Un­cer­tainty, hope trail oil search in North-east

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Daniel Adugbo

Crude oil search in the Lake Chad area of North-east Nige­ria suf­fered an­other ma­jor blow re­cently but ge­ol­o­gists are op­ti­mistic that the set­back is just tem­po­rary, our re­porter writes. Prospect­ing Li­censes mil­i­tary au­thor­i­ties, (OPL) granted by the guar­an­tee­ing the safety fed­eral gov­ern­ment of its per­son­nel and around com­mu­ni­ties in op­er­a­tions. Gu­bio LGA, Kukawa LGA, “Cer­tainly, we will Abadam LGA all in Borno not go back un­less State. But the project they give us clear­ance; could not pro­ceed in just like we did not go Novem­ber 2014, be­cause in be­fore they gave us in­sur­gency forced them clear­ance. Pro­vided they to close down op­er­a­tions. are suf­fi­cient se­cu­rity

Specif­i­cally, on the clear­ance, I don’t see why 25th of Novem­ber, we would not con­tinue 2014 be­fore the 2015 to push,” he said. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Ex­perts say the Phase 08 of the JV sus­pen­sion of 109 op­er­a­tions were ex­plo­ration in the Lake sus­pended fol­low­ing Chad no doubt will se­cu­rity re­port on slow down the coun­try’s im­pend­ing in­sur­gency ef­forts to ex­pand the at­tacks on Gu­bio town. fron­tiers of its basins.

Per­son­nel and Renowned pro­fes­sor equip­ment were of ge­ol­ogy and Vice evac­u­ated to Maiduguri Pres­i­dent of Nige­rian while the crew and Acad­emy of Science, work­ers were di­rected to Mosto On­uoha said it leave un­til the sit­u­a­tion was sad that the in­ci­dent nor­mal­ized. hap­pened at a time

Ac­cord­ing to the coun­try has found sources, an­other ma­jor the more prospec­tive prob­lem that af­fected sec­tions of the basin. seis­mic ac­tiv­i­ties, was “But I be­lieve it is a deal­ing with is­sues tem­po­rary set­back,” of com­pen­sa­tion for Mosto who is also the farm­ers or com­mu­ni­ties PTDF Chair of Petroleum for un­avoid­able dam­ages Ge­ol­ogy at the Univer­sity to their farm­lands in the of Nige­ria Nsukka said. cause of clear­ing through “It is not re­ally seis­mic lines. It was also a set­back be­cause learnt that lead­er­ship we are still far from and boundary is­sues get­ting oil from there. in some com­mu­ni­ties So, it is not go­ing to be­fore the JV 109 af­fect our rev­enue op­er­a­tions com­menced to­day or­to­mor­row,” ig­nited con­cerns on the he added, re­fer­ring to progress of the work the im­pli­ca­tion of the on site. These is­sues sus­pen­sion on Nige­ria’s prompted a meet­ing oil ex­port. of the Man­age­ment of Mosto said, “This IDSL/BGP/CNPC JV 109 mat­ter will soon go away and com­mu­ni­ties in and once the se­cu­rity Gu­bio LGA in 2014 where agen­cies give clear­ance, an MOU was signed. we will just move on. No­body can say how soon though.”

Also com­ment­ing, a re­search pro­fes­sor with the Cen­tre for En­ergy Re­search and Train­ing, Ah­madu Bello Univer­sity Zaria, Prof. B.B Muham­mad Dewu said that the at­tack was un­for­tu­nate devel­op­ment now that the coun­try is mak­ing ef­fort to boost its re­serves.

“But it is some­thing we will get over. It should not de­ter the gov­ern­ment, it is some­thing that has to con­tinue,” he said

The Vice-Chan­cel­lor, Univer­sity of Maiduguri, Prof. Ibrahim Njodi has also firmly de­clared the univer­sity’s re­solve not to ‘’Chicken out’’ from the ven­ture de­scrib­ing the at­tack as a nec­es­sary sac­ri­fice for the devel­op­ment of the coun­try.

The quest to strike oil in com­mer­cial quan­tity in the Lake Chad area of North­east Nige­ria re­cently suf­fered a ma­jor blow fol­low­ing the at­tack on work­ers ex­plor­ing for oil in the area.

The at­tack, which led to the death of at least 48 peo­ple, came less than one year af­ter Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari di­rected the NNPC to re­sume ex­plo­ration ac­tiv­i­ties in the in­land basins, par­tic­u­larly the Chad Basin and the Benue Trough.

A past of set­backs

Pre­vi­ous search for oil in the Lake Chad area in North-east Nige­ria had suf­fered stop­pages due to the volatile se­cu­rity in the re­gion.

The lat­est at­tack came de­spite the ad­e­quate se­cu­rity clear­ance ob­tained from the mil­i­tary au­thor­i­ties be­fore ex­plo­ration work re­sumed. The day of the at­tack was sup­posed to be last day of the op­er­a­tion by the team.

Be­fore the re­newed search be­gan, seis­mic data gath­er­ing op­er­a­tions for the project in the Chad Basin which started in 2010 was sus­pended in 2014 at the heat of the in­sur­gency in the re­gion.

Sources in­volved in the project told Daily Trust that NNPC of­fi­cials and ex­ter­nal con­sul­tants for the project had stayed away from site since 2014 to await se­cu­rity clear­ance from the mil­i­tary that was handed a De­cem­ber 2015 pres­i­den­tial dead­line flush out Boko Haram.

The In­te­grated Data Ser­vices Lim­ited (a sub­sidiary of the NNPC) had en­tered into a joint ven­ture with the Bureau for Geo­phys­i­cal Prospect­ing (a sub­sidiary of China Na­tional Petroleum Cor­po­ra­tion CNPC) for the Chad Basin 3D-Prospect, also known as JV 109 to ac­quire the 3D data for NNPC.

Project doc­u­ments seen by our re­porter showed that the Seis­mic Data ac­qui­si­tion was to be done for the Na­tional Petroleum In­vest­ment Man­age­ment Ser­vices (NAPIMS) on be­half of the NNPC in ac­cor­dance with the terms of the Oil

No go­ing back

The lat­est halt on oil search in the re­gion af­ter the am­bush on work­ers ex­plor­ing for oil has fur­ther cast more veil of un­cer­tainty on even ex­plo­ration at other in­land sed­i­men­tary basins.

Group Gen­eral Man­ager, Fron­tier Ex­plo­ration Ser­vices (FES) of the NNPC Dr Mazadu D. Bako had told Daily Trust in March 2017 that the cor­po­ra­tion’s plan was to com­mence drilling for oil this Au­gust. It is now very un­clear if this will still take place.

Min­is­ter of State for Petroleum Re­sources Mr Ibe Kachikwu, while giv­ing an up­date on the mat­ter said that NNPC would only re­sume the search if it got suf­fi­cient as­sur­ance and se­cu­rity clear­ance from the

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