The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd on Tuesday
Discoveries from fresh oil drilling operations at the Wadi-B well located in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State will grow the country’s crude oil reserves, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, has said.
Kyari, who led the oil drilling party made up mostly of local engineers from the national oil company, said he was optimistic the exercise would usher in a new era of prosperity for Nigeria and elimination of energy poverty in Africa’s biggest economy.
Speaking at the Presidential Flag-off of the Wadi-B Drilling Campaign by President Muhammadu Buhari in Borno State, Kyari said NNPCL was resuming oil drilling operations in the Wadi-B well after it was halted in 1995 after initial assessment described the successes recorded as weak and oil findings not in commercial producible volume.
He said the decision to restart exploration and drilling operations in the area was part of the search for oil and gas deposits in Nigeria’s frontier basins in the Chad region in the North East part of the country.
“We understood very clearly that we need to understand the basin very well. We need to have a different approach to exploration activities in this very basin. That is why NNPC and our partners, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission, decided to embark on massive revaluation of all the frontier basins in the country,” Kyari said.
“Of course, judging from our experience and outcomes in theKolmani Area, our findings have been useful and encouraging. The understanding of the rift system in Nigeria enables us to have successful outcomes, and to apart from enabling us to mobilise to Nasarawa State. Now that a drilling activity is ongoing, it will help us to understand the geological composition of the Chad Basin. That is why we are back here.
“Now, we are much more confident that this campaign will not only be successful, but will take us to the ultimate objective, which is to grow the country’s oil reserves, create new investment opportunities around us. We believe the time for oil and gas to vanish is still far away.
“We believe that for a long time to come oil and gas will continue to be principal commodity in determining the prosperity of our country, especially by providing energy security for our country.”
Achieving these objectives cannot happen unless Nigerians have access to the resources and able to convert them into value, which, he noted, was a new approach adopted in the Kolmani area.
Apart from oil drilling, the NNPCL Chief said the company and its partners were determined to deploy the necessary technology and best approach that would help in creating value for Nigerians in the quickest possible time.
Through the drilling operations, Kyari said the NNPCL was committed to combating the ills of deforestation in the North East Region, as most Nigerians who do not have access to cooking gas fell trees as an alternative fuel for cooking.
He expressed confidence that efforts to make available cooking gas as a cleaner transition fuel would play a huge role in curbing the menace of desertification in the country.
“The Sahara Desert moves at least a kilometre towards the Southwards area, and this can’t be arrested if we do not find alternative sources of energy for the communities. This is what the oil and gas industry will do for the country,” he said.
To create the energy security required in the country and bring prosperity closer to the people, Kyari said supplying gas for domestic consumption would be ongoing concurrently to producing new oil and producing new reserves.
Kyari expressed confidence in the capacity of the drilling team assembled by the NNPCL to deliver on the set target, saying they have done well by finding oil where others before them practically ran away.
“Today, they led this regime of the knowledge of the basins in our country and of course, in Africa. I am very proud of them,” he said.
The Commission Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, said with focus on key regulatory framework the industry was moving towards the target of growing Nigeria’s national oil reserves from the current 37 billion barrels of oil to 40 billion barrels of oil by 2030.
Komolafe said the outcome of the exploration appraisal would significantly grow the nation’s oil reserves and facilitate sustainable domestic energy security.
“Considering the positive prospectivity results recorded so far, in OPL 732 from previous exploratory activities, we are optimistic that through this appraisal drilling the huge case prospective hydrocarbon resource estimated at about 94.03 million barrels of oil, initial oil in place will be matured and migrated into proven reserves,” Komolafe said.
The Wadi-B wells, estimated to have a total depth of 14 thousand feet, are located in Jere LGA of Borno State, about 50 kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.