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Buhari flags off oil, gas drilling on Gongola basin

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday flagged-off the spud-in of Kolmani River-II Well in the Gongola Basin, part of the Upper Benue Trough, signalling the commencement of…

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday flagged-off the spud-in of Kolmani River-II Well in the Gongola Basin, part of the Upper Benue Trough, signalling the commencement of drilling operations and the opening of new vistas for the oil industry in Nigeria.

After series of studies and seismic data gathering activities by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the Gongola Basin area which has shown prospects of oil and gas, all is now set for drilling operations which will confirm the presence and volumes of oil and gas.

President Buhari said since his government came on board in May 2015, a key execution priority of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) was ensuring national energy sufficiency through hydrocarbon resources from other frontier basins.

“It is on this note that I directed the NNPC to aggressively intensify its exploration campaign in the inland basins to discover new hydrocarbon reserves that will boost oil and gas production and extend economic benefits to the people within the North-East and the nation at large,” Buhari said.

He said the event was a promise kept by his administration to the Nigerian people.

“Our next level is to ensure that exploration efforts on all our frontier basins, namely Chad Basin, Gongola, Anambra, Sokoto, Dahomey, and Bida basins and Benue Trough are intensified to usher in prospects for a more prosperous Nigeria.

The Kolmani River-II Well is one of four oil and gas wells that NNPC said are being planned for drilling this year on the Gongola Basin, to further test the prospects identified around Kolmani River-1, Nasara-1 and Kuzari-1.

Shell had in 1999, drilled the first well in the Kolmani Rever-I, but according the Anglo Dutch oil giant the amount of hydrocarbon found was not commercial.

“However, when we read the data, we observed that they did not go deep enough. So, we have come here based on the three dimensional seismic and other subsurface reviews and studies that we have done,”  the Group Managing Director of the NNPC Dr. Maikanti Baru told journalists in an interview at the flag off.

He added, “at the moment, we are looking deep down, we are looking at kilometers below the ground, nobody has gone there.  It is only drilling that would confirm whether there is any resource there and  also confirm our professional judgement which we have. So in terms of volumes, types and all that, let us wait.”

He said the well is designed to be 14,500 feet, deep, and at the moment, NNPC was looking at roughly 60 to 70 days to be able to reach the target depth.

“If we reach 14,500 and we still find some interests from the results and it requires that we need to go deeper, this rig is modern, it can go up to 20,000 feet.

“We have six prospects that we have identified in the Kolmani River Basin and after this is successful we are going to the next location which would be the Kolmani River III, which is just 1.7 to 2.0 kilometres from here”.

Baru said the NNPC will leave no stone unturned in executing the president’s directive of finding more oil and gas.

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