Saturday, October 1, 2011

NNPC faults Kwara’s claim on oil discovery

Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Austen Oniwon crackcrack

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has picked holes in the claim by the Kwara State Government that crude oil has been discovered in one of the villages in the state.

The corporation said it was funny for the state government to have come out publicly to make such pronouncement when the Department of Petroleum Resources that should verify such a claim was yet to be contacted.

Speaking with our correspondent on the telephone on Friday, a source at the Public Affairs unit of the corporation said it was not the duty of government officials or individuals to make pronouncements on oil discovery when no sample had been analysed.

The source said, “Even if oil was actually discovered there it is not their duty to go public with such information. It is the DPR that should be contacted and then experts will be sent there to analyse the soil sample.”

Last week, the Kwara State Government announced that crude oil had been discovered in Aran Orin town in Irepodun Local Government Area of the state by a farmer.

In a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, the state Governor, Mr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, said the farmer discovered crude oil on his farm and seven other adjoining sites and subsequently alerted the state government.

He said geologists from the State Ministry of Industry and Solid Minerals were directed to confirm whether the substance was indeed crude oil, and if so identify the blend, which they later confirmed to be Bonny Light, the highly sought after blend by refiners.

As at Thursday, the state government had commenced the process of ascertaining the quantity of the deposit even when experts from DPR were yet to confirm the substance to be crude oil.

The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Tunji Moronfoye, said on Thursday that the government had contacted the DPR of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to carry out the processes to determine if the discovery was of commercial quantity.

The commissioner also said two wells would be drilled for exploration and appraisal of the substance to determine its commercial nature, adding that the government would be awaiting the response of the DPR.

The source, who expressed fears over the possible tampering of some oil pipelines, said it was very unlikely that oil would be discovered in a place where no oil company had been carrying out any exploration.

He said, “Another funny aspect of the story is that they named the oil Bonny Light. Bonny Light was given that name because of where the oil comes from. So why didn’t they name it after Kwara or after the village where it was said to have been discovered? I just hope they have not tampered with our pipelines.”

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