15 August, Sweetcrude, Ilorin – The government of Kwara State Sunday announced the discovery of crude oil in the state, but officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have expressed reservations over the claim.
The state government said in a statement by Dr. Muideen Akorede, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the Governor, that “the high grade light crude oil” was discovered in Ara Orin in Irepodun Local Government area of the state.
If confirmed, Kwara would become the first state in Northern Nigeria to hit oil after decades of search in the region.
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed announced the oil discovery in Ilorin, the state capital, while receiving visitors at the Government House. According to the governor, the discovery was first highlighted by a farmer who saw a substance he suspected to be crude oil spouting from his farm and seven other adjoining sites. He reportedly alerted the state government.
Ahmed said geologists from the state Ministry of Industry and Solid Minerals were subsequently directed to confirm whether the substance was indeed crude oil and if so, identify the blend.
He said the substance was not only confirmed to be crude oil, but was identified as “Bonny Light, a high-grade of crude oil preferred by European and American refineries due to its unique properties”.
The statement said the find was further verified through independent analysis by a private oil company, which it said also confirmed the government’s findings.
Ahmed however said further tests were being carried out to determine if the crude oil was in commercial quantity, adding that the finding was a welcome boost to the state’s economy “and Kwara’s emerging reputation as one of Nigeria’s most conducive investment destinations”.
But reacting to the claim, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs at the NNPC, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, said such a claim must first be verified by experts since petroleum resources belong to the entire federation. “Oil is not water, so such substance must be tested by government experts to confirm what it is,” he said.