THE Federal Government has explained that the recent resumption of oil drilling in Borno and other basins is aimed at growing the country’s reserves which currently stands at 37 billion barrels.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) formally resumed drilling in the Chad Basin, Borno State, twenty-eight years after its withdrawal from the site.
The initial withdrawal was as a result of the discovery that the quantity of oil in the basin could not serve commercial purposes.
However, the discovery of crude oil and gas in commercial quantities in Kolmani River 2 prompted the resumption of drilling activities in the Chad Basin.
Speaking at the flag off of the Wadi-B drilling campaign on Tuesday, May 23 in Borno State, President Muhammadu Buhari said the oil drilling campaign would signal the commencement of physical activities for the exploration of crude oil and gas in the Chad Basin area.
Buhari pointed out that active drilling activities were suspended in 1995 to enable the re-evaluation of exploration activities in the entire frontier basins.
According to Buhari, “The NNPC has since then conducted extensive basinal analysis and evaluation of oil frontier indices, leading to the successful discovery of crude oil and gas in commercial quantities in Kolmani River 2 and providing insight into the on-going crude oil and gas drilling campaign in Nasarawa State as well as the current re-entry activities into the Chad Basin.”
Buhari expressed optimism that the positive outcome of the Chad Basin exploration campaign would increase the nation’s crude oil and gas reserves and as well enhance national energy security.
Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer of NNPC, Mele Kyari, said the remobilisation of drilling rig to the Chad Basin indicated that the situation had changed since it was abandoned 28 years ago.
He said, “We stopped drilling here in 1995 because the successes were weak and because the findings were not commercial.
“We understood very clearly that we needed to understand the basin very well, we needed to have a different approach to exploration activity in this basin. And that’s why the NNPC and our partner, the erstwhile Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the current NUPRC, decided to embark on massive evaluation of all the frontier basins in the country.”
Kyari further noted that the evaluation of frontier basins had enabled NNPC to understand the geological basin of the Chad Basin.
“It also enabled us to mobilise to Nasarawa State. Now a drilling activity is going on. It also helped us to understand the geological basin of the Chad Basin which is why we are back here.
“Of course, our findings have been useful. The understanding of the rift system in Nigeria enabled us to have successful outcomes in the Kolmani Area.”
The NNPC chief also noted that the company and its partners are committed to deploying the necessary technology and best approach that would enable it to create value for Nigeria.
Kyari added that the exploratory exercise would enable Nigerians to have access to an alternative source of energy for cooking.
They reported that the NNPC said it would commence the drilling of the first oil well in Nasarawa State by March 2023.
Kyari said the drilling is in continuation of its oil exploration activities in the country’s inland basins.
He noted that the results of exploratory activities confirmed the presence of substantial hydrocarbon resources in the state.
The NNPC chief, calling for prompt action on the project, said, “This work must be done very fast because the whole world is walking away from fossil fuel due to energy transition.
“The earlier you go to the market, the better for you, otherwise, 10 years from now, no one will agree to put money in petroleum business except it comes from your cash flow.”
The ICIR reported that the first cargo from the $18.5 billion Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Company, Ibeju-Lekki, Nigeria, which was commissioned on Monday, May 22, will be available in the market by the beginning of August 2023.
He said, “Our first product will be in the market before the end of July and beginning of August this year. Our investment of over $18.5 billion in this industry has been prompted by our desire to support and contribute our quota to the Federal government to sustain airports, the transform our economy and properly positioned.”
The 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery, expected to save Nigeria from spending scarce foreign currency earnings on importing petroleum products and subsidy payments, was commissioned by outgoing President, Buhari.