Cautious glee as Plateau joins North’s oil valleys

Kim Musa Ndoh
The recent announcement by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the prospect for crude oil exploration in Plateau State has added to the growing number of oil exploration sites in the North.
Borno, Bauchi, Gombe and Niger states have all been discovered to have prospects for oil and gas.
Amidst the excitement elicited by the current discovery, experts and host community leaders advance ways of its successful management for positive impact.
The NNPC has said efforts are being intensified at exploring oil and gas in Wase and Kanam Local Government Areas of Plateau State.
It said Wase and Kanam, which are parts of the Upper and Middle Benue Trough, have oil and gas prospects capable of contributing to the economic growth of the country.
During a recent visit by the management of the corporation to Governor Simon Bako Lalong at Government House, Jos, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, through the Group General Manager, Frontiers Exploration Services, Abdullahi Bomai, said the corporation had identified additional oil and gas province known as the Kolmani discovery in addition to those of the Niger-Delta as well as increase the worth of the Benue Trough with a billion barrels of oil reserves among others.
At the sites in Plateau State, Daily Trust on Sunday learned that the NNPC’s seismic crew which began 3D data acquisition in Kanam and Wase identified hydrocarbon in the areas, and has marked the land areas for the project.
About 70 kilometers from Wase to the project site, the NNPC has started building a camp for staff who are expected to advance the work, having commenced survey activities in the area.
Containers which will serve as temporary offices and other purposes have been fixed, even as electricity generators and other valuable equipment have been brought to the area.
The traditional ruler of Yuli, Alhaji Yaro Shu’aibu Yuli, who spoke the project, said the community was happy that the NNPC was able to explore oil in the area.
He promised to cooperate with the corporation to ensure its success.
“Everyone in the community is happy; we hope it will be completed in the nearest future.
“We thank God that we are going to be among the oil producing communities in the country,” he said.
Also commenting on the project, one of the kingmakers in Kukawa in Kanam, Hassan Salisu Muhammed, said identifying the area for oil and gas exploration is a good development to the entire community.
“It is joyful and we thank God for that.
“We are all happy in the community.
“What we have been hearing in some countries and other parts of the country is now in our home.
“We hope the government will put hands on deck to ensure the success of the project,” he said.
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that the renewed search for commercial quantity hydrocarbon in the inland basins of northern Nigeria received a boost in 2016 following President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the NNPC to resume exploration activities, especially at the Chad Basin and the Kolmani River in the Benue Trough.
In 1993, the federal government awarded blocks in the Gongola Basin to three international oil companies – Shell, Chevron and Total.
The companies acquired data and drilled one well each.
One of the wells was the Kolmani River I which recorded about three billion standard cubic feet of gas but was termed non-commercial.
The oil giants, therefore, suspended operations and relinquished the blocks in 2000.
Following the president’s directive, the NNPC acquired advanced data and technology to drill deeper for more discoveries.
It acquired 3D seismic data over the Kolmani River area, leading to the identification of six prospects including the Kolmani River II well.
While assuring that it would leave no stone unturned in sustaining the intensity of the ongoing exploration in the inland basins, the NNPC called for patience.
“It usually takes time for the oil to be discovered. In the Niger Delta Basin, it took over 50 years of explorations to discover crude oil.
“Niger Republic drilled over 600 wells and over many years before they discovered crude oil.
“Therefore, patience is of the essence here,” the NNPC said.