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Published On: Mon, Dec 14th, 2020

Oil Exploration in Northern Nigeria: Problems and Prospects

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Monday Column By Emmanuel Yawe

royawe@yahoo.com | 08024565402

Book Reviewer: Emmanuel Yawe
Authors : Nkemjika and Salisu Matori
Punlisher: Global Media Limited
Price : Not staed

This is an excellently written and printed book by two very well informed writers. Mr. Nkemjika is a Nigerian journalist, freelance writer and information consultant; a Director of Global Media Limited an information and consultancy agency whose interests centre mainly on political, economic and international developmental studies. His works on Nigeria: the challenge of Democracy; Igbos and the Biafran Revolution: Nigeria the challenges of Nationhood and Development; Africa’s Crisis of Development and The Diary of a Bohemian are forthcoming.
The other is an experienced corporate manager, a politician of note and a widely travelled man, Salisu Matori who served in several multinational companies like UAC and Total Nigeria Plc. He was also a member of Bauchi State Vision 2010. He took a plunge into politics in 1999 and was elected in that year to represent Bauchi South Senatorial District at the highest law making body of Nigeria – the Senate.
It is obvious reading through the book that the two authors have devoted great energy, time and knowledge to this enterprise. The book is split in eight chapters and one hundred and twenty four pages. Even though it contains no pictures, graphs and no charts, there is at the end a diary of some events in Nigeria’s petroleum industry from 1908 to 1993. The book also contains useful appendices at the end like Senator Matori’s presentation at Public Hearing in Bauchi, Executive Summary of report on Senate Committee hearing on petroleum and Senate deliberation and resolution on the abrupt stoppage of oil exploration in the Benue Trough and Cad Basin. It also contains many other heroic battles fought by Senator Matori to ensure exploration and production of oil in Northern Nigeria.
In the introduction to the book, the authors trace the search for hydrocarbon deposits in northern Nigeria to the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities in Chad and Niger. “These countries share with Nigeria, the stretch of the depression referred to as the central African rift system. In geographical circles, the African rift system is well known for the considerable hydrocarbon accumulation that spreads along its considerable length.”
The authors then proceed to ask two fundamental questions. “The first is why should the prospecting oil companies stop their exploration activities in the Benue Trough and Cad Basin? And the second is: How do will get the oil drills back in Northern Nigeria?” These are the questions they try to answer in the eight chapters of this most valuable book.
The answers for these are found from Chapter one which gives an overview of hydrocarbon of Northern Nigeria, Chapter two which goes into the details of specific problems of oil exploration of Northern Nigeria leading to stoppage of exploration work and three the struggle for resumption of work on exploration of oil in Northern Nigeria and four the benefits of oil exploration and production in Northern Nigeria.
The book provides potential hindrances to resumption of oil exploration and production in Northern Nigeria and the ways to effectively handle these potential hindrances, in chapter five and six; In chapter seven and eight, the book deals with economic implications of oil exploration and production in Northern Nigeria for OPEC and the world economy and finally makes a case for resumption of oil exploration and production in Northern Nigeria. The book advocates adequate funding of the exercise, and the application of new techniques of exploration and production as suggested by Austine Nwaezeapu an expert in the field who like other experts have advocated eight technical new methods to be used; and the enactment of legislation that will foster the operations of oil companies in Northern Nigeria.
The book concludes that given the present advancement in exploration technologies in the world, it is easy for the oil companies and the Nigerian government to establish whether there is oil in Benue trough and the Chad basin easily without going through the old, outdated and expensive methods. The authors write that “Great advances in seismic technology are available out there for application and resolution of all the existing doubts about the existence of oil in northern Nigeria. There is no doubt that once Nigeria secures new oil discoveries in the North, a great future will be there for all to savour and attain national economic greatness.”
Sitting Saudi Arabia and other countries of the world which were initially written off as sources of oil, but have turned out to be great oil producers as examples, the book makes a call on Nigerians and the oil companies not to relent in the search for oil in the north.
Finally, this book ‘Oil exploration in Northern Nigeria – problems and prospects’ is a worthy enterprise and a must read for all those interested on the subject.

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