Buhari launches first crude oil, gas exploration in Northern Nigeria, two years after flag-off

Oredola Adeola

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will Tuesday(today) pay an official visit to Bauchi state,  to launch the first phase of oil exploration, the first of its kind in Northern Nigeria, after almost two years of the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantity in the region.

This was confirmed in a statement by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) obtained by EnergyDay on Tuesday.

The President, according to the statement will conduct the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kolmani Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 809 and 810 at the Kolmani field site located in Bauchi and Gombe states, alongside Mr. Timipre Sylva Minister of State for Petroleum, and Mallam Mele Kyari the Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCl, among others dignitaries.

The oilfields are expected to be developed by Africa Oilfield Movers Limited, Sterling Oil Exploration & Energy Production Company Ltd. (SEEPCO), an indigenous oil exploration and production company, and New Nigeria Development Commission (NNDC), a conglomerate owned by the 19 Northern States of Nigeria and the NNPC Limited, after a request for expressions of interest (EoI) were issued to the parties, for the development of the two licenses.

EnergyDay’s check showed that the historical search for oil in the frontier basin, especially in the Kolmani wells, commenced in the 90s, after many years of oil search by Total, Chevron, and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO), following which the fields were abandoned.

The first major exploration was achieved on the two fields  in 2000 during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, although much could not be achieved in commercial quantity.

Following the level of success achieved by the government in the fight against insurgency, in October 2019, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) under the former Group Managing Director, the late Maikanti Baru, announced the discovery of hydrocarbon deposits in sizeable commercial quantity at the Kolmani River II Well, after it received an express order from President Buhari to explore for oil in the North.

The Benue Trough is a major geological formation underlying a large part of Nigeria, extending about 1,000km North-East from the Bight of Benin to Lake Chad.

The NNPC revealed that about 400 square kilometers (400km²) of 3D seismic data was acquired in the part of the Benue trough, earlier explored by SNEPCO, Chevron and Total.

Since the integrated development of OPLs 809 and 810 blocks, was discovered to be more than 700 km from the coast, an onsite 50,000 barrel- per day midstream condensate refinery. and 150 MW power plant, had been by been initiated to enable domestic utilisation of hydrocarbon resources produced in the field while also creating an industrial hub within the axis.

NNPC Limited is estimated to have spent over $3 billion on frontier exploration, through its subsidiary, Frontier Exploration Services (FES), a statutorily that has now been structured into the recently accented Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) which created a fund where 30 percent of NNPC profit dedicated to frontier exploration

Kolmani fields could hold as much as one billion barrels of crude oil reserve, raising Nigeria’s crude oil reserves to about 38 billion barrels or more, this is based on recent data obtained from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).

Experts have described the renewed exploration activities in the Benue Trough and Chad Basin as a good development, adding that the discoveries will reduce the country’s reliance on crude oil explorations in the Niger Delta and also increase its production quota.

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