Business Hilights
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Just in: Buhari in Ebonyi today, may be shown untapped Edda oil field

There are strong indications that the wastages currently being recorded in the endless search for oil in commercial quantity in parts of the north may end today as President Muhammadu Buhari pays a working visit to Ebonyi State.

It is symbolic because irrespective of the president’s political party, during the visit, he exercises the sovereign authority reposed in him by the constitution. During the visit, the president will meet with the people

The visit affords the President the opportunity to witness, first hand, the state of affairs and the problems of the state. More often than not, he ends up making landmark pronouncements that would not only give confidence to the indigenes of the state but nationals of the country at large.

Observers say today’s visit will afford his age long political ally, and Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu the rare opportunity to personally take Mr. president to the untapped, neglected and unexplored Edda oil field discovered far back since 1928, even before the Oloibiri in Bayelsa State.

Before now, an ironical puzzle that had been hard to solve is why so many parts of the South East where oil had been confirmed in commercial quantity are yet to get federal government’s attention as scare resources are being spent searching for what does not exist in commercial quantity in parts of Benue trough, eastern Yobe in the Chad Basin and Sokoto State.

Business Hilights recent findings show that colonial documents and evidences prove that oil was first found in Ebonyi, Anambra, Enugu states, about 83 years ago, but government refuses to acknowledge this nor explore the natural resource.

Further findings show that Edda oil field was discovered more than 20 years before oil was found in Oloibori, in the Niger Delta, which is prided as the first discovery in the country. According to documentary evidence, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) knows this, but the corporation has not made much efforts to explore the oil ever since.

Visits to Edda community in Ebonyi State revealed that indigenes are praying daily for NNPC to go back to its archives and spot where it documented that their community has oil waiting begging exploration and not begging for ‘search’.

Besides, to the natives of Anam clan in Anambra State, the riverine communities, it’s not news that there is crude oil in their domain. What seems to be news is that government had not given adequate attention to exploring the oil.

Indigenes attest that the Anam oil find became a serious issue in about 2004 when rumours were rife that the Orient Petrochemical Company was to build a petrochemical plant in Otuocha to tap the resource.

That was in the wake of the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s liberalisation of oil refining in the country. Sometime after, nothing was heard, even though it had become public knowledge that the natural gas deposit in Anam could compare favourably with that in the Niger Delta.

Edda Oil Field, Ebonyi State discovered far back in 1928, but was abandoned, thus giving Oloibiri in Bayelsa the credit of first oil well in 1957.

In Enugu State, Awgu community will ever remain salutary to the federal government and the NNPC should they wake up one morning and hear that exploration activities are starting.

Still in Enugu, communities like Isi Uzo, Uzo Uwani and Eha Ndiagu are confirmed of having earth crusts embedded with hydrocarbons underneath.

A startling detail bumped upon in the course of this investigation showed that the ‘Edda oil fields (Ebonyi)’ has a file well documented with indisputable facts of the oil discovery.

The file: No. OG/2003, Subject: Discovery of Oil in Afikpo Division by Mr. L.H. Shelton, then D.O (Divisional Officer of the British colonial government) was deposited at the Archives on January 15, 1956. This period of filing coincides with the second oil find in Edda by Shell BPC at another location. While the first find was in Nguzu, the second was at Ezi Edda.

The oil confirmation landmarks can still be found today around the Orienta Primary School, Ezi-Edda and Etiti Secondary School in present day Ebonyi State.

Our correspondent gathered that a laboratory result on the Edda oil sample from the Imperial Institute, London, gave the following: “The sample, which is the subject matter of this report was sent to the Imperial Institute by the director of geological survey of Nigeria and referred to in his letter 523/51 of 26th October, 1928. Results of examination of the sample, which measured about 650c.c, was contained in two bottles, consisted of reddish-brown thick oil. Free from objectionable odour, containing a little water together with some earthy sediments. The mixed samples gave the following results on examination: Specific gravity of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius) -0.928.

Viscosity-(Redwood), ime of flow of 50cc at 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celcius)…900 seconds.”

The result further noted thus: Flash Point: (Pensky Martens closed test) 113 degrees Celsius. Calorific Value: 10615 calories or 19107 British Thermal Units. Sulphur, S: …0.18 per cent. Distillation by the Engler method gave the following: Only a trace of paraffin wax was present in the sample. The above results show that the sample bears considerable resemblance to the one from Nigeria previously examined here (see imperial Institute report M. 3417 dated July 1928)

It said: “It will be seen that the quantity of low boiling volatile hydrocarbon is very small, hence the flash point is high. Oil of this quality represented by the present sample if freed from sediment and water, could be used as fuel oil as it has satisfactory calorific value and its sulphur content is low.”

The report here shows there were two tests and results from oil obtained from Edda. Both gave results that the sample was of good and high grade crude oil.

Whereas Ebonyi, Anambra and Enugu locals query why government has not done the needful over the years, GMD of NNPC some weeks ago said “We are on target and we are looking at the prospective of the whole basins of the Niger Delta, Chad, Anambra, Benue Trough, Benin, Sokoto and Bida. We are focused on delivering on these basins in line with our mandate.”

He said preliminary exploratory activities had indicated some signs of hydrocarbon in eastern Yobe of the Chad Basin, adding that once the corporation received security clearance, the 3D seismic data acquisition in the area would continue as scheduled.

Baru noted that modern technology would be deployed in the exploration of the Yobe section of the Chad Basin, similar to that deployed in the Borno side of the Chad Basin.