Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru

The Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru, has warned states to desist from pronouncing the presence of hydrocarbons in the basins in their jurisdiction.

Dr. Baru gave this warning yesterday shortly after being conferred with an honorary fellowship of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University (IBBU), Lapai, during the second combined convocation ceremony of the university.

He observed that there were claims by several bodies,  including Niger State government, that crude oil has been discovered in certain areas of the state, adding that it was also in the media that commercial quantities of oil were discovered from seven wells drilled through the collaboration of NNPC and IBBU, Lapai, saying it was the wish of NNPC that it were  true.

Dr. Baru explained that the Federal Republic of Nigeria has clearly defined legislation and regulations governing the petroleum industry for guidance and compliance which among others, lay the procedures for declaring crude oil discoveries.

“Sections 49 and 54 of petroleum drilling and production regulations of 1969 stipulate the guidelines and requirements for reporting of discoveries and booking reserves respectively,” he explained.

He added that, there were ten recognized stages of activities that lead to commercial discovery of oil and gas, which he said includes, identification of sedimentary basin, establishing the basin depth and shape/configuration, determining the distribution and succession of sediments that will form a hydrocarbon system, determining if hydrocarbon have been generated in the basin.

Other stages are integration of the four stages above to identify positive hydrocarbon anomalies, acquisition of 2D seismic data over anomalies to identify potential hydrocarbon bearing subsurface structure, acquisition of 3D seismic data to validate the identified structures and propose wells for drilling, drilling of exploration wells to establish the occurrence of oil and gas, drilling of appraisal wells to establish the quantity of the discovery, as well as evaluation of the engineering and economic parameters required to bring the discovery to the market to ascertain commerciality.

Dr. Maikanti Baru disclosed that the Bida basin exploration was in the fourth stage of the activities, saying efforts have not advanced to the level of declaring discoveries, let alone claiming that the oil and gas present was in commercial quantities, adding that even after commercial discovery of hydrocarbons, pronouncements can only be made after due validation of claims by the regulators of the industry, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

He said, it was their utmost desire that the success of the ongoing exploration campaign in the Inland Basins will usher in a new Nigeria with balanced resources distribution, diverse economic activities and sustained energy security as we move towards the industrialized economy we all desired.

Dr. Baru appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for giving the organization mandate and all necessary support and encouragement to lead a renewed search for oil in the Inland basins, and Niger State government support in their exploration activities in the Bida basin.