By Edith Ike-Eboh
President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his administration’s commitment to intensify oil explorations in the country’s frontier basins for a prosperous economy and balanced resources distribution of the nation’s wealth.
Buhari gave the commitment on Saturday at the inauguration of oil drilling at the Kolmani River-II well, located at Barambu, a border village between Gombe and Bauchi States
The president said the “spud-in of Kolmani River-II well, part of the Gongola Basin, Upper Benue Trough was part of his next level agenda to make Nigeria an industrial economy.
“Today’s event is not only a reflection of our success story but a landmark of promise kept to the Nigerian people.
“Our next level is to ensure exploration effort in all our frontier Basins of Lake Chad, Gongola, Anambra, Sokoto, Dahomey, and Bida Basins, as well as Benue Trough are intensified to usher in more prospects in Nigeria.”
The president who was accompanied by Governors Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi and his Gombe counterpart Ibrahim Dankwambo, noted that oil and gas remained critical part of the country’s economy and as such must continue to show commitment to its sustainability.
This, he said, necessitated his drive for the search of oil in different part of the country on assumption of office in 2015 after his dream of 1984 when he was Nigeria’s Military Head of State.
“Hydro-carbon research in the Chad Basin started under with the Federal Commissioner of petroleum in 1976, and as Head of State in 1984 the exploration continued and resulted to the drilling of 22 wells, two of which are gas shores.
“Since then NNPC has acquired 2000 square meters of 3D seismic data in the Chad Basin before the unfortunate incidence in 2017 which led to the suspension of all activities in the Chad Basin.
“I pay tribute to the university researchers who lost their lives to the regrettable incident. I commend the security personnel who continue to make sacrifice for the some conduct of exploration throughout the country,” he added.
The president, however, said that activities would soon return to the Chad Basin but charged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to ensure the ongoing exploration come in commercial quantity.
Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Mikanti Baru, said the corporation was working to achieve the presidential mandate on the inland basin.
“Today’s epic ceremony represents our commitment to achieving this government’s objectives of increasing the nation’s hydro-carbon reserve base.
“In 1993, the federal government awarded blocks of the Gongola basin to three International Oil Companies (IOCs) – Shell, Chevron and Total; the companies acquired seismic data and drilled one well each.
“One of the wells drilled was the Kolmani River-1 that was terminated at 8,000 feet only, and recorded 33million standard cubic of gas resources but was termed noncommercial.
“The IOCs therefore suspended operation and relinquished the blocks in line with their contractual obligation in year 2000.”
Baru noted that the drilling of the Kolmani River-II well became realistic after NNPC acquired 3D data over the Kolmani River Basin area that saw the identification of six prospects.
The NNPC GMD also listed the exploration activities at the Bida basin as one of their success stories.
“We are also planning massive two-dimensional seismic data acquisition in other parts of the Benue Trough traversing Adamawa, Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue and Taraba states.
“I want to assure you, Mr President, that NNPC will leave no stone unturned in executing your directive.
“We will sustain the intensity of the ongoing oil and gas exploration in the inland basins for our nation,” Baru added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Alhaji Mohammed Ahmed, Emir of Pindiga, Gombe State, graced the occasion with a retinue of traditional rulers. (NAN)