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Ex-NEITI Boss: Kolmani’ll boost Nigeria’s stagnated oil reserves

Nigeria’s oil reserves stagnated at 37 billion barrels, a former Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Waziri Adio, on Wednesday said. He added that Kolmani crude oil asset could change that. Adio, while speaking on Arise TV’s Global Business Report, said the Kolmani project could add to Nigeria’s crude oil reserves, adding that new crude oil discoveries in other parts of the country would increase Nigeria’s crude oil production and the revenue of the country.

He explained that developing a gas-to-power plant, a refinery, a gas processing plant, and a fertiliser plant was crucial and significant as he noted that the location of the Kolmani oil field was quite a distance from the shore. He advised that the only way for the project to make business sense is by developing a hub around the resources, adding that some people might tag the project a bit late as crude oil appears to be losing appeal given the global energy transition. He explained that with the successful drilling of the crude oil and the processing of the natural gas in the Kolmani prospect, a power plant can be established to serve the people of the host communities and a refinery can be built as well. Adio said:

“However, the emergence of new crude oil discoveries can be used to solve urgent national challenges because the country needs all the revenue it can get and Nigeria needs to also increase its self-sufficiency in terms of petroleum products as well as generating as much power as we can. If Nigeria is able to bring the project to fruition, it is worth celebrating.

“The Kolmani oil project could start up exploration in other basins that are still unexplored.” He said the $3 billion investment, which President Buhari claimed as an investment in the Kolmani project, does not necessarily mean money on the table at this time, but that the money that will come in along the line. He urged the NNPC and its partners to be more transparent about the details of the Kolmani project, adding that the NNPC should let Nigerians know if the proven reserves of one billion barrels have been verified by a third party. According to him, some of the partners like Sterling Oil Exploration and Production, which produces about 50,000 barrels per day, is one of the solid companies around. President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday officially kicked off a drilling campaign in Kolmani Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 809 and 810 at the Kolmani field site located in Bauchi and Gombe states.

Recall that the Kolmani Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) at the field site would be the first oil drilling in northern Nigeria, following the discovery of oil in commercial quantity in the region about two years ago. A visibly elated Buhari, in his speech, said it was to the credit of his government that at a time that financing of fossil fuel projects was drying up due to the energy transition drive, his administration was able to attract $3 billion to the sector. Buhari described the day as important in the economic history of the nation as it moves closer to production of oil and gas in the Upper Benue Trough, specifically, the Kolmani River oil and gas field, straddling Bauchi and Gombe States in the north-east. Buhari noted that the feat was significant considering that efforts to find commercial oil and gas outside the established Niger Delta Basin was attempted for many years without the desired outcomes. However, he explained that the successful discovery of the Kolmani oil and gas field by NNPC and her partners has finally broken the jinx by the confirmation of huge commercial deposits of hydrocarbons in Kolmani River field. The president noted that the discovery of the oilfields emanated from his administration’s charge to the NNPC to re-strategise and expand its oil and gas exploration footprints to the frontier basins of Anambra, Dahomey, Sokoto, Benue trough, Chad and Bida Basins. Similar activities across the other basins, he pointed out, are currently actively ongoing.

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