The Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) has expressed satisfaction with outcomes of its ongoing bitumen drilling operations by its staff.
The exercise is aimed at updating data on bitumen resources in the country, while also training the bitumen drilling crew on hazards that could be encountered in bitumen drilling process.
This is as the Federal Government prepares to auction bitumen blocks across the country to investors. A move that aims to harness the economic potential of bitumen value chain, toward the realization of the set goal of wealth and jobs creation as well as diversification of the economy.
It is pertinent to note that it is only after NGSA gathers reliable and adequate data on bitumen from sites across the country that government can auction the blocks to local and foreign investors, who will have the opportunity to locally develop the bitumen industry.
Director General of the Agency, Dr Garba Abdulrazaq who expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the ongoing drilling operations along 110km bitumen belt of Nigeria, said results have so far shown that Nigeria has ample bitumen resources to support the proposed auctioning of bitumen blocks.
The Director General, who was represented by the Director, Regional Geology, Mr. Pade Davis, during an inspection tour of some bitumen drilling sites in Ogun State, said: “So far, we have recorded remarkable success in the ongoing effort by the NGSA to provide reliable data on bitumen in Nigeria, and as you can see from the core boxes, we are impressed with what we got. Hence, highlighting the critical role of NGSA.
“It must generate reliable geological data on bitumen in the country, since government is working to concession bitumen blocks to investors.”
“We want to ensure that personnel of the bitumen drilling teams are well equipped with knowledge needed for best results, as well as know how to avoid foreseeable challenges like blow out which can occur in bitumen drilling, if certain best practices are not observed.”
While saying that bitumen has been identified as one of the minerals that can propel the Nigerian economy back to track, he disclosed that Nigeria’s bitumen resource is a belt that spans 110 kilometers along four states, namely, Edo, Ondo, Lagos and Ogun, adding that there is need to update the existing data on bitumen resource in Nigeria toward the holistic development of the bitumen value chain in Nigeria.
He expressed concern that Nigeria currently spends so much money on importation of bitumen. The Director General assured that the NGSA is already generating the needed data on bitumen occurrence in Nigeria, adding that it will be a major source of revamping the economy, especially that bitumen is very important in asphalt production.
“For this reason, the NGSA is drilling in the blocks A, B & C along the bitumen belt of 110 kilometers, and also carrying out other activities to support the initiative,” he added.
In a related development, the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency also trained 40 personnel of the bitumen drilling crew on site, at Ososo, Ogun State.
Director General, NGSA, Dr Garba Abdulrazaq who was represented by the Director of Regional Geology, Mr. Pade Davis, declared the training, open. He said “government is currently trying to diversify the economy, adding that the Nigerian mining sector is particularly instrumental to the realization of governments set goal of economic diversification.
According to him, “one of the benefits of the training and project, is that it will at first help identify Nigeria’s bitumen resources, and then lead to the development of the resources while attracting domestic and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), adding that the overall effect is wealth and jobs creation, as well as economic development and diversification.
The essence of the training is to ensure that the drilling crew knows the rules, and ensure that they adhere to world class safety standards during drilling operations. “The training will enhance the capacity of drilling crew and lead to improved results,” he added.
Chief Executive Officer, Geocardinal Engineering Services, Engr Titilope Adeyemo who convened the training of the crew at Ososa drilling site, said: “During drilling, operators could encounter high formation pressures that could lead to blow out,” adding that the essence of the training is to ensure that the NGSA, in line with international best practices, and in conformity with international standards, educate the drilling teams on how to prevent blowout in bitumen drilling operations.
The training which had high points of very interacting experience sharing was described as “a robust training on how drilling crew can moderately control incidences of blow out during bitumen drilling operations.”
Engr Adeyemo emphasized the importance of prevention, and explained that in as a result of the robust training, the crew will be able to avert instances of blow-out, adding that blow-out can lead to loss of lives and mining equipment, as well as environmental pollution.