Four Oil Wells To Begin Drilling In Cross River State Within Weeks? BY AGBA JALINGO

In Breaking News, Opinion

For those who have reached out to me to ask questions about speculations that four oil wells are to start drilling in Cross River State within weeks, this is what I know.

In August 2023, the Press was informed that over 30 oil wells capped about 65 years ago by Shell Petroleum in Mbiabo Ikot Offiong community in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State have been identified. Abandoned and out-of-use oil wells that have become harmful are usually “capped” to minimize the harmful effects on the surrounding communities.

The Clan Head of Mbiabo Ikot Offiong, Etubom Nya Asuquo, who is also the immediate past Nigerian Ambassador to Uganda, and former lawmaker representing Calabar/Odukpani Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, told the Press that: “over the past eight years, I have been working to make sure that Cross River State becomes an oil-producing State again. I have been working on it and I identified two oil fields in Cross River State, which I registered in what is now called NUPRC (a Federal Government entity that registers and gives licenses for oil exploration).

“I registered two oil fields in the Nigerian Oil Concession Map in 2018 and the two oil fields I registered were OPL 2020, which is the oil field established in Ikot Offiong territory, and OPL 2021 which spans from Adiabo towards Akpabuyo. The fight between Ikot Offiong in Cross River and Oku Iboku in Akwa Ibom is a result of that oil field that we have.

“We have registered those oil fields and I have been in discussions with our State governor, that he should take over the matter from where I have reached to the next level and that is for him to get the Federal Government to allocate those oil fields to companies because it is only the Federal Government that has that power to allocate oil fields to companies for exploration. We are now waiting for the Federal government to allocate them so that work can start”.

This is the much that I know. If there are four oil wells that will start drilling in the State soon, that means the State Government may have been working since last August to add an additional two to the two earlier registered. Whether the wells have been allocated to companies, I do not know. Whether they will start drilling in weeks, I also do not know. And since it is also reported that the governor himself is the one who let the cat out of the bag at a recent meeting he had with State APC stakeholders, we have no reason to doubt him until after the few weeks have elapsed. But on the whole, it will be a thing of great joy if our State is returned to the list of oil-producing States in Nigeria.

Citizen Agba Jalingo is the Publisher of CrossRiverWatch and a rights activist, a Cross Riverian, and writes from Lagos.

NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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