Oil: FG Comes Under Pressure to Commence Commercial Drilling in Gongola Basin
By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja
Union of Nigerian local government administrations of two states in Nigeria’s north east, Bauchi and Gombe, have called on the Nigerian federal administration to commence without further delay, oil and gas exploration in the the North East region.
Two years ago, the NNPC announced the discovery of hydrocarbon deposits in the Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin, in the North-Eastern part of the Nigeria. Recall that drilling of the Kolmani River II Well had been inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on February 2, 2019.
NNPC had said that the Corporation (as it was then) acquired 435.54km2 of 3D Seismic Data over Kolmani Prospect in the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin in particular and the entire Gongola basin generally.
The call to the federal government to commence exploration was made by the chairman, Association of Local Government in Nigeria (ALGON) in Bauchi State, Yusuf Garba Alkaleri and Gombe state chapter counterpart, his Barrister Abdulahi Mohammed Inuwa.
In separate interviews with journalists in Bauchi last Monday, the move will naturally complete the effort made in discovering the oil in the zone two years ago, and list the two states among oil producing states in Nigeria.
The Bauchi ALGON chairman, who is also the chairman of Alkaleri local government area of the state, said that exploration for oil and gas in the state would boost economic activities and create jobs for the states in the north-east zone.
“With the discovery of oil and gas in Bauchi State and in the whole of Gongola Basin, we are grateful to God and to President Muhammadu Buhari and Bauchi State governor for their support to ensure the discovery of oil in our areas.
“We seek to get the support of the federal government so that pressure will be mounted on the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to see to the fact that the exploration of the oil and gas deposit that is available in Bauchi and in fact, the wider Gongola Basin is encouraged so that economic activities will be triggered, our people will have jobs and Bauchi will join the league of oil producing states,” the Yusuf said.
“We need to start selling the oil to boost economic activities and create more employment opportunities for our youths,” the local government boss said.
He then commended the NNPC for the payment of compensation to the people whose farms and plots of land were affected during search for oil blocks in the area.
Barrister Inuwa, on his part, informed that three oil blocks were discovered in the area and called for acceleration of production in the area in order to boost its economic activities.
“Three oil blocks were discovered in the area. We need President Buhari and the Federal Government to build even small modular refineries and start digging the oil in the market in order to boost economic activities,” he said.
Inuwa, however, appealed to the NNPC to pay compensation to farms and land owners affected by exploration activities in Gombe state, informing that some farmlands with the crops planted on them were destroyed by heavy duty vehicles used during the search in the area.