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Buhari And NNPC: Finding Oil In The North Is Beyond Politics?

Source: pointblanknews.com
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IfeanyiIzeze
To say that theposition of this government on several issues is

getting more and moreworrisome by the day is an understatement. Walai, it

is difficult to understandhow the minds of our people in government work.

How do you reconcile that in acountry where there is no money (as we were

told) to pay workers salaries or toalleviate the suffering of the masses

majority of whom cannot even eat once ina day, we are talking of spending

billions of naira (either already earmarkedor to be raised) to pump into

finding oil by force?
Is it not thissame government that boasts everyday
that they want to diversify the economyfrom oil that now is busy plotting

to drain billions on wildcatting which isnothing but outright kalo

kalo(gambling)? For a countrythat is in an economic crisis largely because

of its dependence on oil, andgiven the public push for a drastic upscale

of diminutive non-oil sectors ofthe economy, how is the pursuit of oil in

the north now our national priority?  When are we going to begin to

thinkdifferently?
The government's oil exploration efforts smack of the

kind of freeoil- money-obsession that brought Nigeria to its present

situation.It is really curiousthat President Mohammadu Buhari actually

ordered the NNPC to embark on thisventure but it's even more curious that

the new NNPC group managing director,Maikanti Baru, could be insensitive

enough to be dangling the president's namein a statement that is most

likely to portray him as sectionally -minded. Couldit have carried lesser

weight if the NNPC boss had hinged the decision torecommence oil search in

the north on his corporation rather than dangling thename of the

president? It is veryunfortunate that in this country, intellectuals who

should be better informed regressto technical and economic apostasy just

to satisfy the whims and caprices oftheir bosses (politicians) in

Government?
The Chad Basin has been repeatedly prospectedfor oil for well

over three decades at great cost to the NNPC and in turn thecountry. No

oil was ever found in viable or commercial quantities. Political searchfor

oil will never find a single drop of producible oil. Just mark my word! It

willonly end up wasting scarce and highly needed funds which we should be

deployingin other sectors to strengthen our economy especially that of the

northeastregion and enable our people stand gainfully engaged rather

sitting and waitingto rush to RMAFC in Abuja for doles.If the aim ofthis

proposal is to leverage on developing the northeast region as feigned

byour leaders, why is the government not focusing on leveraging Renewable

Energy,Manufacturing and Agriculture in the region?

These sectors are much
moresustainable and capable of creating shared development and a rapid one

toorather than the wild goose chase for oil in our present economic

circumstance.As disclosed byexperts, with an average solar irradiation of

2,400 kWh/m2, the Northeast (ChadBasin) region is one of the areas in the

world best primed for investment inSolar power which would undoubtedly

solve the region's worst-in-the-countrypower situation on one hand and

that of the entire country on the other.
Closelyaligned to power generation is the manufacturing sector, and for a region thatborders four

other countries there are few better places to cite amanufacturing hub for

high export gains and extended market opportunities.Why are we nottalking

on massively investing on radically reversing the water loss of theLake

Chad to curb the current high hunger and poverty rates across that

region,reignite economic growth and development and put more people to

work than planningon draining the huge sums of money in search for oil- a

venture that is at best,mere gambling?
For the first time in my writing,let
me talk as a well-trained geologist because it is only by inquiring on

thebasic, yet elemental geologic dynamics of the Chad Basin area of

Nigeria thatone can be able to say for certain if the “parameters” for oil

occurrence inthat basin is fully met and then persuade our politicians to

simply stay awayfrom issues of oil search in the basin and others adjacent

to it includingBauchi Basin leaving it for the experts to handle.

The magic
parameters for oiloccurrence in any basin, as we were taught in

undergraduate petroleum geologyare the concurrent existence of these

factors: the source rock, the reservoirrock, migration pathway, geothermal

temperature and traps which could bestructural or stratigraphic.Pure

geology has it that thestratigraphic sequence (rock arrangement) of the

Chad Basin ensued from theunconformable deposition of the Cenomanian Bima

Sandstone over the Pre-CambrianBasement Complex rocks. Atop the Bima

Sandstone is the Turonian GongilaFormation, succeeded by the Senonian Fika

Shales, which is also in turnsucceeded by the Maestrichtian to Pleistocene

Gombe Sandstone, Keri-KeriFormation and Chad Formation in that

order.Without doubt, the Chad Basin,where only one-tenth of its area lie

in Nigeria offers possible source rocks,reservoir rocks and

migration/structural pathway.
Fika Shales is a likelysource rock, and its
immediate succession, Gombe Sandstone, could serve as atremendous

reservoir rock. The large scale Cretaceous folds in the form ofanticlinal

and synclinal folds—thanks to geophysical survey data from the areacould

make encouraging traps for occurrence of oil. More so the depth at

whichGombe Sandstone is supposedly located around the Lake Chad area could

giveenough geothermal temperature of 120-150 degrees centigrade which

supports oilformation.Beforenow, The NNPC has generated over 30,000 well

logs scanned and vectorised. Also,23 exploratory wells have been drilled.

However, all the wells turned out to bea harvest of “dry holes.”  Only two

ofthe wells, Wadi-1 and Kinasar encountered non- commercial gas that could

bestbe described as “flashes.”
Thoughit is very unprofessional
(geologically) to be categorical that there is no oilin our portion of the

Chad Basin as there is a possibility that we may find oilin commercial

quantity in the region because of the discoveries of commercialhydrocarbon

deposits in neighboring countries of Chad, Niger and Sudan whichhave

similar structural settings with the Nigerian portion of the Chad

Basin.However, youcannot wish geology into place, no matter the amount of

politics orsupplications to God in the churches or mosques.

That we have
portions of ChadBasins in Nigeria does not mean oil must be in our own

section. Even in the oilbearing geologic Niger Delta, it is not all

sections of the region that bearsoil notwithstanding that they all have in

full the same stratigraphic settingof Akata (source rock); Agbada

(reserviour rock); and Benin Formations.The politicianswould not agree

with this because they don't know.
It's the duty of the
expertsparticularly the NNPC people to educate some of our politicians on

this.Up till now,what can the Northern Nigeria Development Company (NNDC)

say they have achievedin the oil bloc 'OPL 809' assigned to them apart

from leveraging on politickingwith some flashes of “gas shows” discovered

elsewhere by Shell Frontiers inother concessions outside our portion of

the basins both Chad and Bauchi? When arewe going to start facing everyday

issues that are pressing our people and stopthis unnecessary politicking

with everything that makes us look an unseriouscountry in the eyes of the

outside world? God bless Nigeria!(IFEANYI IZEZE lives in Abuja:

[email protected]; 234-8033043009)
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