Oil discovery in the North

Oil discovery in the North: Evidence of commitment by Buhari administration


Oil discovery in the North: Evidence of commitment by Buhari administration 

By Sule Aliyu 


The long awaited dream of oil and gas exploration in the Northern part of the country became a reality on Thursday, October 10, this year, when the drilling crew from Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) working at Kolmani River-II in Gongola Basin at Barambu village in Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi State, encountered hydrocarbon outflow to the wellhead while testing.

Preliminary evidence from the exploration area revealed that the hydrocarbon deposits consist of gas, condensate and light, sweet crude of API gravity between 38 and 41 degrees.

The Triumph reports that on Saturday, February 2 this year, President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off the spud-in of Kolmani River-II Well in Gongola Basin of Upper Benue Trough.

Performing the function, President Buhari avowed that in spite of the diversification of the nation’s economy by his administration as well as the dwindling oil price at the international market, the commodity was still essential to the country’s economic survival.

The activity eventually yielded fruit on October 10. At about 18:02hours, one of the reservoirs of the well was perforated and hydrocarbon started flowing to its head at 21:20hours.

The gas component was then flared to prevent air charge around the rig. The well was drilled with “Ikenga Rig 101” to a depth of 13,701 feet, encountering oil and gas in several levels.

The next step which is the Drill Stem Test (DST) is currently on-going. Oil and gas remain critical to the nation’s economy of today and the future. It remains a key to the successful implementation of the country’s budget at all levels of governance. This will confirm the commercial viability and flow of the reservoir.

However, preliminary reports indicate that the discovery consists of gas, condensate and light sweet oil of the American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity ranging from 38 to 41. Computation of hydrocarbon volume is on-going and the NNPC has said information about the volume would be announced in due course.

The NNPC said it had acquired additional 1,183km2 of 3D seismic data over highly prospective areas of the Gongola Basin intending to evaluate the full hydrocarbon potential of the basin.

The corporation also said it had deployed world-class cutting-edge technologies and would drill additional wells for a full evaluation of the hydrocarbon volume in the Gongola Basin.

President Buhari had once said: “The golden era of high oil prices may not be here now but oil and gas resources still remain the most immediate and practical keys to our aggressive efforts at diversifying the economy.

“As important as it is to ensure that other critical sectors of the economy are supported to grow and contribute more to the nation’s economy, we still need a virile oil and gas industry to take care of the challenges of the moment and to invest for the future.”

The President described the event as remarkable, saying that it represented a promise kept by his administration.

Buhari declared that the next level was to ensure a sustained effort in oil exploration in all the frontier basins in the country, adding that a country with balanced resources distribution was imperative in the quest for industrialization.

He said: “When we came on board in May 2015, we promised to focus on three cardinal areas of security, economy and the fight against corruption.

“We have worked hard to fulfill our promises and have succeeded in laying the foundation for a strong, virile and prosperous Nigeria through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

Oil discovery in the North: Evidence of commitment by Buhari administration


“A key execution priority of the ERGP is ensuring national energy sufficiency and this cannot be achieved through hydrocarbon resources from the conventional basins alone. Therefore, exploration in our frontier basins is a national imperative and a core policy thrust that must be sustained.

“Therefore, it is on this note that I directed the NNPC to aggressively intensify its exploration campaign in the Inland Basins with a view to discovering new hydrocarbon reserves that will boost oil and gas production and extend economic benefits to the people within those basins and the nation at large.

“Today is quite significant to our country. It is not only a reflection of our vision and aspiration for this sector but it is a landmark of a promise kept by this administration to the Nigerian people.

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

“A new Nigeria with balanced resources distribution, diverse economic activities and sustained energy and security as we build the virile and industrialized economy to catch up with the 21st century expectations,” the president stated.

Oil discovery in the North: Evidence of commitment by Buhari administration

In his remarks at the occasion, the immediate past Group Managing

Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru, said the project was evidence of commitment by the Buhari administration to expand the hydrocarbons reserve base of the country.

Baru, however, appealed for patience, noting that oil exploration anywhere in the world required a lot of time.

“It usually takes time for the oil to be discovered. In the Niger Delta Basin, it took over 50 years for explorations to discover crude oil. The Niger Republic drilled over 600 wells and over many years before they discovered crude oil.

