The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has said Nasarawa State is expected to join the league of oil-producing states in the country, as it would commence its first oil well drilling in March this year.
Mele Kyari, group Chief Executive Officer, NNPCL said that the official spud-in of the first oil well in Nasarawa State will commence in March 2023.
According to Kyari, this is in continuation of hydrocarbon exploration activities in Nigeria’s inland basins.
The NNPC’s boss disclosed this while receiving in the audience a delegation of prominent Nasarawa State indigenes led by the governor of the state, Engr Abdullahi Sule at the NNPC Towers, Abuja on Friday.
Kyari said that available data has confirmed the presence of hydrocarbons in Nasarawa State, with the company ready to commence drilling the first oil well in Keana Local Government Area of the State by March.
He explained that, once the Keana well proves successful, it could transform the potential of the state tremendously.
“We have carried out several exploratory activities in the form of gathering the right data and making the right decisions. We are very convinced at this point that very soon, Nasarawa State will join the league of states with a hydrocarbon presence”. he said.
“This is not far away. We believed that we will start the first well in the state by March and this is to confirm, it’s very typical science, that once we can make a success of that well, then the potentials of the state are beyond what I can explain at this point.”
He, however, warned that the process needs to be hastened as the world is now moving away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy.
According to Kyari, it is a work in progress, but the opportunity of our lifetime is in our hands. This also must be done very fast.
Kyari warned that, there is something called energy transition.
He further said that the whole world is turning away from fossil fuel, and the earlier we go to the market, the better for us, “otherwise, ten years from now, we will not find anyone agreeing to put money into the petroleum business, except if it comes from your cash flow.
“Everything we must do, we must do them now so that we can create the cash flow that will continue to sustain the project going forward,” he said.
Harping on the need for a Clement environment to undertake the oil exploration, Kyari said that the company has sufficient experience from the Niger Delta, as well as globally, stressing that his firm is taking adequate steps to avoid the mistakes experienced in Gombe, Bauchi, in the Chad Basin, as well as anywhere else that the NNPC is going into exploration activities.
According to him, support from communities is absolutely necessary.
“Community support is very eminent. We will continue to engage, so that those mistakes of the past do not repeat themselves. This will help to accelerate development in the communities”.
Also speaking, Mr Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources said the country was willing to produce every available oil in the country, especially at a time when the world is moving away from fossil fuel.
He said “It is in your interest to produce as much crude as possible; take it out of the ground and monetise it as quickly as possible so that even if the world moves on, we would have at least taken advantage of our resources.
“I assure the Nasarawa State Governor to count on this office, in whatever way, to support the production of oil in Keana. We are on the same page,” Sylva said.
The Minister added that his Ministry has adopted integrated field development because, that is the easiest remedy for pipeline vandalisation.
In his remarks, the Nasarawa State governor, Sule said Nigeria has so many opportunities and so many areas of great potential, like the Chad Basin, Benue, Trough where Nasarawa State belongs, the Sokoto Basin, Benin Basin, and Anambra Basin amongst others.
Sule appealed to the NNPC, especially with the managing director going to acquire the3-D seismic for Keana, to look at the aspect of what is happening in Keana, because from the outside potentials of what has been seen so far, presents excellent opportunities.
On his part, the Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Sidi Bage Muhammad, who spoke on behalf of the community, said since the founding of the state, there was nothing as great as the discovery of oil in Keana.
He expressed appreciation that oil exploration is taking place in Keana under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has made Nasarawa State his second home.