OIL EXPLORATION IN THE NORTH PART OF NIGERIA: 23 wells drilled, 21 full of prospects

·     33, 500 sq km seismic data to be acquired
·     N27 billion, $340 million spent
·     British firm joins the search
The quest for oil in the Lake Chad Basin area of Northern Nigeria is alive and well.

And the prospects seem quite bright indeed, from emerging data seen by our re­porter.

The emerging facts indicate that a total of 23 oil wells have already been drilled by pros­pecting oil companies that have engaged in oil exploration in the North in the past 30 years.
While 21 of these wells are said to hold some prospects of oil in commercial quantity, only two of the wells reportedly hit a dry run.

Our findings indicate that the search for oil in the North has, so far, gulped a whopping sum of about N27 billion and $340 million respectively.

The Nigerian National Pe­troleum Corporation (NNPC) is reportedly gearing up to pump more money into the quest – in compliance with the recent Presidential directive to resume oil exploration in the North.

A recent document pre­pared by the NNPC, dated Oc­tober 7, 2016 and marked “up-date” on the oil exploration activities in the Lake Chad Ba­sin, seen by The AUTHORITY, also revealed that 33,550 sq km of 3-D seismic data would soon be acquired for processing, in an effort to get a clearer picture of oil reserves in the area.

The drills and finds are from the oil bloc 809, which is being held by the Nigerian Na­tional Development Company (NNDC) a subsidiary of NNPC, vested with the duties of explo­ration and investment.

But the tone of the report shows that the prospects of oil in the North are still mere po­tentials and remain in the realm of possibilities, despite the huge investments made so far.
The document states: “Though it is too early to be categorical, there is a possibility that we may find oil in commer­cial quantity in the Chad Basin because of deposits in neigh­bouring countries of Chad, Ni­ger and Sudan which have sim­ilar structural settings with the Chad Basin. Therefore it is pru­dent to aggressively explore the Chad Basin for possible depos­its.”

The report also said that dis­coveries made in neighbouring countries in basins with similar structural settings like Dabo, Daseo and Bongar in Chad amount to a reserve of over two billion barrels reserve.

Other areas, according to the report, are Longone, Birni in Southern Chad and North­ern Cameroun where over one billion barrels holding reserve exists; and Termit-Agadam Ba­sin in Niger Republic which also holds a reserve of over one bil­lion barrels.

“Already, the NNPC New Frontier Exploration Services Division which is leading the charge for crude oil finds in the entire Inland Basins is acquir­ing 3,550 sq km of 3-D seismic data for processing and inter­pretation in addition to the al­ready acquired 6,000 km of 2-D data that is currently being pro­cessed”, the report said.

The document further said that “currently over 600,000 seismic section and 30,000 wells log are being scanned and rec­torised (sic) in good time for the eventual drilling”.

The report pointed out that before now, “23 wells have been drilled with two of the wells, Wadi-1 and Kinsar, encounter­ing non-commercial gas.”

It revealed that the search is not limited to Chad Basin alone but covers other parts of the country. “The search is not limited to the Chad Basin alone but covers extensive inquest in the entire Nigerian Frontier Sed­imentary; Anambra, Bida, Da­homey, Gongola/Yola and the Sokoto Basins alongside the Middle/Lower Benue Trough”, the report said.

The University of Maidu­guri was awarded the contract to conduct the environmental baseline studies/impact assess­ment for the Chad Basin project “as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility to the host com­munity and because of its prox­imity to the operational area”, it said.

The AUTHORITY also learnt that a British firm was appointed by the 19 Northern governors through the North­ern Nigeria Development Cor­poration (NNDC) to also car­ry out exploration activities for oil and gas in Lake Chad region and Benue Trough so as to fast-track the process and diminish the accusation by the oil rich Delta region that the North has nothing to contribute to the na­tion’s economy.

This was confirmed recent­ly by Mallam Bashir Dalhatu, the Chairman of NNDC, who was quoted to have said in Kat­sina State after a meeting with the governor that “We have en­gaged a British Company that is already working in the Lake Chad region and from Niger and Chad side in the same area with us and we have been meet­ing with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in order to put efforts together.”

But a Geologist based in Port Harcourt, who spoke with our reporter on phone and re­quested anonymity, said that the quest for oil in the North is “a fruitless engagement” that will just drain Nigeria’s scarce re­source at this time of recession because they would find noth­ing of commercial interest in the area.

“I can tell you that they just want to waste our money there because major multi-national oil companies have been there earli­er, invested huge sums of money to explore oil in the Chad Basin and later left when they discov­ered that it amounts to efforts in futility. But the NNPC had been compelled for a long time now to continue to search and it has become an endless search with­out success. But if the President insists that they should contin­ue, I wish them luck.”


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