Five months after the contractor handling the drilling of the Kolmani River-II Well in Bauchi State said it would be completed in sixty days, NNPC’s new report says roughly half of the depth has been reached, an indication that the project is not proceeding according to plans.
Abdulrahman Bashir, the chief executive of Etihad Oilfield Services, the contractor handling the project had said that drilling activities which started February 2, would be completed in sixty days.
NNPC’s monthly financial and operations report for May however, says otherwise. “The Kolmani River-II Well which spud-in was flagged off last month by President Muhammadu Buhari is progressing satisfactorily, with drilling so far of 6,700 feet and target feet is 14,200 feet,” the report said.
The report further said: “Although the depth could be longer depending on findings, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, has said. Prospecting for oil and gas in Kolmani River-II Well is one of the recent foray of the government into inland exploration in parts of the country.”
Former NNPC group managing director Maikanti Baru had in April hinted that drilling was now around had reached depths of 10,075 feet. But even this figure, if it were accurate is widely off the mark from the initial target of 14,200 ft in sixty days.
President Buhari has made drilling for oil a critical part of NNPC’s exploration activities but security concerns have largely slowed work. Insurgents believed to be members of the Boko haram group attacked a group of oil workers two years ago and killing several people including military personnel. But this has not deterred the NNPC from proceeding with drilling plans.
The Kolmani River-II Well, a site near Barambu, a village in Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi State, is one of four oil and gas wells that NNPC said were being planned for drilling this year on the Gongola Basin to further test the prospects identified around Kolmani River-1, Nasara-1 and Kuzari-1. Shell had in 1999 drilled the first well in the Kolmani Rever-I but according the Anglo Dutch oil giant the amount of hydrocarbon found was not commercial.