Chief Timipre Silva, the Minister of Petroleum Resources has said that one of the main responsibilities of the ministry is to increase oil reserves from the current level of 37 billion barrels to 40 billion barrels by 2025.
Sylva announced this on Tuesday at the ceremonial groundbreaking for OPLs 809 and 810 at the Kolmani River II well, which is situated in a bordering community between the states of Bauchi and Gombe.
President Muhammadu Buhari officially launched the Kolmani Integrated Development Project in the presence of several senior government figures, including governors, cabinet members, business leaders, and representatives of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL).
He expressed his excitement, saying he was especially pleased with the collaboration between NNPCL, Sterling Global Oil, and New Nigeria Development Commission (NNDC) on the drilling campaign.
“This is a testimony of the fact that the hydrocarbons sector still holds the promise of returns on investment, highlighting the role that this resource will continue to play in the global energy mix,” Sylva said.
He recounted how the country rejoiced in 2019 when the NNPC declared it had discovered oil at the Kolmani River well II in "commercial volumes," marking the successful conclusion of years of geological research.
“In spite of the enormity of challenges that NNPC was confronted with, the day has come when we can collectively witness and celebrate drilling for hydrocarbons in the North of our dear country,” he said.
He declared that the ministry was dedicated to identifying and advancing strategies for eradicating energy poverty, fostering shared prosperity, and establishing sustainable development.
The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), according to Sylva, provided the regulatory framework and support necessary to carry out this mandate by creating the Frontier Exploration Fund, which the NNPC could use to deploy top-tier cutting-edge technology to reduce the risk associated with exploration in frontier basins.
“The commencement of drilling of Kolmani fields which could hold as much as one billion barrels crude oil reserve will significantly contribute to boosting our oil reserves and ensuring our continuous energy sufficiency,” he said.
He expressed gratitude to the President for reiterating his support for the unrestricted expansion of the petroleum sector.
Malam Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer of NNPCL, said in a statement that the Kolmani oil field's 2019 finding of a commercial oil and gas deposit has been further evaluated and certified by the Kolmani team.
While congratulating the governments of Bauchi and Gombe states as well as other partners, Kyari stated that a framework had been developed to ensure the money and technology needed to complete the integrated project.
He gave the President the assurance that the project will be delivered using all available tools, including an asset-based financing framework, to make it one of the administration's most enduring legacies.
The Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, praised the President for accomplishing a historic feat and said that Sections 9, 5, and 4 of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) called for 30% of the revenues from oil exploration.
According to Lawan, the host community development fund and the 13% derivation would soon be available to the states of Bauchi and Gombe, having a significant influence on the lives of those who live there.
He asked the government to use oil wealth to enhance the living conditions of the population, ensure the deployment of technology, and maintain a safe environment.
The Senate President cautioned oil field operators to avoid damaging the environment while lamenting the alarming sight of the Niger Delta region, particularly Ogoni Land.
Shehu Mai-Borno, group managing director of NNDC, made a promise to see the integrated development project through in a speech.
Additionally speaking, Mohit Barot, Managing Director of Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company Ltd., showed a brief video outlining the project overview.
While thanking the Federal Government for choosing the company as a trustworthy partner to achieve energy security, Barot stated that it had obtained the necessary financing for the project.