Jean Claude Gandur had a very interesting youth. He was born in Grasse, France but is a Swiss. In fact Gandur spent a good part of his growing years in Egypt and later in Switzerland. He studied Law and Political Science at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Gandur then studied ancient history at the Pantheon-Sorbonne University in Paris.
He founded the Addax and Oryx Group in 1987 along with three associates coming from the energy industry. His particular focus was Africa. Starting with oil trading his business expanded going to downstream storage and distribution. In 1994 Gandur went into upstream exploration and production. This business empire included oil fields in Nigeria and a large network of fuel storage and distribution assets across Sub-Saharan Africa. Gandur then went to the Middle East being among the first into Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
He sold publicly trade Addax Petroleum to the Sinopec Group of China for $7.2 billion in 2009. His share in the sale amounted to a cool $1.5 billion. To further fund and expand his business in Iraq Gandur has also unloaded his African oil trading and distribution assets of his Addax & Oryx Group. After the expiration of his noncompete clause in the sale of Addax Petroleum he is also using the money to expand the activities of newly formed Oryx Petroleum. This firm already has a number of exploration concessions offshore of west Africa and competing for more. In northern Iraq Oryx Petroleum has production sharing contracts on the Hawler and Sindi Amedi blocks.
Another company that Gandur owns is Addax Bioenergy which is developing a sugar plantation and ethanol refinery in Sierra Leone. His venture into this country shows Gandur’s knowledge and connections in this part of Africa as not everyone would be enthusiastic in doing business in that area.
Growing up in Egypt has clearly had an impact on Gandur; he has one of the world’s best private collections of Egyptian antiquities.