An ex-Aer Lingus accountant who struck black gold
Published 02/02/2012 | 05:00
Aidan Heavey, a former Aer Lingus accountant, founded Tullow Oil in 1985.
The exploration firm is now Africa's largest independent oil company.
Tullow Oil is a London FTSE 100-listed company, with a market value of more than €13bn, and has interests in more than 85 oil licences across 23 countries.
The seeds of the company's success in Africa were sown in the 1980s when Mr Heavey struck up a conversation with a friend in a bank. A native of Castlerea, Co Roscommon, Mr Heavey had left his job Aer Lingus in the early 1980s to work at a firm operating a fleet of fuel oil tankers in Tullow, Co Carlow.
The friend told him about small oil fields in Africa that had been "left behind by the majors".
That conversation inspired Mr Heavey to found a company that in 2010 alone produced 58,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Mr Heavey (58) was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005.
He has also starred in an RTE documentary on Tullow's corporate responsibility work in Africa.
The married father of three -- who has homes in Ireland, London and the Caribbean -- is one of the founding partners of Invest in Africa, a scheme designed to attract international investment to the continent.