Nigeria has 41 billion barrels of untapped crude – NNPC GMD

Dr. Maikanti Baru
NNPC, Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru. [Photo credit: Benco News]

After more than six decades of production, Nigeria still has over 41 billion barrels of crude oil reserves untapped, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, has disclosed.

Nigeria discovered crude oil in 1956 at Oloibiri in the present-day Bayelsa State. Production began a year later in 1957, with the country’s first cargo of crude oil export in February 1958.

Also, Mr Baru said about 319 trillion standard cubic feet of gas is yet to be discovered in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The bulk of the gas could be found in Nigeria, often described by oil industry experts as a gas province with little oil.

The country’s gas reserves are reputed to be ten times as much as oil. The volume of gas so far produced is only in association with oil production.

The NNPC GMD spoke on Wednesday at a special session on Africa, entitled: “Foundations for New Investment” at the ongoing 19th CERAWeek Conference in Houston, United States.

The NNPC spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu, sent the presentation to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday.

He said available information showed the African global crude oil and gas outlook remained positive and on the upward trajectory, with the West African sub-region holding the ace in offshore deepwater exploration hotspots.


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For instance, Mr Baru said a prolific one billion barrels of crude oil find was recently made at the Owowo field, offshore Nigeria.

He called on foreign investors to take advantage of the country’s potentials and explore the Nigerian Ultra-Deep terrain he described as largely untested.

“In Nigeria, NNPC is currently drilling Kolmani River-II Well in the Benue Trough, one of Nigeria’s several frontier inland Basins, with about 400 billion cubic feet of gas expected to be encountered,” he told his audience.

The NNC GMD also used the occasion to make a case for the domestication of oil and gas technologies within the African continent.

“It is my belief that domesticating these cutting-edge technologies will develop the capacity of our people, improve our economies and emplace our national oil and gas companies on the path of sustainable growth and development,” he said.

According to him, African countries must react positively to the new reality by deploying new policies and stabilize their business environment to attract meaningful investments.

For Nigeria, he said critical to achieving that goal was the passage of the four components of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).

The new petroleum industry law is expected to usher in new legislation that will not only enhance the investment climate in the country but also change the fortunes of the nation’s oil and gas business for the better.

Mr Baru informed delegates at the conference that the NNPC was opening up its business environment to ensure transparency and accountability in its dealings with all those interested in doing business in Nigeria.

He also lauded the federal government for its peace initiatives in the Niger Delta communities which he said had seen the country hitting very high oil and gas production figures in recent years.

Ministers and high-level energy executives from Mali, Somalia, Namibia and Uganda were among the panelists at the Special Session.

Organised by IHS Markit, CERAWeek is a global platform on energy trends and public policy where over 4,000 oil and gas experts convene annually to debate the future of oil, natural gas, renewable energy, power and new technologies.

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