Five years earlier, Adiele thought he could make friends with Jim so they could spend time talking computers and well development, but he found out that Jim was not the one that dwelt on small talk. The man was in a world of his own, developing programs that could detect oil where they were, and designed systems that could extract the oil even in difficult offshore environments.
Jim looked up from his work.
“Yes Mr. Amadi, how can I help you?” he asked, with a frown.
“We have just concluded the computations of the survey work we did at Bornu Plain, and the result is what I brought in. It is quite intriguing,” Amadi replied.
“What is intriguing about that place? You should have sent one of your engineers with it. I don’t have time for it. You needn’t have come by yourself,” Jim replied, with a wave; already returning to his computer.
“I would have sent an engineer or one of my workers, but with the result we got, I felt I should bring it in myself. I hope you will take a look before you go into your management meeting today,” Adiele replied.
“Why is that? What is so special about the result?”
“The signs are all there for a massive crude oil deposit. By our calculations, the deposits are large enough for exploration activities and subsequent development of oilfields to start immediately.”
“Are you talking about Bornu Plain and the Chad Basin? With all the dry wells drilled by National Oil Corporation of Nigeria (NOCN)?” Jim asked with narrowed eyes, as he swiveled to face Adiele.
“Yes. Technically it is Bornu Plain. The Chad Basin does not have any commercial deposits of crude oil yet. Just take a look at this report,” Adiele said, reaching out to Jim with a large volume, bound in a box file .
Jim snatched the box file, opened it to the Executive Summary and quickly read through it. He flipped through more pages and nodded in approval.
“What page do you have seismic shots of the rock structure?” he asked, excitement creeping into his voice and the crinkle of a smile appearing momentarily.
“That will be on page 415 to 465,” Adiele replied as Jim opened to page 415, studied the soil profile, soil structure and several shots of black smudges on the rocks. He nodded in agreement.
“What pages are the data on probable deposits?”
“Pages 520 to 585,” Adiele said as Jim flipped through it and got to page 520. The print in the report was of small character and the pages were filled with columns and columns of data. Jim traced the columns with his left index finger and when he got to the total he wrote it down on a note pad on his table. He did that for some sample columns, added up the totals and nodded some more, a wide smile spreading across his face.
He opened up to the last data page, took a look at the grand total and raised an eyebrow. He lifted his head from the report. His face lit up with a smile.
“These are impressive results. What are the chances that these are actual crude oil deposits?”
“Our instruments are good. You know how it is. The accuracy level is quite high, up to 92%,” Adiele said.
“Excellent, excellent, I will not waste any more time delaying it. Can you wait for the management meeting that will be coming up in the next hour? I want you to talk to the management so we can get started on this project immediately.”
“That is okay. I actually came in person because I suspected you might want me to defend what I have done to the rest of your management. This discovery if it proves right has enormous implications. I will wait, no matter how long,” Adiele replied.
“You’re right. But you do not have to wait,” he said, “we can actually reschedule a meeting with you for another day.”
“No, I will wait.”
“Alright. I should be going to see the Deputy Managing Director shortly, so if you don’t mind you can wait in the secretary’s office.”
“Thank you much. I am yours all day,” Adiele replied, walking back to the secretary’s office to wait for Jim to finish up his arrangements.
The management meeting of Olson Petroleum was delayed because the Deputy Managing Director was held up at the airport in Abuja. His flight was one hour late, so Adiele had to wait longer than he should have. He had gone with Jim Olson to the conference room, venue of the meeting. They were early so he sat at the conference room annex as the managers and heads of departments came in and sat on their designated seats.
The managers sat and chatted about inconsequential matters around the oval shaped table. They were getting bored and tired of drinking orange juice or water when the door on the northern end of the conference room flew open to bring in the DMD, Michael (Mike) Woodard. He took a sit at the head of the table and went right to the heart of the agenda.
“I am sorry for this delay. There was delay at the airport in Abuja. Now, the agenda for this meeting had been distributed, by email. It is the usual routine, so if there is any urgent or special matter that needs to be handled, let us get at it,” Mike said in opening.
“Ultimate Survey and Seismic Ltd just came in with their report from Bornu Plain. I think we need to look at it. It may need immediate action,” Jim said hurriedly, as soon as Mike was done speaking.
“Is Bornu Plain not that dry waste land that we should not have gotten into in the first instance?” Hassan Adamu, the Admin and Finance Manager shot back with a bewildered look.
“That may have been true, but the result of this survey appears to be different. There seem to be a sizeable deposit of crude oil and gas in Bornu Plain that approximates 60% of the deposits and reserves of the Niger Delta, and I am being conservative.”
“You must be joking. How is that possible? How could all the exploratory activities miss such a huge deposit before this time?” Mike asked, frowning.
“I do not want to steal Adiele’s show, so I would like for him to explain it himself,” Jim replied.
“Is he around? Or should we schedule a meeting to talk to him?” Mike queried.
