Buhari Flags-off First Oil Well Drilling Up North

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*attracts $3.7 billion investment to oil/gas sector

By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi

President Muhammadu Buhari  on Tuesday November 22, 2022, made history when he flagged-off the drilling of crude oil from the Kolmani River 11 at Barambu Village in Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi State, signaling the first oil well to be drilled in Northern Nigeria.

The oil prospecting lease (OPL) 809 and 810 at the Kolmani oil site in the Gongola Basin of the Benue Trough, straddling Bauchi and Gombe states, thus putting them into the 10th and 11th member oil producing states in the country.

The Kolmani Integrated Development Project phase 1 is expected to entail an in-situ Refinery of up to 120, 000 barrel per day (bpd) capacity, a gas processing plant of up to 500 million standard cubic feet per day, a Power Plant of up to 300 Megawatts capacity and a Fertilizer Plant of 2,500 tons per day, as well as high potentials for oil and gas

Flagging-off the drilling of the Kolmani river 11 at the Barambu oil field Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari said that it’s a credit to his administration that at a time when there is near zero appetite for investment in fossil energy, coupled with the location challenges, the FG was able to attract investment of over USD 3 billion to this project.

While commending NNPCL and her partners for the successful discovery of Oil and Gas in the Kolmani River Field, the President stated that the huge investment the project had attracted would surely be a reference subject for discussion in the industry as the FG pursue the just energy transition programme that will culminate in the country achieving Net- Zero position by the year 2060.

He noted the huge benefits the project would bring to the country including “but not limited to Energy Security, Financial Security as well as overall socio-economic development of the country,” President Buhari affirmed that his administration’s charge to NNPCL to explore other Oil and Gas fields beyond the Niger Delta Basins has finally yielded commendable results.

“This is indeed significant considering that, efforts to find commercial oil and gas outside the established Niger Delta Basin was attempted for many years without the desired outcomes.

“However, the successful discovery of the Kolmani Oil and Gas field by NNPC and her partners has finally broken the jinx by the confirmation of huge commercial deposits of hydrocarbons in Kolmani River field.

“This discovery had emanated from our charge to the NNPC to re-strategize and expand its oil and gas exploration footprints to the frontier basins of Anambra, Dahomey, Sokoto, Benue trough, Chad and Bida Basins. Similar activities across the other basins are currently actively ongoing.

“We are pleased with the current discovery of over 1 billion barrels of oil reserves and 500 billion Cubic Feet of Gas within the Kolmani area and the huge potential for more deposits as we intensify exploration efforts.”

President Buhari while looking forward to the successful delivery of the Kolmani project which he called “another vital pillar in the country’s economic architecture”, urged NNPCL and partners to work with all stakeholders for a smooth execution of the project.

The President recalled that the discovery of Kolmani River 11 emanated from his charge to the NNPC to re-strategize and expand its oil and gas exploration footprints to the frontiers Benue Trough and Chad Basin including Anambra, Dahomey, Sokoto and Bida.

Welcoming the President earlier, Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed observed that the Kolmani Integrated Development Project is one of the most important legacies of President Buhari administration which would not only assist the country in generating more revenue, but also create jobs, fight poverty, and promote sustainable and environmentally friendly development.

“NNPC is already walking the talk of the President new motto of “Energy for Today, Energy for Tomorrow”, and called on the Corporation to continue to lead the way for continuous exploration. discovery, and similar projects for the socio-economic development of the country, and to ensure energy security and alleviate energy poverty.

Governor Bala described the NNPC as the bastion of Energy Security and harbingers of great tidings to the people of Bauchi state, saying the Kolmani Integrated Development Project promises to ameliorate the economic conditions of the people of the state and by extension the whole country.

“The experiences we have had from the Niger Delta and other communities show the importance of collaboration, community engagement, environmental protection, mutual respect, and fairness in preventing conflict and violence that are often associated with exploration of mineral resources”, he said.

The Governor therefore assured that the two states of Bauchi and Gombe would put in place mechanisms that will prevent the repeat of some of the past mistakes, despite that oil and gas exploration falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Government, they would provide the needed support.

He then noted with delight that the entire people of Bauchi are going to ensure the project turns out to be a success story, and invited wealthy individuals and corporate entities to invest in the state not just in oil and gas but also in other sectors of the economy, saying Bauchi is blessed with arable land for agriculture and mineral resources.

Also speaking, the other Kolmani project host Governor of Gombe state, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya noted that the project signaled the real development of oil and gas sector in Northern Nigeria, and paid special tribute to President Buhari whose renewed vision and commitment made the day’s event possible.

According to the governor, President Buhari as federal commissioner of petroleum in the military era, he played a prominent role in the development of the oil sector especially in the area of exploration, exploitation and building of refineries in order to boost domestic production and improve value chains optimization.

Yahaya recalled, “More than four decades later as President and Minister of Petroleum of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the petroleum industry base was passed under your leadership after languishing in the National Assembly for thirteen good years”.

Governor Yahaya told the President, “As onetime military governor, your interest in the development of Northeast sub-region is indisputable. This is clear in your commitment towards the security and stability of the sub-region using both chaotic and non-chaotic approaches. Under your leadership, the forces of terror are being defeated and normalcy is returning to our communities”.

Yahaya expressed the believe that the only panacea to resource conflict and instability is to empower local communities to benefit massively from the exploration activities in order to faster a spirit of collective ownership and shared responsibilities.

The occasion was witnessed by top government functionaries, politicians and traditional rulers that included President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, SGF Boss Mustapha, Governors of Borno, Kebbi, Jigawa, Yobe, Nasarawa Deputy Governor, Northern Governors Forum Chairman Lalong, Kogi SSG, APC National Chairman and the party’s presidential candidate and his running mate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Dr. Kassim Shettima.    

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