June 17, 2009

Second Geological & Geophysical Centre in the world opens in Nigeria

By Ebele Orakpo
In its bid to gear itself to match up to the   task of deep offshore oil exploration   two years after signing the Production Sharing Contract, PSC, ONGC Mittal Energy Limited, OMEL has set up a full-fledged establishment with human resource and state-of-the-art equipment as the company unveiled its new office and seismic data processing and interpretation centre in Lagos.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the Special Adviser to the President on Petroleum Matters, Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah, said the ceremony “portends something very nice for the industry because this is the first full-fledged, high-powered model Geological &Geophysical (G&G) centre that has been set up in this country. It is as a result of their dedication to their partnership with us that they have done this. And it is something that I believe has set the pace that others will copy from.”

According to CEO of OMEL, Mr. VijayLakshmi Ravindranath, the occasion was a historic landmark for the company. He expressed gratitude to the Federal Government and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC “for providing all necessary support required for a new entity to establish its footstep in Nigeria,” stating that the company has the backing of experienced promoters like ONGC India, reputed to be one of the largest and most successful national oil companies in the world.

He said the company which was formed in 2005 as an incorporated joint venture company between India’s ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) and Mittal Investments, is currently operating two deep offshore exploration blocks – OPL 279 and OPL 285 – in Nigeria. OMEL’s wholly owned Nigeria registered company, OMEL Exploration and Production Nigeria Ltd is the operator of OPL 279 whereas OMEL Energy Nigeria Ltd is the operator of OPL 285.

The Production Sharing Contracts, PSC  for the two blocks were executed on February 23, 2007, with TOTAL and a local company, EMO E &P as the other equity partners in the two blocks.

The G&G Centre, according to a Press release by the company, is unique in the sense that it is first of its kind established by its promoters outside India, underlining the importance the company attaches to its operations in Nigeria.

The centre is equipped with software and hardware adequate to undertake the geo-scientific studies in both the blocks during the exploration phase under the PSC.

The highlight of the occasion was the inauguration of the new office and centre by Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah. Also present at the occasion were the High Commissioner of India to Nigeria, His Excellency, Mr. Mahesh Sachdev, as well as senior officials from Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS and the promoter companies of OMEL,  ONGC, India’s national oil company and Mittal Investments Sarl.

Reacting to insinuation that Nigeria’s offshore blocks may not be as rich as people are meant to believe, Egbogah said: “Who says that? In the whole world, Nigeria is second to none in terms of success ratios in offshore activities. So this information is not correct because we are second to none. In fact, without doing any serious work at all, and you just go there and drill wells, for every five wells you drill, four of them will yield oil.”

The Presidential Adviser praised the company saying: “they are the fastest developing company in Nigeria. Of all the activities we have in the industry, they have the best project management technology in the world and we are going to benefit from that and they are ahead of all the others. All those who won oil blocks in 2005, 2006 and 2007. They are moving faster than any other group so we are very happy,” he said.

On why Indian companies have not deemed it necessary to set up refineries in Nigeria as that is one area the country has serious problem , the Indian High