“He is around, sitting in the annex.”
“In that case, let us get him to answer some questions,” Mike said and picked up the intercom on his table.
“Ngozi, is there a Mr. Adiele Amadi in your office?” Mike asked.
“Ask him to come into the conference room,” Mike instructed as the door to the conference room opened to let in Adiele, who walked to a seat and stood few centimeters away from the conference table. He did not sit down, but kept standing until was invited to.
His buttocks had barely touched the seat when Mike Woodard threw the first question.
“Mr. Amadi, I am holding here a report of the seismic survey your firm did at Bornu Plain. And the summary Jim passed unto me shows an enormous quantity of crude oil deposits. How is that possible? Are you sure your instruments are not faulty? Or that there was no error in calculations?”
“There is no doubt about the results. Our instruments are not faulty, and our calculations are correct. The truth is that all efforts at exploration were concentrated on the Chad Basin, in part because a small quantity of crude was found in the late 1970s when exploration started.
“If you looked at the data from NOCN, there were tar sands, crude oil bearing sands in swats in the Chad Basin but there were no actual deposits. No effort was made to survey Bornu Plain,” Adiele explained.
“So we must be the lucky ones to have hit upon this massive find.” Albert Nkumeh, the Head of Engineering Services frowned. Not impressed.
“It was not luck. It was actually your foresight that made this possible. If you recall, five years ago when NOCN mapped the area and placed the oil blocks in the open market, nobody was interested and the prices of the blocks in Bornu Plain were much lower than the going rate for similar sized blocks in Nigeria and other parts of the world.
“That was the reason Olson Petroleum was able to get ten blocks at a time in the area. It was unusual for NOCN to allow one company to acquire that many blocks in one contiguous zone.
“I can’t explain why you guys chose to buy in, spending that much money on all ten oil blocks, but your investment was a wise one, it has paid off,” Adiele said.
“But I am still curious about how the exploration activities could have missed out on this large a deposit,” Oti Oloko, the Production Manager persisted.
“I believe that your doubts arise as a result of the large deposits of crude oil.
“I do not blame you for doubting. It is hard to believe. But take a look at this map of Nigeria,” Adiele said as he brought out a physical features map of Nigeria, and placed it on a flip board chart, “The states of North Eastern Region are Bornu, Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe, Yobe and Bauchi.
“The Bornu Plain runs from River Ngadda Valley through River Gongolo down to Benue. Slightly to the North is River Kamadugu Yobe down to Kanadugu Gana, from here to here,” he said pointing at the map, with his pen.
“Now the Lake Chad Basin covers this area, and as you move out to Kamadugu Yobe and Ngadda, the tar sands of Lake Chad that should be oil bearing thin out. The rocks under this belt across Lake Chad are porous. That is why they could not hold oil deposits.
“But as you move through the river valleys to River Benue the rocks change to igneous rocks and are impervious, so whatever oil deposits may have percolated through the tar sands to this belt of rocks running in a band from Bauchi in the western part of the zone to Taraba State are solid igneous rocks that hold oil. And the oil accumulated here. That is the best explanation that I can give, based on the rock structure,” he concluded.
“That sounds good. What is the efficiency of your instruments, how do we know that your estimates are accurate enough to be depended on for planning?” Craig Aickman, the Contracts Manager asked.
“Our instruments have an efficiency rating of 92%. They see through the soil clearly. Their performance is excellent,” Adiele replied.
“But 92% is not too accurate. And we do not want to spend more money redoing what you should have done to begin with,” Mike said, showing displeasure.
“What I mean is that our instruments are the best in the industry. You cannot find any better ones. But in this exercise, you cannot say for sure one hundred percent. All calculations based on the characteristics of crude oil and soil types as well as rock types confirm our data,” Adiele added.
“Is there any other question for Mr. Amadi?” Mike asked. But there was none, so Jim concluded.
“Mr. Amadi, thanks for a good job. You will be contacted if we need any additional information. Please leave your telephone number with Rose, my secretary.” To which Adiele nodded and walked up to the flip chart board to bring down his map of Nigeria,
“Thank you,” he muttered.
Adiele gave them four more volumes of his report, before stepping out of the conference room as the managers of Olson Petroleum crowded closer to the large volume reports that had been presented by Ultimate Survey and Seismic Ltd. It was Oti Oloko who broke the excitement that was obvious.
“Let us take a look at the implications of this discovery. It is of enormous proportions and will mean lots of work for us in the next few years.”
“I agree. Let us start planning immediately. The next obvious step is to confirm the find and to award a contract for a resurvey of specific sites. If we can confirm this find, then we can continue with more work,” Jim said.
“That is true. We are going to spend the next forty five minutes to clear up routine matters, take a break then come back for an Action Plan for the Bornu Plain project,” Mike said from the head of the table.
They shifted back into their chairs, pulled out their files and prepared for the Agenda of the day.