The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Company, Dr Maikanti Baru, said that the company would commence oil exploration along Gongola Basin: “Soon, we shall start drilling exploratory wells in the Gongola Basin commencing with appraisal of the Kolmani River-1 discovery Field.”
NNPC plans is to drill four exploration wells to further test the prospects identified around the Kolmani River-1, Nasara-1 and Kuzari-1, in 2018, and go into the deeper Maiduguri sub-basin to acquire more 3D seismic data as soon as normalcy returns to the Chad Basin.
NNPC had in 2016 announced that it had embarked on a more rigorous exploration for oil in the Gongola and other inland basin using the latest seismic data gathering technology.
Past reports on Nigeria’s oil exploration in the frontier basins had indicated that between 1977 and 1996, NNPC commenced exploration activities in the Chad Basin during which 23 wells were drilled and only two wells – Wadi-1 and Kinasar-1, recorded non-commercial gas discoveries before exploration was suspended in the Chad Basin in 2000 for lack of commercial finds. Similarly on the Gongola Basin, the federal government had between 1993 and 2000 awarded blocks in the basin to Chevron, Total and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company. They acquired 3,153km of 2D seismic data, drilled one well each and made a non-commercial gas discovery in one of the wells – Kolmani River-1, before they suspended operations and abandoned the blocks. Despite the cost implications as well as the holdback occasioned by security challenges in the North-east, NNPC still kept faith with its search for oil in the Chad and Gongola Basins.
The Gongola Basin part of the Upper Benue Trough, is a North South trending arm of the 1000 km long Benue Trough, a major geological structure underlying a large part of Nigeria and extending about 1,000 km northeast from the Bight of Benin to Lake Chad. It is part of the broader Central African Rift System. (Source: NNPC/Investors King/Nigerian Bulletin)