The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) is raising crude oil reserves to 50 billion barrels from the current 37 billion as it begins exploring Ebenyi-A oilfield in Nasarawa State.
The Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Ltd, Mele Kyari, who stated this on Tuesday at the spud-in of Ebenyi-A well in Ajibu community of Obi LGA, said more frontier basins are being explored for the additional reserve.
This is coming four months after NNPC flagged off oil production in Kolmani, situated between Bauchi and Gombe.
Kyari said NNPC was also working to raise daily production from about 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) to 3m bpd.
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“We are optimistic that the positive outcome of this campaign will contribute to the national aspiration of increasing our hydrocarbon reserves from the 37 billion barrels to 50 billion barrels in the short and in the medium term, an increase production targets of 3 million barrels per day,” said Kyari.
The NNPC head who also highlighted the prospect of the Nasarawa field said, “Indeed, our findings are very indicative of potential commercial hydrocarbon discovery in this area.”
He said mobilisation for re-entry into the Chad Basin (Borno) has commenced with the directive from Mr President just as other frontiers are being explored.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who joined the ceremony virtually, tasked NNPC Ltd and its partners to be mindful of the environmental consequences of oil exploration.
He said, “Today’s occasion marks the official commencement of exploration drilling activities in the middle Benue Trough. This is consistent with the commercial discoveries of hydrocarbon in the Kolmani area of the Upper Benue Trough.
“I am pleased to note that activities are currently ongoing to develop the Kolmani petroleum discoveries for commercial production to add to the nation’s considerable hydrocarbon assets.
“I am encouraged by the enormous work done by NNPC Limited to exploit the prospects in the middle Benue Trough region to the event today,” Buhari also stated.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, who also represented the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said, “One of the objectives of NUPRC is to grow reserves from 37bn barrels to 40bn by year 2030”, noting that the frontier exploration fund provides for such activities.
Komolafe also said the Ebenyi A field will benefit from the fund being the first in the Benue Trough and that the communities will benefit from the Host Community Fund.
Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, who did the spud-in on behalf of Buhari, said although the Ebenyi-A field activities began in 2010, it was in 2021 that NNPC acquired the 3D seismic data and made the oil find prospects at the site more promising.
He urged the host communities to see the project as their own and support the oil find.
The Emir of Lafia, retired Justice Sidi Bage, lauded the initiative, adding that the people expect to see benefits of the oil find sooner.