Nigeria inaugurates oil and gas project

Nigeria inaugurates oil and gas project

Nigeria inaugurates oil and gas project

Nigeria began drilling for oil and gas in the northeast on Nov. 22, a first for the African oil giant which has exploited large deposits in the south for decades and whose production is declining.

President Muhammadu Buhari visited the Kolmani field, located in Gombe and Bauchi states and with estimated reserves of over 1 million barrels, to inaugurate the drilling site.

“The successful discovery of the Kolmani Oil and Gas field by NNPC [Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited] and her partners has finally broken the jinx” after long efforts to find commercial oil and gas outside the established Niger Delta Basin, Buhari said in a statement.

In addition to drilling, the project, which has attracted $3 billion in investment, aims to open an oil refinery, a gas processing unit, a power plant and a fertilizer factory, according to the presidential statement.

Buhari in his comments also urged the oil company and partners “to ensure all lessons learnt from our years of experience as an oil-producing nation are utilized to ensure harmonious relationship with the local communities.”

Oil exploitation in Nigeria began in the 1960s in the southeastern Niger Delta region.

Decades of production have enriched government officials and generated huge profits for large foreign companies in particular, but the majority of Nigerians, especially in the oil-rich Delta region, continue to live in poverty.

The region suffers badly from pollution, and tens of thousands of people now make a living from stealing crude oil from pipelines or at sea, from illegal refineries that have sprung up in swampy and forested areas, and from selling fuel on the black market, causing ecological disasters.