Abuja — In a bid to harness the full benefits of becoming an oil producing state, Niger State government has applied for two oil blocks.
The state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, who gave the hint yesterday said the state is currently positioning itself and has engaged the services of an international firm, Whitepage International Consultant to guide its programmes.
Accordingly, the state government has created the department of oil and gas within the ministry of mineral resources and as well created two special companies namely Midland PetroGas Resources Limited and Midland Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited to fully participate in exploration and refinery activities on behalf of the sate.
Speaking at the ongoing Nigeria International Petroleum Summit in Abuja, Governor Bello who was represented by the state commissioner for Mineral Resources, Hajiya Rahmatu Mohammed Yar'adua, said the companies were set-up to fast track the quest to join the league of oil producing states in the country.
"These companies will fast-track the activities of the hydrocarbon exploratory research work, spearhead the ease of doing business in the state's oil sector and enhance efficiency in the development of the sector within the shortest possible time", he said.
Noting that the state has applied for two oil blocks, the governor said the state is currently talking with investors to carry out 3D and 4D seismic data analysis on Bida Basin where the presence of hydrocarbon has been established.
He stated: "As a prospective oil and gas producing state, this event provides us unique opportunity to inform you about the investment opportunities we have in this sector.
"It also affords us the rare privilege to learn more about the challenges of oil exploration and the modalities we should adopt to mitigate the challenges of exploration."
On how far the government is involved in actualising the dream of becoming an oil producing state, Bello said, "Niger state has commenced preliminary geological mapping, aeromagnetic surveys and geochemical assessment.
"Consequently, we have concluded research on the environmental baseline studies, geographical information system analysis (GIS) and drilled shallow wells in Makera, Bokani, Kontagora, Enagi and Gulu to confirm the extent of the Kudu Shale. These results have confirmed the presence of hydrocarbon at the basin."
On why the state is vehemently pursuing exploration of oil and gas at a time when the global market is shifting to clear fuel, the governor said, "There is no gainsaying that oil remains the major source of energy in the world.
"It will continue to play this pivotal role in energy use and will maintain this position for some time to come even under the growing optimism about the alternative energy sources."
Commending the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and its parastatals for staging summit, he said, "Indeed, this summit is strategic because it is coming at a time Nigeria is consolidating on her efforts aimed at increasing the contribution of gas to the nation's economy."