Encyclopedia of African American Business by Jessie Carney Smith

Encyclopedia of African American Business by Jessie Carney Smith

Author:Jessie Carney Smith
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: ABC-CLIO


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Lawal, Kase (1954-)

Energy Company Executive

Kase Lawal is founder, chairman, and CEO of CAMAC International Corporation, a global oil and energy exploration firm. CAMAC with its affiliated companies, consisting of over 1,500 employees worldwide, is reported to be the second largest African American–owned company in the United States with revenue approximated at $1.4 billion as of 2006. Lawal was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1954. In 1971, once convincing his father, who was a local politician, to send him to the United States for college, he arrived in the United States the next year and enrolled at Georgia Institute of Technology but later enrolled at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. In 1976, Lawal graduated from Texas Southern University with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering and later earned a master’s of business administration, MBA, in finance and marketing from Prairie View A & M University in Prairie View, Texas. Lawal began his career first in agriculture and then in the energy industry. He began working as a research chemist for Dresser Industries, currently known as Halliburton, and later as a process engineer for Shell Oil Refining Company.

In 1986, Lawal started his own business by trading sugar, tobacco, rice, and other agricultural products. His company CAMAC, which stood for Cameroon American, moved into the energy market in the 1990s after Nigeria began developing its own energy market. Lawal, who had dual citizenship, was well established in the United States and in particular Houston, Texas, and was in a key position to broker deals for the Nigerian government. Nigeria, although rich in oil at the time, had few oil exploration projects from the oil giants. Lawal secured oil production rights for large tracts of land and formed Allied Nigeria. In negotiation agreements to provide financial support for oil exploration, he met with over 19 different companies. Lawal’s big break came in 1991, when CAMAC and Conoco made a deal to jointly share operation and production for any Nigerian discoveries. This opportunity opened the door for agreements with other major oil companies such a BP, Statoil (a Norwegian company), and ENI, the largest oil company in the world. This also initiated the move for millions of dollars to be infused into the Nigeria economy. By 2004, Lawal had established a $1.3 million development project in South Africa to employ 2,000 South African workers. In 2002 and 2003, Black Enterprise magazine named CAMAC and its holdings as number one on the prestigious list of top black-owned firms in America.

CAMAC is a family business that is 80 percent owned by Kase Lawal, his wife Eileen, and their three children, and the remaining 20 percent is owned by his brother Kamoru Lawal, who serves as chief financial officer and vice president of the company, and his other brothers and sisters.


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