More than a billion barrels of oil have been found in northern Nigeria, Buhari says as drilling begins

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday flagged off the first crude oil drilling project in northern Nigeria, on the border of Bauchi and Gombe states.

The NNPC had in October 2019 announced the discovery of hydrocarbon deposits in the Kolmani River II Well at the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin, in the northeastern part of the country.

The discovery of commercial quantities was the first in the region after several crude oil explorations in the Upper Benue Trough.

The oilfield will be developed by Sterling Global Oil, New Nigerian Development Commission (NNDC) and NNPC Ltd.

The discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities in the Gongola Basin will attract foreign investment, create employment opportunities for people to earn income and increase government revenues, according to NNPC.

Speaking at the flag-off in Bauchi on Tuesday, Mr Buhari said the successful discovery of the Kolmani oil and gas field by NNPC and its partners has finally broken a decades-long curse.

“This is indeed significant given that efforts to find commercial oil and gas outside the established Niger Delta basin have been attempted for years without the desired results,” said Mr Buhari.

“This discovery was a result of our assignment to the NNPC to reassess and expand its oil and gas exploration footprint into the frontier basins of Anambra, Dahomey, Sokoto, Benue Trough, Chad and Bida Basins. Similar activities in the other basins are currently actively underway.”

“We are pleased with the current discovery of more than 1 billion barrels of oil reserves and 500 billion cubic feet of gas in the Kolmani area and the huge potential for more deposits as we intensify exploration efforts.

“As a fully integrated in-situ development project encompassing upstream production, oil refining, power generation and fertilizer, the project promises many benefits to the nation. This includes, but is not limited to, energy security, financial security, food security and the general socio-economic development of the country,” he said.

Mr. Buhari noted that given the landlocked location and huge capital requirement, the economics of the project is a challenging proposition.

“That is why I have entrusted NNPC Limited from the outset to utilize and leverage their vast portfolio of assets across all corridors of its business to reduce project risk and attract much-needed investment. I have instructed NNPC to continue on this line.

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“It is therefore to the credit of this administration that at a time when there is almost no appetite for investment in fossil energy, coupled with the locational challenges, we are able to attract investments of more than $3 billion for this project.” he said. .

According to him, this will certainly be a reference topic for a positive discussion in the industry as we continue the energy transition program that will lead our country to reach Net-Zero position 1 by 2060.

“I have engaged the governors of Bauchi and Gombe states and both have assured me of their continued commitment and willingness to ensure support and cooperation in these places as this activity affects the local population,” he said.

He urged NNPC Ltd, NNDC and their strategic partners to ensure that all lessons learned from our years of experience as an oil producing nation are used to ensure harmonious relationships with the local communities.

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