In continuation of oil exploration activities in inland basin, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited is now set to drill the first oil well in Nasarawa State, reports Igbawase Ukumba.
Available data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) has confirmed the presence of hydrocarbon in Nasarawa State; precisely in Keana Local Government Area, which is located in the Benue Trough. The data confirming availability of the hydrocarbon in Keana followed several exploratory activities carried out by the NNPC Limited in form of gathering the right data and making the right decisions.
Perhaps, the oil reserve in Keana could be bigger than the 1.2 billion barrels discovered in Kolmani. This is because the Kolmani oil had acquired what is called 2-D and the 3-D, hence it was able to define the 1.2 billion barrels. However, Keana has only acquired 2-D that is called enhanced 2-D, because of technology. Hitherto, the reserve size of Keana is already bigger than Kolmani.
Nevertheless, the dream of Governor Abdullahi Sule towards that direction is to pursue for the establishment of a petroleum refinery in the state to refine the petroleum products in Keana. He insisted that instead of transporting the expected oil and gas to be exploited in Keana to the sea, his administration would pursue for the setting up of a refinery to refine the petroleum products in Keana.
It was in this vein that the governor, when raising fund for his re-election campaign activities in Abuja, used opportunity of the fund raising ceremony to appeal to prominent investors, as well as influential political office holders present at the event, to spread the gospel towards wooing investors to come and develop the oil potentials of the state.
He particularly pointed out that mostly as a result of the erratic nature of the oil industry, the International Oil Companies refused to come in to develop the Kolmani, but for Africa Oil, which invested $3 billion in that oil field. Sule insisted that the only way the oil reserve in Keana could be developed was for local investors to come in and invest their money in the project.
“All the international oil companies (IOCs) refused to go to Kolmani. Only Africa Oil, which is operating onshore felt comfortable to go and invest over $3 billion in that place. We have some very wealthy people here. I know the influence they also have. We have some practical cooperate people here. I know the influence they have too.
“That is the reason why I am appealing, now that we have prospective investors here. I am appealing to you, now that we have people who have influence, Nasarawa State is ready to explode with economic activities once we are able to develop Keana,” he stated.
The governor particularly commended the NNPC Ltd for introducing the integrated field development at the Kolmani, which was not obtainable previously in the country, where the issues of pipeline vandalization and environmental degradation were addressed.
“What the NNPC Limited has done, we don’t even have anywhere in Nigeria. Not in Niger Delta, not anywhere. In the oil and gas sector, there is what we called Integrated Field Development where you produce the oil there, refine it there, you produce the gas there, you generate the power there, you produce the chemicals there,” Sule said.
Basins Across Nigeria
The governor, therefore, explained that with similar concept in Keana, as well as all the other basins in the country, there would be no need laying pipelines for over 200 or 300 km in order to evacuate the oil to the terminals located in the Niger Delta.
Consequent upon that, Nasarawa State is now set to join the league of oil producing states in the country as the first oil well will be drilled in March this year in Keana Local Government Area of the state. Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPC Ltd, Mele Kolo Kyari, disclosed this when Governor Abdullahi Sule led a high-powered delegation from Nasarawa State on a visit at the corporate headquarters of the company in Abuja, recently.
According to the NNPC GCEO, available data has confirmed the presence of hydrocarbon in Nasarawa State, with the company ready to commence drilling the first oil well in Keana by March. He explained that once the Keana oil well proves successful, it has the capacity to transform the potentials of the state tremendously.
Kyari said: “We have carried out several exploratory activitiears in the form of gathering the right data and making the right decisions. We are very convinced at this point in time that very soon Nasarawa State will join the league of states with hydrocarbon presence.
“This is not far away. As a matter of fact, we believed that we will start the first well in Nasarawa State by March and this is to confirm. It is very typical science that once we are able to make a success of that well, then the potentials of Nasarawa are beyond what I can explain at this point in time.”
This was even as the NNPC Limited GCEO, however, warned that the process needed to be hastened as the world was now moving away from fossil fuel towards renewable energy.
“It is a work on progress, but the opportunity of our life time is in our hands. This also must be done very fast. I must warn that there is something called energy transition. Today, the whole world is turning away from fossil fuel, the earlier you go to the market, the better for you. Otherwise, ten years from now, you will not find anyone agreeing to put money into petroleum business, except it comes from your cash flow. Everything we must do, we must do them now so that we can create the cash flow that will continue to sustain the project going forward,” he cautioned.
Harping on the need for a clement environment to undertake the oil exploration in Keana, the NNPC Ltd boss said the company has sufficient experience from the Niger Delta, as well as globally. He stressed that his firm was taking adequate steps to avoid them in Gombe, Bauchi, in the Chad Basin, as well as anywhere else that the NNPC Ltd was going into exploration activities.
He however said: “Support from communities is very eminent and must necessary. As we leave this place, we will continue to engage so that those mistakes of the past don’t repeat themselves, so that we can accelerate development in the communities,” Kyari stated.
Corroborating the NNPC Ltd GCEO, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Timipre Sylva, said the country was willing to produce every available oil in the country, especially at a time when the world was moving away from fossil fuel. The minister continued that that explained the provision in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), to ensure that there was enough funding to be able to look for oil in new territories.
“The more oil we find, especially in this time when the global community is trying to move away from oil, this is the time to find all the oil that we have in Nigeria. It is in your interest to produce as much crude as possible, take it out of the ground and monetize it as quickly as possible so that even if the world moves on, we would have at least taken advantage of our resources.
“That is what we are about. That is why I will assure you, Mr Governor, that you can count on this office in whatever way, to support the production of oil in Keana. We are here on the same page,” the Petroleum Minister said.
Timipre Sylva concluded that his ministry had also adopted the integrated field development because that was the easiest and a remedy for pipeline vandalization.
In his remarks during the visit, the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, said Nigeria had so many opportunities and so many areas of great potentials like the Chad Basin, Benue Trough; where Nasarawa State belongs, the Sokoto Basin, Benin Basin and Anambra Basin amongst others.
Sule Applauds Kyari
Sule, therefore, used opportunity of the visit to congratulate the NNPC Limited GCEO, management of the company and Nigeria as a whole for adopting the integrated field development in Kolmani oil field, an entirely new innovation that was not available in the country previously.
“I want to appreciate you because the main purpose of our visit is to congratulate you, the management of NNPC Ltd, Nigeria as a whole for what you have just demonstrated at Kolmani. A lot of people do not really understand what you have done. But in reality, you have come up with an initiative that is not well known to us.
For us to have a full Integrated Field Development at Kolmani, it looks very strongly that Nigeria is taking a new dimension, it is going to be similar to what we see in Saudi Arabia,” Governor Sule maintained.
On his part, the Emir of Lafia and chairman of the Nasarawa State Council of Traditional Rulers, Justice Sidi Bage (rtd), who spoke on behalf of the host community, said since the founding of Nasarawa State, there was nothing as great as the discovery of oil in Keana.
The royal father, therefore, expressed appreciation that oil exploration was taking place in Keana under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has made Nasarawa State his second home.