‘How new technologies aided exploration of sedimentary basins’
• Avoid N’Delta situation in dealing with North East discovery, stakeholders tell FG
With oil majors and state-owned exploring new measures for exploration to reduce production costs, stakeholders in the oil and gas industry have attributed the discovery in the Gongola basin to the adoption of new technologies.
The Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), had earlier in the year noted that there are six sedimentary basins yet to be explored in the country.
The stakeholders further urged the Federal Government to deploy new technologies to further reduce production costs in order to break even when oil prices drop significantly.With the announcement of oil and gas discovery in Gongola Basin, stakeholders have reiterated the need for the Federal Government to learn from the experience of the Niger Delta region in ensuring that the entire country is not embroiled in environmental and other germane challenges going on in oil producing communities.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), last Friday said crude oil and gas have been discovered in the Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin, where exploration activities started earlier in the year.
The industry players also expressed concerns about insecurity challenges in the region, especially its implications on attracting investors into the region.President of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), Ajibola Oyebamiji said with emerging new technologies, we are able to discover oil where we previously thought there was nothing and we should remember that exploration activities started in all these sedimentary basins a long time ago before we went to Niger Delta; now we are back to the basin.
“It is a good thing which is being championed by the NNPC and it is highly commendable under the current leadership of the President to give them the required support using available technologies. From what I know, there is a combination of new technologies that helped them with the discovery.
“Remember that SNEPCO was the first to drill the Kolmani river 1 in this basin. What we found was insignificant, but there have been improvements in new data which we are going to be talking about at the NAPE conference and you know discovery is all about data, improving on existing data, acquiring new data, using new ideas to find oil in those places we never thought existed, so it is really good for the industry”, he added.
President, Nigeria Association for Energy Economics, Prof Yinka Omorogbe, who expressed optimism about the development decried the possible impacts of insecurity in the region.Omorogbe, who is also the Edo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, said: “The more discoveries the better, but it will still take at least a decade for the discovery to translate into oil revenues for the area. We need to remember that places with security challenges are unlikely to be attractive investment destinations.”
Team Lead (Research and Policy) Nextier SPD, Dr Ndubisi Nwokolo, who noted that while Bauchi and Gombe states are relatively peaceful more than other states in the North East like Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Taraba, the issue of kidnapping has been experienced and this can be a major security threat to the development.
“I do not foresee the spill over of the Insurgency in Borno for example into Bauchi. I believe that if there are commercial quantity discoveries, investors will still compete to be part it,” he said.
Technical Adviser to Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dauda Garuba noted that the discovery would create a win-win situation for Nigeria, the states in question, companies that would work there and the people of the area.Speaking on other implications, he said the development would lead to an expansion of the sources of revenue for these four stakeholders.
Garuba however foresee environmental impacts and lack of benefits to local communities, especially if the country adopts the same approach it has used in drilling for oil and gas in the Niger Delta.Similarly, Adeola Adenikinju has asked the government to be strategic on the future of oil, stressing that while crude oil would remain in use for a long time, its relevance would continue to diminish, and subject to significant price volatility.
According to him, oil producers would also have to compete in the international oil market as the market remains liquid in the face of global economic growth slow down, trade wars, and rise of America as net oil exporter.
“Better strategy for Nigeria is to take seriously the current and future developments in the energy market which is showing that the dominance of oil in global oil market would continue to wane. Hence, we should not wait until the very end before preparing for the transition. Less focus on oil exports for revenue generation to promoting local transformation and use to boost domestic economy is in my view the right approach,” Adenikinju stated.
The cost of oil exploration is usually high, especially at the beginning. To reduce the unit cost, economies of scale must come in. For the oil exploration, a lot depends on the oil reserves as discovered. If paltry, then not much benefits would accrue to Nigeria. But if the volume of reserves is right, the cost would go down with time. Regarding the Niger Delta, there is need for continued efforts in addressing, infrastructural, security and community related issues to sustain volumes and earnings and expand the scope of exploration.
A former President/Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Prof Segun Ajibola urged the country to explore other resources such as nitumen, a derivative of oil since the country is regarded as the second largest deposit of bitumen, required for road construction.
According to him, Nigeria must be watchful as other sources of energy are threatening the vantage position of oil.“Solar, fossil, wind, gas, etc now provide alternative sources. Nigeria should start preparing for what her economy will look like, post oil. In any case, it should be remembered that oil is a waste asset (exhaustible),” Ajibola noted.
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