Enugu’s hydrocarbon prospects as FG and Caritas discuss environmental issues



The Federal Government and stakeholders met Monday to discuss environmental challenges and the potential for hydrocarbons in the state, just a few weeks after gas deposits caused a fire at the Caritas University in Enugu.

Contractors at the institution had run into gas deposits while trying to dig for water, which caused a fire to start that raged for days.

The stakeholders said yesterday that a series of investigations, including actions that might result in hydrocarbon prospectivity, might start in the area while the university, the state government, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), and other stakeholders fought to put out the fire and close the well.

Enugu State has been vying for recognition as a state that produces oil. Chukwuma Utazi, a representative for Enugu North Senatorial District, expressed concern about his state’s absence from the list of oil-producing states even though Kogi State, which borders the Coal City state, was recently designated an oil-producing state.

He insisted that OPL 915 and 916 in the Anambra Basin belonged to Enugu State in response to the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission’s (RMAFC) recent recognition of Kogi and Anambra states as oil-producing states.

NUPRC stated in Enugu yesterday that the Federal Government was already gathering necessary data at the site, despite the fact that the Federal Government had already reserved 30% of the oil profit from Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) production sharing contracts, risk and service contracts, and the like for oil exploration.

Although it’s possible that the gas deposit is just on the surface because the university fire started on its own, the NUPRC Chief Executive highlighted that inquiry and data gathering are being sped up to allow the commission to come to a meaningful decision.

He said that a number of data gathering, analysis, and production processes would be necessary, making it impossible for the commission to make a speedy conclusion at the site. He was speaking on behalf of NUPRC’s Owerri Zonal Coordinator, Enorense Amadasu.

He stated that there was no gas pipeline leak at the location where the incident happened, and that no pipeline runs through the region.

Despite surveys having been conducted in some areas of the Northern region and the Niger Delta, according to Komolafe, the survey was still ongoing.

“The commission is putting in place a framework to work with other stakeholders to see how they can gather further seismic data that will further enable us to know exactly what kind of hydrocarbon deposit is in this area of the country,” the commission said.

“There is a school of thinking that claims what occurred here was caused by shadow gas, which is emitted throughout the Enugu region. If the postulation is true, then depending on the volume, eventually the volume will go off, which is what happened in this case. As I previously stated, we still need to add more survey data and complete the interpretation in order to pinpoint the precise location of hydrocarbon accumulation in relation to this region.

Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the governor of the State, stated that all required measures had been taken to guarantee the safety of the area where the gas fire broke out.

The governor, who was represented by Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure Greg Nnaji, stated that the stakeholders, particularly the school and the NUPRC, should be thanked for the roles they have performed.

The cost of plugging the well and cleaning up the university has not yet been determined, according to Prof. Micheal Orji, the school’s deputy vice-chancellor, who was speaking at the news conference.

While stakeholders were still gathering to find a long-term solution, he announced that the fire had started on its own, an event he called a miracle.

Orji stated that although the school is continuing its search for water, substantial work would be done to prevent a repeat of this circumstance.

To be able to obtain crisper images, “We will conduct several seismic studies. When that is finished, a ton of knowledge on the technical environment will be produced, which might subsequently give guidance,” Orji said.

He said that in order to establish whether the hydrocarbon resource in the vicinity is sustainable, the school is currently collaborating with NUPRC.

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