By Adewale Sanyaolu
Barring any last minute change of plan, President Muhammadu Buhari will tomorrow flag off oil exploration activities in Bauchi and Gombe States.
Specifically, the president will conduct the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kolmani Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 809 and 810 at the Kolmani field site located in Bauchi and Gombe states.
Nigeria currently produces far less than its Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) quota of 2.1 million barrels per day due to hostilities and oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
The latest efforts for oil search at the Kolmani River-II Well in the Gongola Basin have been ongoing for some years with geologists optimistic of commercial discoveries in the zone.
This was even as industry observers lauded the political will of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to intensify search for hydrocarbon resources in the region amidst stiff opposition from various stakeholders. ‘‘The flag off of oil drilling in Kolmani River-11 further lays credence that the NNPCL was right afterall in its sustained search for oil in this region. We are happy with with development and wish to congratulate Mr. President and his team,’’ said some industry observers.
In July 2019, during an inspection tour of the ongoing drilling operations at the Kolmani River-II Well drilling site in Bauchi and Gombe States, along with his successor, Mr Mele Kyari, late Dr. Maikanti Baru, the then Group Managing Director of NNPC, said he could not wait for President Muhammadu Buhari to light the first flame at the area, signifying a potential discovery of hydrocarbons.
He said: “With the level of commitment and dedication I have seen on the part of the exploration team, I cannot wait for Mr. President to light the first flame at the area.”
Commenting on the development, Managing Director of Contrac International Services, an oil survey firm Mr. Jude Elochukwu, said the move by Buhari, will translate to economic prosperity for the country, saying the commencement of oil drilling in Kolmani River-11, would bring a new dawn for the oil and gas industry.
He said the hope for increased oil production can now be renewed as Nigeria’s oil production was nearly at its knees due to massive oil theft in the Niger Delta region. Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer of Synergy Oil Drilling Services Limited, Mr.Ademola Oladiti, gave kudos to NNPCL, Ministry of Petroleum and other Government agencies for sustaining the search.
He said fresh oil discovery in other parts of the country was long overdue because of the security challenges in the Niger Delta.