President Muhammadu Buhari has flagged off the spud-in of the Ebenyi-A exploration well located in Obi local government area, Nasarawa state.
The ceremony marks the official commencement of the first exploration drilling activities in the Middle Benue Trough.
Buhari had, in November, 2022, flagged off the Kolmani Integrated Development Project (KIPRO) situated in the boundary of Bauchi and Gombe states.
Speaking at the event on Tuesday, the president said the event was a significant milestone in the exploration of crude oil and gas in the nation’s frontier basin.
“This is consistent with the commercial discovery of commercial hydrocarbons in the Kolmani area of Upper Benue Trough. I am pleased to note that activities are currently ongoing to develop the Kolmani petroleum discoveries in commercial production to add to the nation’s considerable hydrocarbon assets”, he said.
Buhari said the consequent outcomes of the drilling campaigns will lead to greater prosperity “for our people and essentially enhance overall energy security for our country”.
He added that the surrounding community will benefit from the revenue that will be generated by the exploration and eventual production activities in the area.
Also speaking at the event, the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari, said exploration in the Benue Trough commenced in 2010.
“Today, we spud the first well in the Middle Benue Trough while at the same time executing Mr. President’s express mandate for us to pursue exploration in the frontier basins with vigour”, he said.
Kyari said the positive outcome of the exploration and production activities “will contribute to national aspiration of increasing our hydrocarbon reserves from 37 billion barrels to 50 billion barrels in the short-to-medium term”.
He added that it will also increase crude oil production to the target of 3 million barrels per day.
Earlier in the year, the NNPC had, during a meeting with a delegation of prominent Nasarawa indigenes, led by Abdullahi Sule, the state governor, announced that official drilling operations for the first oil well in Nasarawa would commence in March 2023.
Kyari had said available data confirmed the presence of hydrocarbons in Keana, a local government area in the state.