When it was announced on 15 January 1956 that oil had been discovered in commercial quantity in Oloibiri (in present-day Bayelsa State), it opened a new vista for Nigeria. In the following years, international oil companies (IOCs) flooded into Nigeria and were given the licence to operate oil fields by the government of the day. The discovery of oil and the recent commencement of exploration at the Kolmani oil field on the border between Bauchi and Gombe states brought the world’s attention to Nigeria again, despite that the rest of the industrialised world is trying to move away from fossil fuels.
Some of these companies began operating solely in the upstream sector of the petroleum industry where the oil fields’ business interests are taken care of. While some of them have diversified into the downstream sector or completely left the Nigerian petroleum industry, new players in the sector are taking over the oil fields left by the previous companies.
Therefore, with oil being Nigeria’s major revenue earner, it is pertinent to ask…
What are oil fields?
An oil field is a location where liquid oil has accumulated underground in several (possibly connected) reservoirs. An oil field, as used in industrial terminology, suggests that there is an item of economic value such as petroleum (crude oil or natural gas) deserving of commercial attention and extraction. Oil fields can span hundreds of kilometres across the surface, which means that extraction efforts can be substantial and dispersed throughout the region. In addition to extraction machinery, support facilities, pipelines to move oil elsewhere, and exploratory wells probing the reservoir’s boundaries may be present at the location, which may be on land or at sea.
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Oil fields can exist anyplace that the underlying geology of the rock permits them to, which means that some fields may be very far from civilisation, including underwater. Construction of an operation at an oil field can be a logistically challenging task because it requires not just infrastructure like roads and accommodation for personnel, but also equipment for extraction and transportation. The lifespan of the oil field must be considered when designing this infrastructure because of how long production can last.
Oil fields in Nigeria and their locations
Nigeria has made several billions of dollars from oil sales since it was first discovered in Oloibiri in 1956. Nigeria is currently the second-largest producer of crude oil in Africa and the 14th-largest oil producer in the world. This reputation was gotten due to the functionality of the various oil fields across the country over the years.
Below are some of the major oil fields in Nigeria and their locations.
Agbami oil field
The Agbami Field was the second significant deepwater oil field off the Niger Delta to be found, the first having been Shell’s Bonga Field, and it was discovered in 1998.
Nearly 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) of water surrounds the field, which is off the centre of the Niger Delta. The indigenous oil company, Famfa Oil (owned by the Alakija family) is in charge of this facility. Star Deep Water Limited, a subsidiary of Chevron, Petrobras (Brazil), Statoil, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) (the national oil company of Nigeria) also have some stake in this oil field.
Akpo oil field
The Akpo field, which became operational in 2000, is situated in Nigeria’s ultra-deepwater. The sea depths at Akpo, on OML 130, which is about 200 kilometres from Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, range from 1,100 to 1,700 meters, and it is located around 200 kilometres (124 miles) from Port Harcourt (3,600 to 5,600 feet).
Akpo is a gas and condensate field that is run by Total, who also owns a 24 per cent stake in the venture. CNOOC has a 45 per cent interest in the license, Petrobras has a 16 per cent interest, NNPC has a 10 per cent interest, and Sapetro has a 5 per cent interest.
Out of the 44 wells – 22 production wells, 20 water injection wells, and two gas injection wells – for the Akpo field development project, 22 have already been completed and are connected to a floating production storage and offloading unit (FPSO).
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Bomu oil field
Situated in the Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State is an oil field known as Bomu. The oil field, comprising 165 feet of oil-bearing sands and 265 feet of gas-bearing sands of the Agbada formation, was found in the discovery well, which was spudded in February 1958. A 12-inch pipeline connecting Bomu to the town of Bonny through Anam was originally constructed and put into service in 1959, the same year that production started.
With 26 oil-producing wells and three water-producing wells, production in Nigeria peaked before the civil war at 75,000 barrels per day.
Bonga oil field
Oil is produced at the Bonga Field, which is situated off the coast of Nigeria. Formerly known as Block OPL 212, the oil field has been renamed OML 118. At a typical water depth of 1,000 meters, the field is about 60 km2 (3,300 ft). Government authorisation for the field’s development was provided in 2002 after it was identified in 1996. Initial production on the field began in November 2005.
An FPSO ship is used to work the field. Both natural gas and oil are produced at the field; the gas is routed back to Nigeria where an LNG facility exports it for export, while the oil is discharged onto tankers. Six thousand barrels of oil or so are found in the field.
Shell Nigeria, who owns 55 per cent of the licence, is in charge of running the field. Total Energies (12 per cent), Nigerian Agip Oil Company (12.5 per cent), and Exxon (20 per cent) are the other participants in the field development.
Bonny oil field
The Bonny Oil Field is located in the traditional seaside town of Bonny Island in Rivers State, on the Bight of Bonny. Bonny is an important and historical town in Nigeria as it serves as the capital of the Bonny Kingdom and was the commerce hub for the slave trade business between the 15th and 19th centuries.
Today, oil is mostly exported from Bonny Island. The oil field is said to be the biggest in Africa with a capacity to process and export 1.25 million barrels per day.
Oloibiri oil field
As earlier mentioned, the first tranche of crude oil in commercial quantity was discovered in Olobiri. The Oloibiri oil field is situated in the Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. About 13.75 square kilometres (5.31 square miles) of the Oloibiri field is located in a swamp inside OML 29.
Currently, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited is in charge of running the field. Its predecessor, Shell Darcy, was the field’s first manager. The country’s first commercial oil exports were produced from this oil field in 1958. Over 20 million barrels of oil have been reportedly produced by the oil field.
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