THE PRESIDENTIAL FLAG-OFF OF KOLMANI AND CONTROVERSY OF THE FIRST OIL WELL IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

It has been on record, between 1970’s, 1980’s to date, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other multinationals (e.g. Shell, Chevron and Elf) drilled a total of 28 oil exploratory wells in Chad (Bornu) and Upper Benue Trough (The Gongola Basin). However, the oil and gas prospecting was suspended in the past due to several political gimmicks! With the inception of the Buhari administration, the NNPC revisited the prospecting blocks in Chad (Bornu) Basin and Gongola Basin. Modern day technology, especially 3D Seismic Acquisition was employed.

Among the blocks, the KOLMANI AREA was found to be an excellent target. In addition to the first oil exploratory well in KOLMANI (well, Kolmani River – 1) that was drilled by Shell in 2000, from 2015 to date, the NNPC through Frontier Exploration Services has drilled three (3) additional exploratory wells (wells, Kolmani River – II, Kolmani River – III and Kolmani River – IV). Atleast a billion barrel of oil and large volumes of gas were discovered from the exploratory wells.

In addition, the landmass of KOLMANI AREA of Gongola Basin is within Bauchi (Alkaleri LGA) and Gombe (Akko LGA). More so, the structure that trapped the oil and reservoirs beneath the earth (estimated around 3500 meters deep) extends to both Gombe and Bauchi States but, with slight move toward Gombe State.

To make things clear, there is a need to understand the difference between exploratory well and a development well. An EXPLORATORY WELL is an effort to determine if oil or gas reserve are present i.e the probability of success (POS) whilst, DEVELOPMENT WELL is drilled after an area has been proven to hold proven oil or gas reserve and is typically the final phase of the drilling process.

The oil wells that were drilled in the basin are EXPLORATORY WELLS (test wells – widlcats). Now that oil and gas has been discovered in KOLMANI OILFIELD (OPL’s 809 and 810), the blocks had since been handed over to developers (NNDC, SEEPCO, Africa OIL Movers etc) for oil and gas production.

It is obvious, today’s event mark an official flag-off of KOLMANI INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT PROJECT (KIPRO) that comprises of activities of UPSTREAM, MIDSTREAM & DOWNSTREAM industry value-chain. Therefore, the flag-off of first oil well in KOLMANI, should be a DEVELOPMENT WELL and may be the first of its kind in northern Nigeria.

The project (KIPRO), will entails the following:
(1) A Drilling of Development Wells for oil and gas production,
(2) An Oil Refinery around KOLMANI with up to 120,000 barrels per day capacity,
(3) A Gas processing plant of up to 500 million standard cubic feet per day,
(4) A Power Plant of up to 300-megawatt capacity, and
(5) A Fertilizer Plant of 2,500 tons per day

Congratulations, the good people of Bauchi and Gombe States. Prayers and Unity in this struggle is paramount. We hope that the next President of Nigeria will continue with this project up to completion. It will be a game changer in the history of our country.

Dr. Babangida Mohammed SYD,
Petroleum Geologist

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