Again Nigeria Searches for Oil in the North

The federal government through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has intensified efforts towards oil exploration, targeting Chad Basin in Borno and other northern parts of the country. The Economic Confidential gathered that the decision for the exploration which has commenced in Kukawa in Borno State was one of the assurances made by President Goodluck Jonathan to some Northern governors during his campaigns for re-election.


The NNPC through its subsidiary, Integrated Data Services Limited, in collaboration with China National Petroleum Company, had deployed the latest technology in the hydrocarbon business to locate the possible areas where there is sufficient hydrocarbon in the Nigerian portion of the Chad Basin. The Chinese company is said to have found oil on the other side of the basin outside Nigeria.

The corporation is putting finishing touches to a comprehensive framework designed to herald the intensification of exploration activities in the Chad Basin that could build up the nations proven oil reserve through exploration of new frontiers for oil and gas production.

The drive to increase the nation’s crude oil reserve is to look beyond the prolific Niger Delta Basin and extend the search to some other basins with good sedimentation and robust tectonic history.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison- Madueke has also directed the Corporation to leave no stone unturned in its push to strike `black gold’ in the prospective Chad Basin. She admitted that: “Though it is too early to be categorical, there is a possibility that we may find oil in commercial quantity in the Chad Basin because of the discoveries of commercial hydrocarbon deposits in neighboring countries of Chad, Niger and Sudan which have similar structural settings with the Chad Basin. Therefore it is prudent to aggressively explore the Chad Basin for possible hydrocarbon deposits.’’

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Engr. Austen Oniwon was in Borno recently to monitor the progress of work at the NNPC Chad Basin operation where he said further discovery of oil in commercial quantity in the area would bolster the nation’s economy.

Oniwo further assured that the critical assignment would prove to the world that there is commercial hydrocarbon in the Nigeria’s Chad Basin which would attract investors to invest in the petroleum industry of our country.

Already the NNPC New Frontier Exploration Services Division which is leading the charge for crude oil find in the entire Inland Basins is acquiring 3,550 sq km of 3- D seismic data for processing and interpretation in addition to the already acquired 6000km of 2-D data that is currently being reprocessed.

The Economic Confidential magazine was told that over 600,000 seismic section and 30,000 well logs are being scanned and vectorised in good time for the eventual drilling. Before now, 23 wells have been drilled with two of the wells, Wadi-1 and Kinasar encountering non- commercial gas.
Also speaking on the same vein, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs of the NNPC, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, disclosed that the comprehensive hydrocarbon mapping project which would be the first in the over 100 years history of crude oil exploration in the country is designed to guarantee precision and exactitude in the evaluation of data in the course of exploration of the inland basins.

He stated that the NNPC New Frontier Exploration Services Division which is headed by Enr. Olakunle Olaosebikan and leading the charge for crude oil find in the Chad basin and the entire NFISB was working in consultation with a renowned Geophysicist and Consultant to the United Nations, Prof. Deborah Ajakaiye who would be leading a team of Nigerian and foreign Geologists/Geophysicists to undertake the envisaged hydrocarbon mapping.

Ajuonuma said: “The search is not limited to the Chad Basin alone but covers extensive inquest in the entire Nigerian Frontier Sedimentary Basins which includes- The Anambra, Bida, Dahomey, Gongola/Yola and the Sokota Basins alongside the Middle/Lower Benue Trough.”

The NNPC has re-evaluated all the seismic data acquired between 1976 and 2000 when initial exploration commenced and stopped in the Chad Basin. The corporation re-commenced the frontier exploration to map out and delineate all viable areas on behalf of the government and leased out to interested investors.

Discoveries made in neighbouring countries in basins with similar structural settings are: Doba, Doseo and Bongor all in Chad amounts to over 2 Billion barrels (Bbbls); Logone Birni in Southern Chad and Northern Cameroun, over 100 Bbbls; and Termit-Agadem Basin in Niger totals over 1Bbbls.


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