Nigerians gripped by fear as more oil is discovered

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A crippling fear of unquiet and further quagmire has gripped some Nigerians as the country discovers another oil field. The oil curse that has plagued African countries is no myth to Nigerians who have been led to believe that, rather than prosperity, this new discovery could become a new source contention.

The oil reserve, recently discovered by Total Upstream Nigeria Limited at the Akpo oil field on Oil Mining Lease 130 offshore, is reported to be richly endowed with enormous gas deposits that would produce about 320 million standard cubic feet of gas per day to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas plant in Bonny. Nigeria’s oil production is also estimated to grow by another 600,000 barrels of oil per day by 2013.

State-of-the-art facilities from Korea have been used to construct vessels needed to transport the gas safely to the NLNG plant in Bonny. The construction of the vessels, reported to have been installed with the highest gas flare mast and topside modules in the world, required about 45 million man hours from both Korean and Nigerian engineers.


Even though the discovery promises the availability of gas and petrol for Nigerian consumption while increasing revenue and more job opportunities, Nigerians have shown little, if any at all, enthusiasm about the new find. “Who knows, this may lead to more civil unrest. The people in high places could begin to scramble over the oil and its revenues,” says Mr. Odukoya, a taxi driver in Lagos city, former Nigerian capital.

Mrs. Sarah Uzoma, a Nigerian secondary school teacher was quoted as saying, “I am afraid and worried about these (discoveries) … because they will begin to cause wars and kill us the poor masses in order to carry out their operations. Politicians, foreign corporations, people in the military, and the people up there will only get richer, that’s what will happen !”

No OPEC quota

Addressing the press, Mr. Emeka Ugona, Nigeria Interface Manager of the Akpo project, indicated that “by the end of April we intend to have commenced our gas supply arrangement to the NLNG, (in) May we intend to have gotten up to 175,000 barrels per day. This output is not to be bounded by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota”

This oil discovery is reported to be complemented by another oil production field which comes on stream by 2011 with an estimated output of 150,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and another oil production field which is expected to come on stream by 2013 with another 180,000 barrels.

According to Mr. Ugona the absence of an OPEC quota translates into “enormous gains for the country as the sale of this product (condensate) is not regulated by Opec.”

In the meantime, Mrs Uzoma says, “We may never see any difference, or any improvement in our lives.”

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