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In Borno Why discovery of crude oil might be bad news for residents

The discovery was announced by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Jamila Shua’ra in Abuja.

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Borno state Governor, Kashim Shettima play

Borno state Governor, Kashim Shettima

(Guardian)

The Nigerian government, in December 2016, announced that it had discovered large quantities of crude oil in Borno state. 

The disclosure was made by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Jamila Shua’ra during the presentation of the 2016 petroleum sector scorecard in Abuja.

“Our doggedness culminated in the discovery of oil in new frontiers – Lagos and Borno,” Shua’ra said at the time.

The government listed the discovery of crude oil as one of its achievements, but the find might not be such good news for residents of the state.

This can be deduced from the fact that the oil-rich Niger Delta has remained under-developed despite the discovery of oil in the area in 1956.

Experts are also of the opinion that there isn’t much substance to the government’s claims since it has refused to provide necessary details about the discovery.

“For one, we don’t even know what company supposedly made this discovery,” Risk Analyst at global advisory firm, Teneo, Manji Cheto told Quartz Africa."

“In the absence of important details such as the exact location of the alleged oil discovery, the companies behind it, the potential reserves, news about oil finds in Borno state is best treated with a healthy dose of skepticism.

“As things stand, there is absolutely no basis for authorities to refer to Borno state as an oil-producing state; this is simply factually incorrect,” Cheto added.

His sentiment was mirrored by the Head of Energy Research at Ecobank Nigeria, Dolapo Oni who urged the Nigerian government to pay more attention to deep water exploration.

“I think until proper evidence of this discovery is provided, such as an oil well drilled and core samples tested to show, even if not commercial, there is some hydrocarbon presence, the announcement may be disregarded,” he told Quartz.

“I have always advocated that more attention be paid to passing the Petroleum Industry Bill and encouraging IOCs (international oil companies) to explore our deepwater potential which has seen very little exploration since the 2000s,” he added.

ALSO READ: Court rules in Nigeria's favour, says oil firm has case to answer

Meanwhile, Borno-born writer, Mark Amaza has told Quartz that his people are happy about the discovery and “are waiting for what it will bring."

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