Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals

By NJ Ayuk, JD MBA

"Energy can and must work better for Africans" - NJ Ayuk

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Billions at Play Excerpt

Energy can and must work better for Africans. Billions at Play, the follow up to NJ Ayuk’s Big Barrels, tells us how.

As OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo says in his foreword, Ayuk is a dreamer. But he is a dreamer with an action plan and through this book, he gives Africans the tools to get more from the energy industry.

How did Africa get here and what comes next? How do African countries and societies get the most value from their resources? What exactly can African leaders do to put their countries on a sustainable, profitable path? And how can all parties win in Africa’s energy deals of the coming decades?

Ayuk expertly argues the case for greater female empowerment, better governance and more responsive national oil companies.

He points the way to a more powerful African presence on the world stage through African OPEC membership and through energy value chain development, and examines America's role in Africa.

A career dedicated to advocacy and deal-making in African energy make NJ Ayuk the most qualified individual to show how energy can indeed work harder and act as the engine for African growth.

Building on the success of his first book Big Barrels: African Oil & Gas and the Quest for Prosperity, NJ Ayuk in Billions at Play: The Future of African Oil and Doing Deals gives us his unique take on what leaders and investors can do to sign deals and build success in this complex business. Big Barrels gave us the African success stories. Billions at Play explains how energy can help achieve the African Dream.

Billions at Play New Edition Excerpt

"I agree with the points made—and with Ayuk's case for the critical role that OPEC will play in helping African oil products achieve a much-deserved voice in the petroleum industry."
—OPEC Secretary-General, H.E. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo

Two decades of negotiating African oil and gas deals have given NJ Ayuk a grasp of the continent's energy landscape that few can match. The American-educated, African energy lawyer serves up generous doses of that insight in his second book, Billions at Play: The Future of Africa Energy and Doing Deals.

Serving as a road map for the continent to do a better job of using its vast energy resources to improve its peoples' lives, Ayuk addresses how African countries can use their energy industries as springboards for diversifying and growing their overall economies.

Questions posed and answered:

  • Why Africa's fledgling natural gas resources can allow the continent to emerge as a key global player in the industry
  • What changes African countries can make in order to become attractive investment destinations
  • The role that access to reliable, sustainable, and affordable power can play in the acceleration of economic growth
  • Why and how American energy companies should stop curtailing their investments in Africa
  • And why the continent's energy industry needs more women

The book's underlying theme is that too often, natural resources create wealth for foreign investors and a select group of African elites while everyday people (and in turn, African economies) fail to benefit.

"Big Barrels gave us the African success stories. Billions at Play explains how energy can help achieve the African Dream."

Foreword by H.E Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General of OPEC

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” – Nelson Mandela

In this book, Ayuk lays out his commitment to putting African countries on the path to a prosperous future. The key, Ayuk tells us, is a concerted effort by African leaders, businesses, and individuals to ensure that the continent realizes the full potential of its vast petroleum wealth.

As the CEO of a thriving pan-African law group known for its oil and gas expertise, Ayuk is something of an expert on this topic. His industry insights and talent as a deal-maker have earned the respect and trust of OPEC member countries—along with opportunities to negotiate on our organization’s behalf.

What’s more, he has invested his own time and resources into showing the way: He started by founding the Africa Energy Chamber and co-writing “Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity,” a book that showcases African countries that are successfully harnessing their petroleum resources.

In this book, Ayuk builds on what he started in Big Barrels, encouraging Africans to use their continent’s petroleum resources to seize control of their own destinies.

Perhaps most importantly, though, the book does not shy away from potentially controversial ideas. Although he dreams of African oil success, he is fully aware of the obstacles to that success: He makes a strong case for bringing more women into the industry, particularly executive roles. He also takes African governments and companies to task in the areas where they fall short, from the unfair distribution of oil wealth to poor governance that violates the people of Africa.

Ayuk is straightforward in his assessment of Africa’s inefficient power grid and the ineffective leadership of its energy companies, advocating for the unbundling of utilities as a way for the continent to take control of its future. In addition,

he calls for a cultural shift that will enable oil and gas companies to transition to energy businesses that will invest in renewables in Africa.

He also addresses the very real problem of gas flaring in my native country, Nigeria, where natural gas could be harnessed to provide long-overdue access to reliable electricity for large segments of the population.

It is an honor to provide the foreword for this book. I agree with the points made—and with Ayuk’s case for the critical role that OPEC will play in helping African oil producers achieve a much-deserved voice in the petroleum industry.

Yes, one could argue that Ayuk is a dreamer. However, he has taken the time to develop a detailed roadmap for realizing that dream. It’s up to each of us to take the time to read it and to play a part in making his dream of petroleum-fueled economic growth, stability, and improved quality of life happen for Africa.

About NJ Ayuk

NJ Ayuk, JD, MBA A leading authority in the African energy sector and a strong advocate for African entrepreneurship and the indigenous energy sector, NJ Ayuk is recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business today.

A well-known dealmaker in the petroleum and power sectors and founder of a leading energy focused law firm, NJ is dedicating his career to helping African entrepreneurs find success and to building the careers of emerging African talent. As Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO of Centurion Law Group, NJ strives through his work to ensure that business, and especially oil and gas, impacts African societies in a positive way and drives local content development.

He is the author of Big Barrels: African Oil & Gas and the Quest for Prosperity and Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.

NJ graduated from the University of Maryland College Park and earned a Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law and an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology.

The African Energy Chamber

The African Energy Chamber (AEC) is the voice of Africa’s energy sector

The leading chamber of successful networks, transactions and partnerships at the helm of Africa’s growing energy industries. The AEC actively promotes the interests of the African continent, its companies and its people.

Partners of the African Energy Chamber have the power to shape Africa’s energy future by promoting growth, fostering collaboration, shaping policy, and providing leadership and guidance in the fast-growing energy sector.

Together, we can shape Africa’s energy future

Contact AEC / Visit site

Centurion Law Group

Centurion is a pan-African corporate law conglomerate. Operating at the cutting edge of business practices today, Centurion stands ready to provide outsourced legal representation and a full suite of legal services to new, expanding and established corporations.

Across Africa, Centurion provides a service tailored to your operating environment, the nature and structure of your business, your level of risk tolerance, and your overall objectives. Our alternative billing arrangements provide our clients with a greater degree of certainty about their legal costs.

Centurion is committed to the highest ethical standards and we recognize that our firm must take a leadership role in the legal profession in Africa.

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