NNPC Fuels crises in North East
OpenLife Nigeria reports that no sooner had President Muhammadu Buhari supervised the groundbreaking ceremony of the Northern Nigeria first oil drill in Gombe state on Tuesday, November 22 that crises erupted between Gombe and Bauchi State over the ownership of the oil location.
The first oil drill in northern Nigeria named Kolmani Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 809 and 810 at the Kolmani field site is the first oil drilling in Northern Nigeria, following the discovery of oil in commercial volume in the region about two years ago.
In 2016, the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited launched a search for oil in some Northern states. The search led to the discovery of the oil in commercial quantities in Bauchi, Gombe, Borno and Niger States.
The NNPC Ltd officials said that the oil field in Gombe axis will be developed by Sterling Global Oil, New Nigeria Development Commission (NNDC) and NNPC Limited.
However, crises appear to be brewing over the ownership of the Kolmani Oil and Gas field as both Bauchi and Gombe States have started laying claims to the oil wells.
Officials and residents of the two states have also accused each other of attempting to appropriate the site which is said to contain one billion barrels of crude oil reserves and 500 billion standard cubic feet of gas.
Rather than offer clear cut clarifications on the dispute of ownership, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Garba-Deen Muhammad, said attention should rather be focused on oil production from the wells at the moment.
The NNPC unclear response has further fuelled anxieties on the matter with stakeholders and indigenes expressing concerns on a possible outbreak of violence.
On the ownership of the contentious Kolmani field, the Special Adviser to Gombe State Governor on Information Management and Strategy, Alhaji Ahmed Gara-Gombe, has reportedly blamed the boundary commission for the controversy, adding that if NNPC had engaged both communities from both sides of the boundary, it wouldn’t have escalated.
Formerly a government-owned corporation, NNPC Limited is a for profit oil company in Nigeria. It was transformed from a corporation to a limited liability company in July 2022 and is the only entity licensed to operate in the country’s petroleum industry.