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NNPC fast tracks oil drilling in Nasarawa State, says official drilling begins by end of Q1 2023

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The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, Mele Kyari, said official oil drilling will begin in Keana, Nasarawa State by March 2023.

He stated this on Friday, January 13 during an official visit by the Nasarawa state Governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, to the NNPC office in Abuja. 

According to Kyari, exploratory activities found that there is a significant amount of oil in the state and the company was ready to do the necessary work to find the hydrocarbon resources therein. He said:

  • “This work must be done very fast because the whole world is walking away from fossil fuels due to the energy transition, the earlier you go to market, the better for you. Otherwise, 10 years from now, no one will agree to put money in the petroleum business unless it comes from your cash flow.”

Kyari’s announcement contrasted with an earlier statement by Governor Sule that oil will be produced in the state by 2026 or 2027. In December 2022, the governor said that with all things being equal, commercial oil drilling activities in Keana will commence in the next four or five years.

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The backstory: In April 2022, it was announced that a team from the Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) had started the process of drilling an enhanced well for the production of oil in the state. Later on, the NNPC indicated that seismic acquisition for Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 813A, Keana West in Nasarawa state, had been carried out and security assessment had been completed. The NNPC has also obtained 3D seismic data in Keana and final deliverables have been reportedly received.

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For the record: It is instructive to note that aside from Keana local government area, the Nasarawa state Governor, Engr, Abdullahi Sule had in Q3 2022, announced that oil and gas had been found in commercial quantities in the Agwatashi local government area as well as Obi local government area of the state.

  • The Petroleum Industry Act of 2021 mandated that a frontier exploration fund be set aside for exploring hydrocarbons (the exploration of crude oil, natural gas, coal, and other energy sources) in the inland basins.
  • The inland basins are the Anambra basin, the lower, middle, and upper Benue trough, the southeastern sector of the Chad basin (where Nasarawa state belongs), the mid-Niger (Bida) basin, and the Sokoto basin.

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