Dr. Papa Benin: A Visionary Leader in Oil & Gas Project Management & Engineering Operations in Ghana & West Africa

The 10 Most Influential Black Corporate Leaders to Watch in 2024

Dr. Papa Benin, Managing Director of Stark Energy Ltd., is a seasoned executive with over 18 years of experience in project development and implementation of crude oil refineries, along with over 10 years of Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) operations and engineering management.

Dr. Benin’s journey as a leader in the energy industry is a testament to his unwavering commitment to excellence, integrity, and innovation. His role as the Managing Director of Stark Energy Ltd. is not just about leading a company; it’s about inspiring and empowering a team to make a lasting impact in their industry and beyond.

Dr. Benin’s leadership style, characterized by his vision, resilience, and dedication, sets him apart as a visionary leader who is shaping the future of energy engineering in Ghana and West Africa.

Pioneering Excellence in Energy Engineering

Dr. Benin holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from KNUST-Ghana, BSc & MSc in Energy Engineering from Sweden, and a Ph.D. in Applied Management and Decision Sciences (Management) from the USA, focusing on Engineering Management.

In addition to serving as the Managing Director of Stark Energy Ltd, Dr. Benin is also the Country Representative of EM&I-Global, PARLYM-France, DEC-Belgium, MANNTEK-Sweden & ELAFLEX-Germany. He is also a Crude Oil Refinery QA/QC Consultant to Ghana’s National Petroleum Authority (NPA).

With almost a decade at MODEC, Dr. Benin rose to become the Local Manager of MODEC Ghana Operations, overseeing local content strategy and government liaison. His previous roles include Warranty Manager for the Jubilee FPSO and managing the “Ready for First Oil” for TEN FPSO. Prior to MODEC, he worked at ABB in Sweden for 2 years and at Tema Oil Refinery for 7 years. Dr. Benin is a certified and experienced HAZOP leader for oil and gas processing units.

In Ghana’s offshore petroleum sector, Dr. Benin is known for developing strategies to increase local content on Jubilee & TEN FPSOs and ensuring crew competencies and platform safety were maintained. He currently lectures part-time at the Regional Maritime University (RMU) and the University of Cape Coast Institute for Oil & Gas Studies, imparting knowledge to engineering students from various countries in West Africa.

From Oil Refinery Foundations to Leading Stark Energy Ltd.

Dr. Benin’s journey in the Oil and Gas sector began at Ghana’s Tema Oil Refinery, where he gained valuable experience in project development and management. Reflecting on his early career, he shared, “My time at Tema Oil Refinery laid a solid foundation for my understanding of the industry and the importance of efficient project management.”

Before assuming his role as Managing Director of Stark Energy Limited, Dr. Benin spent approximately 10 years at MODEC Ghana, where he held various pivotal positions. He rose through the ranks to become the local manager for Ghana operations, overseeing local content strategy and government liaison.

Dr. Benin also dedicated his time to academia, lecturing part-time at the Regional Maritime University and the University of Cape Coast Institute for Oil & Gas Studies. He remarked, “Sharing practical industry insights with students across West Africa was a rewarding experience that allowed me to contribute to the development of future industry leaders.”

Dr. Benin’s decision to join Stark Energy was deeply rooted in his passion for engineering and his commitment to driving positive change in the energy sector. He explained, “Stark Energy’s vision of providing tailor-made advanced engineering solutions resonated deeply with me.” He saw immense potential to make a meaningful impact and was inspired by the company’s innovative approach and dedication to integrity and excellence. Dr. Benin saw himself leading the team towards a future defined by growth, sustainability, and success.

Stark Energy Ltd: Engineering Solutions for Oil & Gas

Stark Energy Limited, under Dr. Benin’s leadership, is an innovative Ghanaian technical services company specializing in tailor-made advanced engineering solutions for the downstream, midstream, and upstream Oil & Gas sectors in Ghana and neighboring countries. The company serves as a technical consultant for various projects, including RIKPAT’s Lube Oil Blending facility, Akwaaba’s Oil Refinery, and IBISTEK-PSB’s tank farm & loading gantry project.

Stark Energy has also led initiatives in collaboration with the Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMC) and the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to introduce safety measures like Dry Gas Coupling and Safety Breakaway Coupling, significantly reducing LPG-related incidents in Ghana’s petroleum sector. Additionally, Stark Energy represents several global entities, including EM&I, PARLYM, DEC, MannTek, and ELAFLEX, in Ghana.

Dr. Benin’s expertise has been instrumental in driving the growth and success of Stark Energy Ltd. He emphasizes, “My expertise at Stark Energy has led to significant achievements, including winning competitive bids and spearheading technical service contracts execution in the downstream petroleum sector.” Dr. Benin’s contributions have also extended to operationalizing partnerships for asset integrity management in Ghana’s upstream and midstream petroleum sectors.

Additionally, he played a key role in introducing safety measures like Dry Gas Couplings & Safety Breakaways into Ghana’s downstream petroleum sector, reducing LPG-related fire incidents. Through a partnership with EM&I-Global, Dr. Benin’s expertise facilitated the introduction of Robotic Asset Integrity solutions into Ghana’s offshore petroleum sector, enhancing safety by eliminating hazards associated with offshore deep-water diving.

Exemplary Leadership: Fostering Integrity and Growth

Dr. Benin envisions Stark Energy as the premier provider of advanced engineering solutions in Ghana and West Africa, setting new standards of excellence and innovation in the industry. “To achieve this vision, we will continue to focus on delivering exceptional value to our clients, fostering a culture of integrity and innovation, and investing in the development of our team members,” he insists.

