19 July 2017

Nigeria: NNPC, Halliburton Partner On Oil Search in Chad Basin

In a renewed effort to raise the country's oil reserves and production, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has entered into partnership with Halliburton , a global service providing company in the oil and gas sector, to realise its search for oil in the Chad Basin.

The NNPC has also assured that the search for crude oil in Chad Basin will soon yield the needed result as the precise point which hydrocarbon can be extracted in commercial quantity will be discovered in the next 12 months.

This is coming on the heels of a collaboration agreement that the search for crude oil in Chad Basin will soon yield the needed result as the precise point which hydrocarbon can be extracted in commercial quantity will be discovered in the next 12 months.

This is coming on the heels of a collaboration agreement between the research and development (R&D) division of the Corporation and Halliburton to deploy latest drilling technology, NEFTEX Solution, in a bid to hasten the discovery of the precise area where huge crude oil of commercial value is located.

The Group General Manager, R&D Division of NNPC, Dr. Bola Afolabi, said with the use of the new technology, the quest for extraction of crude oil in the Chad Basin will be over within the next one year.

Speaking on how the R&D division has aided the bid to increase the nation's oil reserves with specific reference to the Chad Basin, Afolabi said, "Specifically for the Chad Basin, our role is really significant because you will recall that they have been drilling in that place for quite sometime now, trying to find oil in large quantity and in volumes that can be exportable".

According to him, the issue at stake is not whether there is oil reserve in the Chad Basin but how to identify the location where the volume is high for commercial purpose. "Yes, we do find oil; we know that there is oil there but what is the commercial quantity we are looking for", he added.

Describing the role of the R&D division as an enabler, he stated that the division is currently conducting research which can help the frontline operators to pin-point the exact position where they can find oil in large quantity.

Afolabi said, "We are doing that at the moment, we are carrying out lots of studies. You know the industry is such that studies upon studies are carried out- different types of studies to provide different types of results that will enable you pin-point exactly where you are going.

"At the moment, we have just entered into a very nice joint venture, which we can call a collaborative agreement with Halliburton, which is a noted international organization in the oil and gas service sector to use one of their technologies referred to as NEFTEX Solution.

"This technology enables you to pin-point almost the exact position where you can drill and strike oil in commercial quantity. It is going to take us about 18 months to finish this project".

On when the stakeholders should expect the result of the research, he said, "Our intention is that by the turn of the year, by this time next year, we will be able to put something on the ground that will help our frontier Basin colleagues to pin-point the exact location where they can drill and find oil in commercial quantity".

He, however, lamented that the division is constrained by funds, stressing that the research industry is a highly capital intensive as well as technologically intensive.

He added that because they work in a budget constrained environment, it is sometimes difficult to source for funds when the need arises.

Speaking on what it takes to conduct a meaningful research, he said, "You need to set-up structures, set-up technology and then you need to fund these things. As we are in an annual budgetary funding environment, there are things we didn't foresee in the year that comes on our plate. So, we have to look at ways to find funding within the business".

Earlier this year, the chief operating officer (COO) of Ventures, the subsidiary under which the R&D division functions, Dr. Babatunde Adeniran, had announced the establishment of contacts with some Chinese investors to partner in R&D division as a way of seeking fortune in non-core oil sector to stay afloat amidst volatility in crude oil prices in the international market.

Disclosing the development at the 10th edition of the annual sub-saharan Africa oil and gas conference in Houston, Texas, Adeniran stated that response from the Chinese prospects had been favourable.

He explained that the Chinese were being invited to partner with NNPC in Research and Development, adding that NNPC had also flung its dragnet wide open to let in American investors too.

He said there had been low investment in Industry R & D in sub-saharan Africa, necessitating NNPC's commitment to key in in order to maximize available opportunity in the subsector.

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