With the ‘discovery’, development, production and abandonment of Oloibiri – Nigeria’s pioneering oilfield — between 1956 and 1979, the impression created was that Bayelsa remains a state with little oil, which investors could afford to ignore, especially because of prolonged era of hostilities that trailed the agitation for resource control.
However, a recent visit and interactions with experts in Yenogoa, the state capital, indicated that Bayelsa is still endowed with commercial reserves of crude oil and natural gas. Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair, NOGOF, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, said the availability of oil and gas has provided several investment opportunities for investors interested in the state.
In a document obtained by Vanguard, the state government that puts its petroleum reserves at about 10 billion barrels stated: “Great Investment potentials exists in the oil and gas sector in Bayelsa State considering the abundant natural endowment and the opportunities created by the peculiar environment.
“The oil and gas or petroleum sector of the economy is the most important in Bayelsa state, and indeed Nigeria, because it forms the pivot of the nation’s economy. Oil and gas from the Niger Delta region as a whole, account for about 90 per cent of national income. Bayelsa State contributes about 40 per cent of the nation’s wealth, through the mining of the abundant deposit of crude oil and gas in its domain.
“The state’s enormous reserves of crude oil creates a large room for foreign investment interest. Of the three giant oil reservoirs in the Niger Delta with a potential for 1 billion barrels production, two are in Bayelsa state, namely: Nembe Creek and Gbarain fields. Currently, the state produces 514,800 barrels (about 23.4 percent) of Nigeria’s 2.2 million barrels daily crude oil production. This makes Bayelsa, the second largest oil producing state in the country.
“Bayelsa is a beehive of oil industry activities as operators put up their facilities upland in the swamp, creeks and offshore. The major operators in the state are Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC), AGIP, ChevronTexaco, Consolidated oil and Statoil.”
It stated: “Recent developments in Nigeria’s petroleum sub-sector have facilitated local and private participation in the upstream activities. Some state governments in the Niger Delta region and indigenous companies have been offered marginal oil fields to prospect. With the abolition of the onshore-offshore, oil dichotomy, the littoral states of which Bayelsa is among; stand to derive enormous gains from oil and gas investments.
“Private refineries have also been licensed. Foreign investors have opportunities to discuss with the Bayelsa State Government for joint venture partnerships to operate in the upstream petroleum industry. Currently, the nation has three Refineries located at Port Harcourt, Rivers state, Warri, Delta State and Kaduna, Kaduna state. There is need for a refinery in Bayelsa State.The current production level and known reserves in the state would support investment in a private refinery.”
In the area of gas, it stated: “Nigeria flares about 70 per cent of its associated natural gas in the Niger Delta region. Such flares are found in all flow stations spread onshore and offshore in Bayelsa and other states in the Niger Delta, even as gas gathering projects of Chevron Texaco and Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG), and Shell (SPDC) Gbarain/Ubie project are ongoing.The Oluasiri Gas supply plant in Nembe local government area of the state supplies 53 per cent of all NLNG’s gas feed stock in Bonny, Rivers State.
“Opportunities exist for investors to build gas plants and utilize available gas for production of LPG cooking gas and industrial gases, which are in high demand. In the urban centers, LPG is the most sought source of cooking energy. In Yenagoa, the state capital, there is no LPG plant.Retailers of cooking gas get their stock from Port Harcourt, the capital of neighbouring Rivers State. “Petroleum production in the Niger Delta offers potential for investment in the petrochemical industry for the production of chemicals and allied products for industrial use, for example plastics and fertilizer industries.The oil industry is vast, and technically so.
In Bayelsa State it offers opportunities for technical services, ranging from seismic and other geotechnical,” drilling, pipeline, dredging, water transport, diving and underwater services to environmental response management services etc.”
The Commissioner, Trade, Industry and Investment, Funkazi Crooks, who said the security situation has improved, added that investors would be encouraged to stake their resources in the state, mainly through the provision of incentives and infrastructure.