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Still waiting for report on commercial viability of new found oil

…As FG begins hydrocarbon survey in Bida Basin

Whereas Nigerians have continued to wait on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to release the results of its research on the commercial viability of new found oil reserves in Gongola Basin and Benue Trough, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), has commenced radiometric survey of the Bida Basin, Niger State.

President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier directed the NNPC, to extend exploration activities to Chad Basin, Gongola Basin, Anambra Basin, Sokoto Basin, Dahomey Basin, Bida Basin, and Benue Trough to expand revenue base even though cost of curde bearing pipelines and the attendant security implications are not yet factored in.

Recall that celebration erupted midway last two months on the discovery of hydrocarbon bearing substances suspected to be crude oil which encouraged the Corporation to begin another round of checks for their commercial viability.

Industry experts say issues bordering on commercial quantity of crude oil cannot be rocket science but can be ascertained within a short period.

Besides, leading multinational like ExxonMobil had several years back found the same oil but dumped the exploration based on its poor commercial viability.

However, it was not clear if the current Federal Government were given details of ExxonMobil experiences during their oil search period in the north.

Just as the waiting game lasts, only recently, the Director, DPR, Ahmad Shakur, said further hydrocarbon search party has moved to Bida Basin in Niger State.

Explaining the mission of the team before the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, DPR chief averred that the objective of the radiometric survey is to determine the prospect of hydrocarbon in the Bida Basin, adding that the exercise will cover 12 local government areas of the state.

As the searches are taking different confusing dimensions, industry experts have raised issues on the somewhat duplication of roles between the Frontier Exploration Services (FES), Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), as well as DPR and imminent controversies, especially in the inland basins.

In the views of the Chief Executive Officer, Degeconek and a former President of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), Abiodun Adesanya, there is need for synergy of purpose to avoid multiple wastage of tax payers’ money when many parties are doing the same thing.

Experts are of the view that since FES has no production capacity, the argument for most experts, had been in the areas of progressing activities for production, which would require the services of a production company either public or private, as well as bank for data and research documents, which could be used for marketing and research purposes.

Accordingly, Adesanya is of the reasoning that government may have to recalibrate the role of FES in the line of research and development, the NNPC currently has another department, which focuses on this.

Besides, whereas the DPR is empowered by law to control lease administration, regulations and others, industry pundits have queried the level of its involvement in the current activity, especially in data collection, as the repository of all oil and gas data in the country.