Nigeria Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Allison-Madueke. The oil-producing state was hit by a general strike and mass protest in January 2012., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Nigeria Has Great Potentials In Oil Resources’ .
Sunday, 15 July 2012 00:00
By Geoff Iyatse
CONTRARY to fears that the country could run out of crude soon, Managing Director of Conoil Producing Limited, a frontline petroleum exploration company, Dr. Ebi Omatsola, says large volume could be lying in different parts of Nigeria.
Omatsola, who spoke in Lagos, last week, at a technical session organised by the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) to commemorate his 70th birthday anniversary, painted a picture of the dynamics in geophysics to prove that much of the existing reserve is a fraction of the volume of crude that actually exists.
The renowned geologist had, many years ago, prophesied current happenings in African oil and gas sector, including the shift that has benefitted new producers like Ghana. He dared to exercise his inquisitiveness beyond the point many considered normal, and was able to see beyond obvious opportunities.
“There are vast potentials in Africa, if we focus on where we should be looking. Knowledge must be brought to bear in looking for new basins otherwise what we have could dry up in few years to come,” warned Omatsola, who, however, expressed the hope that what the country has would serve till the end of the century.
He cautioned against excessive politicisation of crude resources while questioning the motive behind government’s refusal to act on reports on new oil fields around Ondo State.
Omatsola, who traced the history of Africa amidst abundant resources, said the continent, particularly Nigeria, has failed to fully explore the hydrocarbon potentials in its territory.
According to him, countries across Africa such as Ghana, Kenya, Chad and Sudan have numerous basins with huge volumes of oil and gas resources lying untapped.
Reviewing the global statistics, he said Africa has a record of declining reserve, which moved from 7.8 per cent in 2001 to 7.0 per cent in 2011. While search for oil is improving in other African countries, he noted, Nigeria seems to be in static position.
To ensure a future growth in the country’s critical sector, Omatsola advocated the need to improve technology, human capital development, understanding of oil basins and political will to make a change.
National President, NAPE, Afe Mayowa, also lamented the low level of technology and lack of political will to develop the sector. He said much has not been discovered because of the limitation of technology used.
He indentified increasing level of corruption as critical factor hindering the growth of the sector, and expressed worry that no reasonable achievement would be recorded by ongoing reform unless graft is properly checked.
Other stakeholders in ‘the gathering of geologists’ were obviously worried about knowledge gap in the sector, and how the challenge could hamper development if nothing is done about it.