The future plan for Stark Energy includes expanding service offerings, diversifying the client portfolio, and leveraging emerging technologies to drive efficiency and sustainability. Dr. Benin adds, “We will also focus on building strategic partnerships and collaborations to strengthen our position in the market and capitalize on new opportunities for growth.”

As the Managing Director of Stark Energy, Dr. Benin’s responsibilities are vast and varied, encompassing strategic leadership, operational management, business development, and stakeholder engagement. He explains, “On a typical day, I start by reviewing key performance indicators, assessing project progress, and addressing any operational challenges or issues that may arise.”

Dr. Benin dedicates a significant amount of time to meeting with clients, partners, and stakeholders to understand their needs, gather feedback, and explore opportunities for collaboration and growth. He also works closely with the team, providing guidance, support, and mentorship to ensure alignment with strategic objectives and values.

A Visionary Leader Fostering Integrity and Innovation

Dr. Benin ensures that integrity and innovation thrive within Stark Energy’s culture. He declares, “Integrity and innovation are at the core of Stark Energy’s culture, and fostering these values is essential to our success.” To uphold integrity, he leads by example, demonstrating honesty, transparency, and ethical conduct in all aspects of his work.

Dr. Benin encourages open communication and dialogue, creating an environment where team members feel empowered to uphold strong moral and ethical principles. To drive innovation, he promotes a culture of creativity, curiosity, and continuous learning. Dr. Benin explains, “We encourage brainstorming sessions, where team members are encouraged to share their ideas and perspectives freely.”

By valuing diversity of thought and providing opportunities for growth and development, Dr. Benin inspires innovation and drives forward-thinking solutions that push the boundaries of what’s possible. “I firmly believe that challenges are opportunities in disguise, providing us with valuable lessons and opportunities for growth. Throughout my professional journey, I’ve encountered numerous obstacles and setbacks, each of which has presented me with an opportunity to learn, adapt, and emerge stronger,” he shares.

In describing himself in one word, Dr. Benin chose “visionary.” He is driven by a clear vision of the future and is committed to leading Stark Energy towards that vision with purpose, passion, and perseverance.

The Essence of Success: Making a Lasting Impact and Nurturing Excellence

Dr. Benin believes that success is more than personal achievements; it’s about making a lasting impact and nurturing others to excel. “Success, to me, is about achieving meaningful impact and leaving a lasting legacy. It’s not merely about personal accolades or financial gains, but rather about making a positive difference in the lives of others and in the industries that we serve,” he says.

Dr. Benin believes that true success is determined by the impact one makes on communities, the progress and nurturing of team members, and the ongoing pursuit of innovation and excellence. “Developing my team members and other mentees to be equally good or even better than me is my definition of success,” he emphasizes, “and I can feel that as each day passes by.”

Dr. Benin’s professional journey in the energy industry as a person of color has been marked by both challenges and opportunities. He has been fortunate to collaborate with organizations and individuals who prioritize diversity and inclusion. Dr. Benin’s path has been defined by resilience, determination, and a steadfast commitment to excellence, regardless of the obstacles he has encountered.

One of the most significant recognitions Dr. Benin has received as a leader was from both MODEC and the Petroleum Commission of Ghana. He was honored for developing practical strategies and system architecture to increase local content from 32 percent in 2016 to 78 percent in 2022 on Ghana’s oil production vessels (Jubilee & TEN FPSOs). This recognition underscored Dr. Benin’s dedication, expertise, and leadership capabilities, reaffirming his belief in the power of perseverance and hard work.

Dr. Benin believes in leading by example, demonstrating integrity, resilience, and a commitment to excellence in all aspects of his work. He shares, “By sharing my experiences, insights, and knowledge, I hope to inspire and empower future leaders to pursue their passions, overcome obstacles, and make a positive difference in the world.”

As an educator and mentor, Dr. Benin is dedicated to nurturing talent and fostering growth in the next generation of engineers and industry professionals. He explains, “Whether through lectures, workshops, or mentorship programs, I strive to instill in them the values of integrity, innovation, and continuous learning.” His goal is to equip them with the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to succeed and become leaders in their own right.

Maintaining Balance and Motivation for Personal and Team Well-being

Dr. Benin prioritizes self-care and family time to maintain a healthy balance between his personal and professional life. He shared, “I make time for hobbies and interests that bring me joy and fulfillment, whether it’s reading, traveling, or engaging in outdoor activities.”

To keep himself and his team motivated, Dr. Benin focuses on fostering a positive and supportive work environment. He explained, “I celebrate achievements, recognize hard work and dedication, and provide opportunities for growth and development.” By setting clear goals, communicating openly, and leading by example, Dr. Benin inspires his team to deliver their best and strive for excellence.

His personal goals revolve around continuous growth, learning, and making a positive impact. Dr. Benin aspires to be a lifelong learner, constantly seeking new opportunities for knowledge and self-improvement. He also aims to be a catalyst for positive change, leveraging his skills, expertise, and influence to drive meaningful progress and innovation.

Dr. Benin’s message to aspiring leaders is one of belief, relentless pursuit of passions, and resilience. He advises, “Stay true to your values, embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, and always strive to be the best version of yourself.” With dedication, determination, integrity, and a clear vision, Dr. Benin believes that anything is possible.


Dr. Papa Benin’s story is one of perseverance, passion, and purpose. His dedication to fostering integrity and innovation, both within Stark Energy and in the broader community, is a testament to his leadership. As he continues to inspire and empower future leaders, Dr. Benin’s impact will be felt for generations to come, shaping the future of the energy industry in Ghana and beyond.