Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) yesterday announced that it will commence the drilling of crude oil in Nasarawa State from March 21, 2023.
Group Chief Executive Officer of the national oil company, Mallam Mele Kyari, who spoke when he visited the Governor of the state, Abdullahi Sule, in Lafia, the state capital.
According to Kyari, initial exploratory activities detected that there was a significant amount of oil in the state, noting that the NNPC was ready to do the necessary work to find the hydrocarbon resources.
“This work must be done very fast because the whole world is walking away from fossil fuels due to the energy transition. The earlier you go to market, the better for you. Otherwise, 10 years from now, no one will agree to put money in the petroleum business unless it comes from your cash flow,” he stated.
He said that the company began work in the state in 2010 and has technically found a petroleum environment in the state.
“We have seen a great potential for finding hydrocarbon in Nasarawa State and to confirm this, we are going to start drilling on March 21.
“We are very optimistic that it would be a successful exercise. It will not end there, once you find oil, you do further works to develop it, not just for the benefit of the community around it but for Nasarawa state and the country,” he said.
Kyari pointed out that the exploration would not be limited to the current location in Obi/Keana location.
“Once we test this prospect, it opens new roads and we have seen other great prospects across many parts of the State. This will herald history and bring value to all of us,” he added.
He thanked the government and people of Nasarawa state for the cooperation and support so far and called for its sustenance.
“Peace and cooperation is essential in oil exploration and we have seen enormous cooperation in this respect. We have seen no danger, no risk to our operation from all stakeholders in our area of operation and we thank them for that,” he added.
Kyari stressed that the company would continue to do its best to bring immediate value to the host community and ultimately to the wider society when oil was found in commercial quantity.
In his remarks, Sule urged the people to sustain the peace in the area and across the state and identified insecurity as a major challenge to oil exploration in the country.
He called on the people of the state to ensure they maintain peace and support the company for the project to succeed and expressed optimism that the drilling of the oil well, named “Ebenyi-A” would be the first in the North Central zone of the country.
Also speaking, the Emir of Lafia, Justice Muhammad Sidi-Bage (rtd), reassured the NNPC of the people’s support.
“On behalf of our people, we want to say that you will find peace. We have been known for being peaceful, kind and loving. You will not have any reason to feel otherwise within the period of your operation in the state,” Sidi-Bage said.
Managing Director, NNPC Energy Services Limited, Sophia Mbakwe, ,in her remarks, said the assurances from the government and stakeholders in Nasarawa state was critical to the operation of the company.
“For the right to operate, we need the cooperation, support and blessing of the governor and the community, and that we have got today.
“The intent is that it’s going to benefit both parties and we want to go there to ensure no harm to people, no harm to the environment and be able to commence drilling as planned on March 21,” she noted.
Executive Director, Frontier Exploration Services of the company, Mr Muktar Zanna, had led a team other executive directors of the company on a visit to various traditional rulers in the area to get their support.
Some of the traditional rulers visited included Alh. Aliyu Dangiwa-Orume, Osuko of Obi; Alh. Abdullahi Agbo, Osana of Keana; Alh. Umar Apeshi, Osoho of Olosoho (Agwatashi), as well as Retired Justice Muhammad Sidi-Bage, Emir of Lafia.