Ogun State’s ambition to become an oil-producing state is about to come true as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) prepares to start exploring for gas and oil in the Gateway State.

The Federal Government’s plans to begin oil exploration in Ogun State prompted a group of oil industry stakeholders, led by Mr. Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Ltd., the Chief Executive of the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, the Managing Director of SHELL Petroleum Development Company Ltd., and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, to storm the state on Friday.

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Governor Dapo Abiodun and his deputy, engineer Noimot Salako-Oyedele, met them. Speaking in the governor’s office in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, Hon. Lokpobiri stated that Ogun State has always been a part of the Dahomey Basin and has the potential to have enormous hydrocarbon deposits.

“We decided to come to Ogun State to reassure the people that we have very high potential of discoveries here,” the minister stated. “We decided that we are going to resume exploration in the different Basins.”

Since Ogun has long been a part of the Dahomey Basin, our presence serves as a testament to the federal government’s sincerity about the exploratory work we want to do in Ogun State.” Hon. Lokpobiri stated that his team is in the State to continue the fight for exploratory operations, adding that oil and gas remain the fastest route to Nigeria’s economic success.

According to him, another purpose of the visit was to show how committed and serious the federal government was about bolstering its earnings from the oil and gas industry.

“We are here today to inform the public of the federal government’s resolve to see to it that our nationwide campaign and exploration efforts are carried out.

We are doing these exploratory efforts in many locations around Nigeria; we are currently in Ogun and will subsequently go on to Sokoto State,” he continued.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), stated that Ogun State is fortunate to be located in the Dahomey Basin corridor, which is expected to have a high oil deposit.

He assured the audience that the corporation is returning in earnest to begin exploration activities and expressed the hope that oil would be found in commercial quantities.

The team’s visit to Ogun State, according to Mr. Genga Komolafe, Executive Director of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, is a further indication of the federal government’s commitment to increasing oil reserves and boosting federation revenue.

“We all understand that Nigeria is very prolific in oil and gas, but then there is still need to grow the reserves through exploration activities given our huge hyrdro-carbon as a bench mark,” he said.

Komolafe informed that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) makes provision for the funding of the development of the Frontier Basins, adding that in line with the commitment and the aspirations of the government, the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission is working in synergy with the NNPCL to leverage on the PIA to aggressively carry out oil exploration in the Dahomey Basin.

“The Dahomey Basin stretches up to Delta, Edo, Ogun and Ondo states. We intend to level in the course of this exercise, cover all those states leveraging on the provision of Section 9, Subsection 4 of the PIA.

This is good opportunity for the people of Ogun State and it would be complementary to the reforms and transformation initiatives of the governor. We want to congratulate the governor and the people for being the beneficiaries of this initiative,” Komolafe said.

Responding, Governor Abiodun said Ogun State is part of the OPLs 302,303 306, 307, saying the acreages present unique opportunities for the qualification as a Frontier Exploration State as defined in the PIA section 9.

He observed that the history and studies over the years allow any investment under the frontier exploration basin funding to not only realize the oil and gas potentials, but also acquire data that would aid Bitumen exploration and exploitation in Nigeria.

The country, Abiodun maintained holds the second largest resolves in the world of 42,b tons, adding that a lot of studies have shown the potential of the basins, which brings Ogun State to the fore and projecting it towards becoming a beneficiary to achieve commercial success and derive economic benefits from exploration and production within a minimum time schedule.

“It is noteworthy that this is a region of the country that provides ease of access, low entry and operating costs, a safe and welcoming community and a very active state government support and participation.

“Ogun State therefore presents some unique opportunities towards the realization of the full intentions of the PIA section 9 on frontier exploration as it will contribute to guarantee additional petroleum production of additional petroleum products for the country and afford more supply to potential refineries in the area.

“As a low hanging result, this area also presents the opportunity for Bitumen extraction, thereby reducing import dependency and bringing with its savings in foreign exchange expenditure on this single line item,” governor said.