By Yemie Adeoye
TheFederal GovernmentÂ hasannounced that its effort in boosting the countryâ€™s oil reserve base is being threatened as itÂ currently facesÂ challenges against crude oil exploration and production in the Chad Basin and the countryâ€™s deepwater, even as it also charged oil industry stakeholders to come forward with good and reliable advise on certain critical areas of the industry to help move the sector forward.
Speaking during the week at the Nigeria Oil and Gas Technology Conference held in Lagos, the Minister ofÂ Petroleum Resources, Mrs.Diezani Alison-MaduekeÂ said that crude oil exploration in Nigeriaâ€™s frontier areas located in Chad, Bida, Benue, Sokoto, Dahomey and Anambra Basins are faced with critical challenges.
These challenges militating against oil field development in the areas, she said, are hinged on integrity and mapping of oil wells.
According to her, the formation in these basins makes it difficult to estimate appropriate levels of oil wells and the prospect areas.Â â€œTo maximize resources deployed in these basins, it is necessary to deploy intelligent well appraisal systems, transmission of real time well data to specialist across the globe and this will involve Broadband capacity technology,â€ she noted.
She also said that the discovery, exploration and exploitation of deep offshore is one area the country has to invest heavily in order to optimize her investment.Â Madueke however noted that deepwater fields also pose great challenge to operators because of the difficult terrain, especially initiating well control operation, using electronic instead of the traditional hydraulic control systems presently being used in the country.
She also identified the method of deploying ocean marine structures such as oil rigs, platforms and subsea well protection equipment as a major challenge and urged the operators to find solution to this problem.
â€œGenerating and transmission of real time well data in deep waters would pose great challenges because of the difficulty in underwater wireless transmission. An alternative to this would be to utilize fibre optic umbilical line to the surface, and then transmit through wireless to a control centre. Future technology innovation in deep water oil platform would be to find alternative energy using the ocean waves to generate electricity for use on platform or rigs,â€ she added.
The minister, who acknowledged that the countryâ€™s oil and gas technology is well known to be a premier gathering for problem solving and solution, also charged the oil industry stakeholders to advise the Federal Government on certain critical areas of the industry.
She identified the areas to include; marginal field production; initiatives and experience in front end engineering design (FEED); subsea processing â€“new concept in field development for Nigeria and improved pipeline operation.
Other areas of assistance, according to her, include; gas-to-power technology as options for power sector growth in the country and also new techniques for utilizing gas in Nigeria â€™s domestic market.
The minister also assured the operators that the various policy instruments devised by the government would also help to mitigate these challenges.
She enumerated the policy instruments to include the amnesty programme for repentant militants; the oil and gas industry reforms as encapsulated in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and the enactment of the Nigerian Content Development Act of 2010.