The Truth About Oil Discovery

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Aliyu Wamakko, Sokoto State governor
Aliyu Wamakko

The Department of Petroleum Resources is unhappy with Kwara and Sokoto states for making false claims that there is crude oil in their domains

|  By Ishaya Ibrahim  |  Feb. 4, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

THE Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, has refuted claims by Sokoto and Kwara State governments that crude oil has been found in their domains. Belema Osibodu, DPR’s deputy director, public affairs, made the refutal in an e-mail sent to Realnews in reaction to the magazine’s story titled: The Politics of Oil Deposits.

“With regard to the purported crude oil find at Oran-Orin in Kwara State, DPR officials visited the site for an on-the-spot assessment and investigation, last year. They collected soil and water samples from the vicinity. Following laboratory analyses, the results showed that the sample was NOT crude oil. There was therefore no crude oil discovery in the State,” Osibodu said. The DPR’s find apparently runs counter to the claim of the state government that oil exists in commercial quantity in the state.

Abdulfatah Ahmed, Kwara State governor
Abdulfatah Ahmed, Kwara State governor

In August 2011, the media was awash with the news that the Kwara State government had discovered crude oil deposits in the state. According to the report credited to Muideen Akorede, senior special assistant to the governor on media and communications, the said discovery was in Ara Orin in Irepodun local government area of the state. But late Levi Ajuonuma, the then group general manager, group public affairs of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, was quick to react to such claim. He advised the state government to hold its breadth until the corporation verified the claim since petroleum resources belong to the entire federation.

Osibodu also said the DPR carried out an independent investigation to know the veracity of Sokoto government’s claim about oil discovery in the state. “Our findings show that no exploration activity took place, neither is there any currently taking place in the area. Also, there has not been any drilling activity or any record of drilling approval given by the DPR. There was also no well test carried out to establish any discovery. There is therefore no evidence of hydrocarbon extrusion in the area or any discovery of crude oil in Sokoto State,” she said.

Again, as in the case of Kwara State, Sokoto State is still insisting that it has oil. In fact, Governor Aliyu Wamakko has said a team of scientists he commissioned to explore oil in the state had confirmed the existence of crude oil deposits in commercial quantity. The governor said in August last year that the state would make a presentation to the federal government on how to exploit the crude oil that has been discovered in commercial quantity in the state.

“After having made the discovery, we are going to make a formal presentation to the federal government to commence the process or allow us to continue. Once we make the formal presentation to the federal government and there is fund, then we will talk to you in details on what is and how it is,” he said. Wamakko said the onus was now on the federal government to act appropriately.

Osibodu has, however, urged state governors to always verify their claims first before going public. She said it was no use trying to be counted as oil producing states without facts to substantiate it.

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