By Anthony Maliki
Nasarawa State is set to join the league of oil producing states in the country, as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said the first oil well in Keana will be drilled in March this year.
Mele Kolo Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Ltd. Gas & Oil Company, disclosed this when Governor Abdullahi Sule led a high-powered delegation on a visit at the corporate headquarters of the company in Abuja, on Friday.
According to the NNPC GCEO, available data has confirmed the presence of hydrocarbon in Nasarawa State, with the company ready to commence drilling the first oil well in Keana by March.
He explained that, once the Keana well proves successful, it has capacity to transform the potentials of the state tremendously.
“We have carried out several exploratory activities in the form of gathering the right data and making the right decisions. We are very convinced at this point in time that very soon Nasarawa State will join the league of states with hydrocarbon presence.
“This is not far away. As a matter of fact, we believed that we will start the first well in Nasarawa State by March and this is to confirm, it’s very typical science, that once we are able to make a success of that well, then the potentials of Nasarawa are beyond what I can explain at this point in time,” Kyari stated.
He however warned that the process needs to be hastened as the world is now moving away from fossil fuel towards renewable energy.
“It’s a work on progress but the opportunity of our life time is in our hands. This also must be done very fast. I must warn that there is something called energy transition.
“Today, the whole world is turning away from fossil fuel, they earlier you go to the market, the better for you. Otherwise, ten years from now, you will not find anyone agreeing to put money into petroleum business, except it comes from your cash flow. Every thing we must do, we must do them now so that we can create the cash flow that will continue to sustain the project going forward,” he added.
Harping on the need for a clement environment to undertake the oil exploration in Keana, the NNPC boss said the company has sufficient experience from the Niger Delta, as well as globally, stressing that his firm is taking adequate steps to avoid them in Gombe, Bauchi, in the Chad Basin, as well as anywhere else that the NNPC is going into exploration activities.
He however said support from communities is necessary.
“Community support is very eminent and must necessary and as we leave this place, we will continue to engage so that those mistakes of the past don’t repeat themselves, so that we can accelerate development in the communities,” Kyari stated.
Corroborating the NNPC GCEO, Minister of State Petroleum, Mr. Timipre Sylva, said the country is willing to produce every available oil in the country, especially at a time when the world is moving away from fossil fuel.
The minister added that, that explained the provision in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), to ensure that there is enough funding to be able to look for oil in new territories.
“The more oil we find, especially in this time when the global community is trying to move away from oil, this is the time to find all the oil that we have in Nigeria. It’s in your interest to produce as much crude as possible take it out of the ground and monetize it as quickly as possible so that even if the world moves on, we would have at least taken advantage of our resources.
“That is what we are about. That is why I will assure you Mr Governor that you can count on this office, in whatever way, to support the production of oil in Keana. We are here on the same page,” the minister added.
He said his Ministry has also adopted the integrated field development because that is the easiest and a remedy for pipeline vandalization.
In his remarks, Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, said Nigeria has so many opportunities and so many areas of great potentials, like the Chad Basin, Benue Trough where Nasarawa State belongs, the Sokoto Basin, Benin Basin and Anambra Basin amongst others.
Engineer Sule used the opportunity of the visit to congratulate the NNPC GCEO, management of the company and Nigeria as a whole, for the adopting the integrated field development in Kolmani oil field, an entirely new innovation that was not available in the country previously.
“I want to appreciate you, because the main purpose of our visit is to congratulate you, the management of NNPC, Nigeria as a whole for what have you have just demonstrated at Kolmani.
“A lot of people do not really understand what you have done but in reality you have come up with an initiative that is not well known to us. For us to have a full integrated field development at Kolmani, it looks very strongly that Nigeria is taking a new dimension, it’s going to be similar to what we see in Saudi Arabia,” the Governor said.
Engineer Sule added that, in addition to congratulating Mele Kyari, the delegation also want to appeal to the NNPC, especially with the Managing Director going to acquire the 3-D seismic for Keana, to look at the aspect of what is happening in Keana, because from the outside potentials of what have been seen so far, presents excellent opportunities.
On his part, the Emir of Lafia, HRH Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad (rtd), who spoke on behalf of the community, said since the founding of Nasarawa State, there was nothing as great as the discovery of oil in Keana.
The royal father expressed aporeciation that oil exploration is taking place in Keana under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has made Nasarawa State his second home.