The official flag off of the spud-in of the Ebenyi-A Oil Well in Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State by President Muhammadu Buhari, got the stage set to boost Nigeria’s hydrocarbon reserve from 37 billion barrels to 50 billion barrels.

In 2010, the  Nigeria National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL) carried out several exploratory activities in Nasarawa State. Hence, data from the NNPCL had confirmed the presence of hydrocarbon in Nasarawa State; precisely in Keana and Obi Local Government Areas which are located in the Middle Benue Trough.

The data confirming availability of the hydrocarbon followed several exploratory activities carried out earlier by the NNPCL in form of gathering the right data and making the right decisions.

Explaining authenticity of the process which was carried out by the NNPCL in Nasarawa State, the Group Managing Director of the corporation, Mele Kolo Kyari, said: “We have carried out several exploratory activities in form of gathering the right data and making the right decisions. We are very convinced at this point in time that Nasarawa State will join the league of states with hydrocarbon presence. 

“This is not far away. As a matter of fact, we believed that we will start the first well in Nasarawa State by March and this is to confirm. It is very typical science that once we are able to make a success of that well, then the potentials of Nasarawa are beyond what I can explain at this point in time.”

Satisfied with the NNPC Ltd exploratory results, President Muhammadu Buhari had on March 28, 2023 officially flagged off the spud-in of the Ebenyi-A Oil Well located in the Middle Benue Trough, in Obi Local Government of Nasarawa State.

Speaking at the official flag-off of spud-in of the Ebenyi-A Oil Well, the Group Managing Director/CEO of the NNPCL, Malam Mele Kyari, pointed out that findings are very indicative of potential commercial hydrocarbon discovery in the area.

He, therefore, expressed optimism that the positive outcome of the campaign will contribute to increasing the country’s national hydrocarbon reserve from 37 billion barrels to 50 billion barrels, while also increasing the country’s oil production capacity to the target of three million barrels per day.

Kyari assured stakeholders that NNPCL will conduct its activities in Obi Local Government Area with utmost care and attention to health, safety and environment.

However, the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, has appealed to both the President and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), to expedite action to develop the field, especially with rising competitions from green energy.

This was even as the Governor further appealed to the NNPCL to equally adopt the Integrated Field Development (IFD) it was employing in Kolmani in Gombe State, to develop the Ebenyi-A Oil Field

Let me make this special appeal to you Mr President and of course, the NNPCL. With the strong competition that the fossil oil is getting from green energy, we wish to appeal to Mr. President, that the NNPCL should expedite action on the development of this field.

“While congratulating the NNPCL once more on the concept of the Integrated Field Development that was just carried out in Gombe, we also pray and hope that the Ebenyi-A Field will also experience another IFD,” Governor Sule appealed.

The Governor particularly commended the NNPCL for introducing the Integrated Field Development at the Kolmani which was not obtainable previously in the country, where the issues of pipeline vandalization and environmental degradation were addressed. 

“What the NNPC Ltd has done, we don’t even have anywhere in Nigeria. Not in Niger Delta, not anywhere. In the oil and gas sector, there is what we called Integrated Field Development where you produce the oil there, refine it there, you produce the gas there, you generate the power there, you produce the chemicals there,” Sule said. 

The governor, therefore, explained that with similar concept in Nasarawa, as well as all the other basins in the country, there would be no need laying pipelines for over 200 or 300 km in order to evacuate the oil to the terminals located in the Niger Delta. 

Sule, therefore, expressed appreciation to the President, the GMD/CEO of NNPCL, Malam Mele Kyari, and all those who made the spud-in possible. He equally solicited for the continued support and cooperation of the host community towards ensuring the success of the project.

I call on our host communities to see this project as their own. I ask you to take ownership to ensure you not only protect the project, but the people working on the project. As somebody who has worked in similar conditions, the relationship with the host community is extremely important. The cooperation that we will get from you will make the people more comfortable to believe that this is also their home,” Sule stated.

While declaring that the discovery and drilling of oil in Nasarawa State will lead to greater prosperity for Nigerians as well as enhance overall energy security for the country, President Buhari directed NNPCL and its partners to take due care of the environmental consequences of the oil exploration activities and to mitigate the negative effects.

The President recalled that the official commencement of drilling activities in the Middle Benue Trough was in line with ongoing campaigns for the exploration of crude oil and gas in the Nation’s Frontier Basins.

Buhari listed the Chad Basin, Dahomey Basin, Anambra Platform, the Calabar Embankment, Sokoto Basin, Bida Basin, Benue Trough as well as the Ultra-Deepwater Niger Delta as areas where NNPC was extending its crude oil exploration.

‘‘This is consistent with the commercial discoveries of hydrocarbons in the Kolmani Area of the Upper Benue Trough. I am pleased to note that activities are currently ongoing to develop the Kolmani petroleum discoveries to commercial production to add to the nation’s considerable hydro-carbon assets.

‘‘I am encouraged by the enormous work done by NNPC Limited to exploit the prospects in the Middle Benue Trough, leading to the event of today. I congratulate NNPC Ltd, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission and other partners for their immense contributions towards making this day and this event possible,’’ Buhari said.

The Nigeria President then directed Governor Abdullahi Sule and the GMD/CEO, NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, to spud on his behalf.

Briefing journalists in Lafia on measures being taken to avert crisis following the discovery of crude oil in the Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, the Chairman of the council area, Joshua Ozhe-Yekpowudu, assured the affected communities that government and the NNPCL were working out proper compensation for lands and other properties that were affected in the area.

Ozhe-Yekpowudu said the compensation became imperative because it would go a long way to avert any crisis that might arise in the affected communities. He added that government, in collaboration with the NNPCL, were working out serious modalities in ensuring that people of the area whose farmlands were affected were properly compensated without any rancor.

While assuring that authorities of the Obi Local Government Area would do all they could to ensure smooth and hitch free exploration of the crude oil, Ozhe-Yekpowudu promised that security of lives and prosperity in the locality would be given utmost attention.

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