Nigeria’s hopes of increasing its crude oil reserves received a fresh boost as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited yesterday commenced an oil drilling campaign at the Wadi-B located in Jere local government area of Borno State, thus marking the resumption of crude oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin, six years after the search for oil at the region was suspended.
The search for oil in the Chad Basin was suspended in 2017 after Boko Haram terrorists abducted scientists and geologists working for a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, leaving some dead.
The Wadi-B well is located in Tuba Community, Jere Local Government Area, 50km away from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off the resumption of physical activities towards the exploration of crude oil and gas in the Chad Basin area, expressing his belief that the successes recorded in the Kolmani River 2 and will be replicated in the area.
Speaking virtually at the Wadi-B Drilling Campaign which physically took place in Borno State, “crude oil and gas exploration activities have been ongoing in the Chad Basin since 1976 and also know of the discovery of sub commercial gas at the Wadi-1 Well in 1985. I am also aware that active drilling activities were suspended in 1995 to enable re-evaluation of exploration activities in the entire frontier basins.
“I am happy that the NNPC has since then conducted extensive Basinal Analysis and Evaluation of all frontier basins leading to the successful drilling and discovery of crude oil and gas in commercial quantities in Kolmani River 2 and providing insight to the ongoing crude oil and gas drilling campaign in Nasarawa State as well the current re-entry activities into the Chad Basin.”
Also speaking, the group chief executive officer of NNPC, Mele Kyari said that the company is optimistic that the drilling exercise would help in its efforts to bring prosperity to the people through the elimination of energy poverty which is threatening Africa’s biggest economy.
The NNPC had stopped drilling in Wadi-B in 1995 because successes were weak and findings made during the period were not in commercial quantity.
The fresh drilling is part of the scramble for oil and gas deposits in Nigeria’s frontier basins.
Kyari said, “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 and that is why NNPC and our partners, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the current Upstream Regulatory Commission decided to embark on massive revaluation of all the frontier basins in the country.
“And of course, our findings have been useful. The understanding of the rift system in Nigeria enables us to have successful outcomes in the Kolmani Area. 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.
“Now we are much more confident, we believe that this campaign will be successful and that this campaign will take us to the ultimate objective which is to increase the reserves of our country and also create opportunities around us. We believe that the time for oil and gas to vanish is still far away.
“We believe that oil and gas will continue to be principal in determining the prosperity of our country, of course more especially, providing energy security for our country. And this can’t happen unless we have access to the resources and we are able to convert them into value and of course a new approach to doing this that is practical which is what we are doing in the Kolmani area.”
The GCEO said the company and its partners will deploy the necessary technology and best approach that will enable it to create value for Nigerians in the quickest possible time.
“That is why NNPC and her partner, the NUPRC, decided to embark on a data review on all the frontier basins in the country and our findings have been useful. Our understanding of the ridge system in Nigeria has enabled us to have successful outcomes in the Kolmani area and enabled us to mobilise to Nasarawa State.
“Now we are back here and we are much more confident, and we believe that this campaign will be successful”, the NNPC Limited boss added.
On his part, the Chief Executive, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC, Engr Gbenga Komolafe disclosed that the drill was expected to yield about 943 billion barrels of crude oil if successful.
He explained that the OPL 732 well is part of the Federal Government’s effort to boost Nigeria’s crude oil reserves from the current 37 billion barrels to 40 billion barrels by the year 2030.
Also speaking, the Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum, observed that the project would have a positive impact on the socio-economic status of the state.
He, therefore, pledged the support of the state government and local communities for the success of the project.
Giving a technical detail of the project, the Executive Director, Frontier Exploration Services, NNPC Limited, Mukhtar Zanna explained the drilling will reach a depth of 14km using the ACME rig.
Zanna pointed out that geologists have seen many potential reservoirs “and that’s what we are here to prove that the hydrocarbon here could be oil, gas or both”.
According to him, “We are very optimistic (of finding hydrocarbons in commercial quantity) because we reviewed the data, and also deployed new technologies”