Another milestone in the search for oil in northern Nigeria has been achieved with a confirmation of oil and gas deposits in the Bida Basin in Niger State.
The Niger State government had set up a committee on the development of the Bida Basin to determine the commercial viability of the deposits within the inland sedimentary.
The committee headed by Lt. General Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi was set up on October 18, last year, to look at the commercial viability of the deposits.
The committee, said its chairman while submitting its report yesterday to Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu, has been able to confirm the presence of oil and gas in the Basin.
He said that an exploratory test well at Patti-Shaba-Kolo and in two other locations will be carried out to further determine the commercial quantity of the deposits.
General Wushishi advised the government to double effort in the exploration process of the deposits pending the time the federal government deemed it fit to intervene in the process.
He said the committee had floated two companies Midland Refinery and Petro Chemical Company and Midland Petrogas Resources Limited -- to serve as special purpose vehicles for upstream and downstream activities for the state's oil and gas resources development drive.
"Niger State government through the Gubernatorial Committee should take the lead in the formation of Association of Inland Basins Development States with the view to seeking the buy-in of other states within the basin to support the ongoing state drive for search of oil and gas in commercial quantity," he said.
He said that the committee suggested to the government to carry out a feasibility study for the viability of establishment of a petrochemical and refinery plant at Baro on the basis proposed by the committee.
He also praised the governor for his "vision and courage" to commence the process of oil and gas exploration in the state after many years of speculations; and he commended traditional rulers in the state for the support with which the committee has recorded the success so far.
Governor Aliyu, in his response, said the committee would be transformed to a standing committee and therefore directed it to start looking at the possibility of resettling villagers in the affected communities so that the state would not witness the type of crisis that happened in the Niger Delta in the future.
He said the involvement of the National Energy Commission of Nigeria has given the exercise credit beyond mere political economy, while calling on investors to partner with the government for full exploration of the deposits.