses Shepherd, founder and CEO of ACE Petroleum
Founded in 2018, Moses Shepherd started ACE Petroleum, making the Black-owned Detroit-based company the first minority-owned fuel provider. In 2020, it secured a $27 million contract with the city of Detroit to supply fuel services for the police department, fire department and emergency medical vehicles through 2025. ACE Petroleum has more than 450 fuel delivery trucks at its disposal. ACE Petroleum reported it had $6 million in revenue for 2019 and projects revenue of $15 million in 2020.
Kase Lawal, founder and CEO of CAMAC
A Nigerian who became a US citizen, Kase Lawal started CAMAC, a multinational oil and gas exploration company in 1986. The CAMAC Group is a global energy company that was the first Black-owned energy company to become a major corporate entity in the oil and gas industry. Lawal received a B.A. in chemical engineering from Texas Southern University and an M.B.A. in finance from Prairie View A&M. Before starting his company, he worked for several international corporations, including Shell & Halliburton. In 2005, he was able to acquire a major interest in Unity National Bank, the only Black-owned federally chartered bank in Texas. CAMAC trades and produces approximately 120,000 barrels per day of crude oil and refined products. It has been listed as the number two company on the Black Enterprise 100 list with $1.5 billion in sales.
Stephen Hightower, CEO of Hightowers Petroleum
Stephen Hightower founded and incorporated Hightowers Petroleum in 1982. The company specializes in securing fuel from refineries and transporting it to the marketplace for sale and distribution. Hightowers Petroleum is the largest minority-owned company in the Southwest Ohio region, and in 2013 it was reported to have revenues over $300 million. By 2019, the company eclipsed $499 million in sales, making it the 14th largest Dayton-area company by total revenue. Hightowers Petroleum is a family-owned business with a client list that includes the likes of General Motors Co., Duke Energy, and the Kroger Co.
Wale Tinubu, group chief executive officer of Oando PLC
Although Nigerian, Wale Tinubu is building one of the largest energy companies in Africa. He runs and controls a $1.7-billion energy conglomerate. To date, his company has exported more than 57 million barrels of oil since its inception. What is of interest is that Tinubu has been buying up oil rights across the United States. In fact, his company bought the American oil and gas company, Conoco Phillips.
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