History of the Industry
The Nigerian Oil and Gas industry, taken from when the first known Mineral Survey was carried out (Araromi, present Ondo State) in 1905, is just a little less than a century old.
Real exploration of the hydrocarbon potentials of the country commenced, however, in 1908. The efforts of the Nigerian Bitumen Corporation (NBC), a German concern, in that year were only able to accomplish some 16 shallow boreholes, confirming a line of oil seepage in the Eastern Dahomey Basin in Okitipupa, Western Region of Nigeria.
Although the results were not too encouraging the resultant First World War stalled the efforts. The attempts by NBC nevertheless spurred subsequent efforts by the Shell Overseas Exploration Company and D'Arcy Exploration to open up the country, particularly the subsequently prolific Niger Delta as a world-class hydrocarbon prospective region.
Although the Royal/Dutch company initially got the whole of Nigeria as one huge concession, the search was to be narrowed to the Niger Delta where in 1956, after having drilled Owerri, the first successful well was spudded at Oloibiri. (With that milestone, Nigeria's first shipment of crude oil (5,000barrels) hit the international market in 1958, 47 years ago, thus marking the birth of the world's most alluring crude oil plays.
The success naturally beckoned on other multinational companies, especially as the Shell-BP relinquished parts of its onshore licences in 1956, marking the entry of Mobil, Gulf Oil (now Chevron,) Elf Petroleum, Texaco etc.