Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum noted that oil prospecting and exploration in Borno will create job opportunities for young people
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd on Tuesday commenced an oil drilling campaign at the Wadi-B well located in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State.
The Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, Mele Kyari, said the company was optimistic that the drilling exercise would help in its efforts to bring prosperity to the people by eliminating energy poverty which is threatening Africa's biggest economy.
Mr Kyari made the commitment at the Presidential Flag-off of the Wadi-B Drilling Campaign by President Muhammadu Buhari in Borno State.
The NNPC stopped drilling in Wadi-B in 1995 because successes were weak and findings made during the period were not in commercial quantity.
The fresh drilling is part of the scramble for oil and gas deposits in Nigeria's frontier basins.
"We understood very clearly that we need to understand the basin very well. We need to have a different approach to exploration activities in this very basin, and that is why NNPC and our partners, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the current Upstream Regulatory Commission, decided to embark on massive revaluation of all the frontier basins in the country," Mr Kyari said at the event.
"And of course, our findings have been useful. The understanding of the rift system in Nigeria enables us to have successful outcomes in the Kolmani Area. It also enabled us to mobilise to Nasarawa State. Now a drilling activity is going on. It also helped us to understand the geological basin of the Chad Basin, which is why we are back here.
"Now we are much more confident, we believe that this campaign will be successful and that this campaign will take us to the ultimate objective, which is to increase the reserves of our country and also create opportunities around us. We believe the time for oil and gas to vanish is still far away.
"We believe that oil and gas will continue to be principal in determination of the prosperity of our country of course, more especially, providing energy security for our country. And this can't happen unless we have access to the resources and we are able to convert them into value and of course, a new approach to doing this that is practical, which is what we are doing in the Kolmani area."
The GCEO said the company and its partners would deploy the necessary technology and best approach that will enable it to create value for Nigerians in the quickest possible time.
According to Mr Kyari, NNPC Ltd, through the drilling exercise, would combat deforestation as most Nigerians who do not have access to cooking gas fell trees as an alternative for cooking.
He believes that making available cooking gas as a cleaner transition fuel would play a huge role in curbing desert encroachment in the country.
"The Sahara Desert moves at least a kilometre towards the Southwards area, and this can't be arrested if we dint find alternative sources of energy for the communities, and this is what the oil and gas will do," he said.
"These are activities going on concurrently to produce new oil, to produce new reserves, and ultimately at the end of the day, we will find out that prosperity will come closer to the people and create the energy security that is required around the country."
Mr Kyari also expressed confidence in the team assembled by the NNPC Ltd.
He said: "They have done well. They have found oil where others practically ran away, and today, they led this regime of the knowledge of the basins in our country and of course, in Africa. I am very proud of them."
In his speech, Gbenga Komolafe, who heads the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), said that a key regulatory focus of the commission is to grow Nigeria's national reserves from the current 37 billion barrels of oil to 40 billion barrels of oil by 2030.
The official added that the outcome of this appraisal would significantly contribute to growth in the nation's oil reserves and facilitate sustainable domestic energy security.
"Considering the positive prospectivity results recorded so far, in OPL 732 from previous exploratory activities, we are optimistic that through this appraisal drilling the huge case prospective hydrocarbon resource estimated at about 9403 million barrels of oil, initial oil in place will be matured and migrated into proven reserves," Mr Komolafe said.
On his part, Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno, noted that the commencement of oil drilling in the region is the right step in creating more job opportunities in the state.
"Oil prospecting, possible discovery and exploration in this part of the country, and exploration in this part of the country will no doubt create opportunities for thousands of our youth," the governor said.
The Wadi-B wells are located in Jere LGA of Borno State, about 50 kilometres away from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
The wells are estimated to have a total depth of 14 thousand feet.