“This is coming almost 20 years after Shell Nigeria Exploration and

Production Company abandoned the Kolmani River I Well as it did not find oil and gas in commercial quantity in the area.

“The NNPC noted that in the 1990s, oil exploration in the Gongola Basin, Upper Benue Trough, by the international oil companies led to the finding of 146 feet of hydrocarbon sand in Kolmani River I well prospect estimated to contain 33 billion cubic feet of gas.

“We are also planning massive 2D seismic data acquisition in other parts of the Benue Trough traversing Adamawa, Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue and Taraba States,” Baru explained.

In a related development, Governor Bala Abdulkadir Muhammad of the state has described the discovery of hydrocarbon deposit in the Kolmani River Well II, in the area as a giant stride in unlocking the well documented economic potentialities of the state.

The governor said that the divine discovery would make the state, Northeast and the Northern part of the country to become a net contributor to the nation’s crude oil output.

According to him, the occasion of striking of oil in area by the NNPC stands out as a great moment, not only for the state but for the country as a whole as it is a monumental opportunity for the present generation, children and grandchildren.

The governor also said that for anyone who has followed the unwavering effort of the NNPC in the search for hydrocarbons in the North-East, the discovery marks the victory of hope over pessimism, the triumph of courage over fear and the victory of sacrifice over adversity.

Muhammad, while describing oil as a great catalyst and instrument of development, said that his administration would remain focused on its robust economic recovery plan which revolves around rapid rehabilitation of infrastructure, establishment of an investor-friendly environment, vigorous promotion of agriculture and agro-allied industries through the public-private partnership template, growing IGR and sustained improvement in the supply of skilled manpower based on the vocational education project and partnerships.

He added that for the plans to stand the test of time there is a need to embrace the currents of time and global best practices by diversifying and keying into the digital age in all ramifications.

The governor enjoined people of the state to consider the discovery of oil in the state, as an opportunity to further demonstrate their undiluted belief in the Nigerian project, and to cooperate with both Federal Government officials and representatives of the NNPC and other organizations involved in the historical endeavour.

He assured the management of the NNPC that the government and people of the state will collaborate with the corporation and all agencies involved in the noble enterprise to spare no effort, turn every stone and break every ground until the oil flows through the wells and pipelines into the refineries.

The governor also said that he considers the development as a blessing and a privilege as the epochal development is taking place during his tenure, assuring that he would personally put all necessary supportive mechanisms in place, to fast track the process of exploration and drilling.

Oil discovery in the North: Evidence of commitment by Buhari administration


The governor, who confidently look forward to the discovery of more and richer oil wells by NNPC’s ‘Ikenga’ Drilling Machine expressed confidence that it would make the entire venture commercially viable.

He also acknowledged the sacrifices so far made by those who initiated the project which he said placed the ball in the right position for President Buhari to score the goal.

As mixed reactions have trailed the oil discovery in the north; Senator Salisu

Ibrahim Musa Matori is of the opinion that the benefits of the oil in the Northeast sub-region would no doubt fill the balance of power in the country as increased revenue in the North is likely to witness the accelerated development of the region in all fields of human endeavour.

According to him, billions of Naira that would be coming to the governments of oil producing states will go a long way to drastically alleviating poverty in the region both directly and indirectly.

Many are of the view that the traditional antagonism and hostilities against the region from the South are likely to diminish as the region would be contributing more financially to the national coffers, among other things.

Mustapha Yahuza, is a businessman, who advised that people in areas where the resources have been discovered must be brought along the value chain of the exploration and exploitation of the resources because it is supposed to impact on them. He pleaded with the NNPC to pay compensation to the residents of the affected communities for their land taken for the oil and gas exploration. He noted that only recently some residents were paid between N20, 000 and N30, 000 only as compensation, which, according to him, is too small, urging the government to consider and look into the plight of these people.


One Alhaji Ado Abdullahi, who spoke with The Triumph, said with the oil discovery, it is no longer going to be a Niger Delta issue but also in the North.

“But the question is, we have found oil in the North so what next? Is it just to find oil? What is the quantity of oil found is it something in commercial quantity? Then you now ask, what are we as a nation going to put in place so that we don’t have issues that we have in the Niger Delta because anywhere you have a natural resource, some things happen.

“We have gone through the trauma of having crude oil in the Niger

Delta,” he stated.


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