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FG And Operators Look At Potential Gas Resources In Enugu

Following the fire event that lasted for nearly three weeks from a gas reservoir in the institution, the Federal Government, specialists, and operators in the oil sector are looking into the possibilities of gas deposits in Enugu State, particularly around the area of Caritas University.

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, an agency of the Federal Government, said that the fire from the gas reservoir at Caritas abruptly ended on its own. The government also declared that it had started a survey of hydrocarbon deposits throughout the nation.

The fire at the reservoir erupted on May 22, 2022, after workers who were drilling a borehole in the area noticed a gas leak from the site, which was discovered not to have erupted from a gas pipeline.

The Chief Executive Officer, NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, told journalists that investigations were ongoing at the site to ascertain the level of deposits in the reservoir.

He also stated that other states in Nigeria were being surveyed for hydrocarbon deposits as well, adding that this was being done by the Federal Government through the commission, its partner agencies and experts.

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Responding to a question on whether investigations were ongoing to determine the country’s hydrocarbon deposits, Komolafe, who was represented by the Owerri Zonal Coordinator, NUPRC, Enorense Amadasu, said, “Yes, that is presently being done.

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“The whole of Niger Delta has been covered by survey, some parts of the North-East, North-Central, North-West and also parts of the Anambra Basin, among others.

“The surveys are still going on and even from this (gas reservoir fire) result the commission is putting mechanisms in place to work with other stakeholders to see how to acquire seismic data that will further enable us to know exactly what kind of hydrocarbon that is in this part of the country.”

Speaking to concerns that the gas at Caritas might have erupted from a broken or vandalised pipeline, the NUPRC boss explained that various findings by stakeholders proved otherwise.

Komolafe said, “When this incident happened, the first thing that was done was to investigate whether any right-of-way was around that region, or whether if there was any pipeline carrying gas in the area.

“And, of course, it was established that there was no pipeline there. So it is very clear that the gas is not from any pipeline that is transporting gas.”

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The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Caritas University, Prof. Michael Orji, noted about 24 companies and organisations worked together in a bid to put out fire, but could not.

He, however, stated that the partners had agreed to support the government in carrying out further investigations on the site and across the state where necessary.

Reacting to the development, an energy law expert, Prof. Ayoade Adedayo, said thorough investigation should be carried out at the site of the gas leak.

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He said, “If there is no gas pipeline there and you have a gas leak then there is a natural gas reservoir under the ground there. The government should send in experts to survey that land and see the extent of the reservoir.

“It should try and determine how much of gas is there and this requires seismic studies. However, this could be a natural phenomenon that happens at times in other parts of the world.

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Adedayo further called on the university and neighbouring communities to be careful of the site since the actual nature of the gas field had yet to be determined.

“The implication is that if we don’t do the necessary assessment of the situation and there is a more damaging fire, it could cause destruction to lives and properties,” the energy expert stated.

 

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