God’s Christmas present to Mike Adenuga – the Sun Nigeria
For a man who is a great donor, God chose on December 25, 1991, thirty years ago to surprise and bless Dr. Mike Adenuga (GCON), one of the richest men in the world today with a gift of ocean depths.
Adenuga had established Consolidated Oil Limited in August 1984 as a company transporting cargoes for the NNPC to deliver them to whomever they want around the world, but it was in 1989 that Dr Ebi Omatsola, geologist and petroleum specialist from Shell, came on board to conduct oil exploration. Consolidated Oil mission. In late November 1991, Consolidated Oil spotted an oil well in an unusual location, 50 to 60 kilometers northeast of Okitipupa in Ondo State. No one believed that a place like this could produce oil in commercial quantities. From the start, all the experts called the place not attractive for oil exploration. In the language of experts, it was a “heavy oil” area, meaning that the possibility of finding oil was non-existent. But Adenuga’s intuition and research suggested otherwise. Something inside was telling the man they call “the guru” that this is the oil well to be explored. The oil well was OPL 113 or Oil Prospecting Lease 113. It was located in the shallows off the coast of Ondo State. Oil Minister Professor Jubril Aminu recalled how Mike Adenuga kept bothering him, begging to be awarded this particular well. “I don’t know what he saw there, but he kept bothering me to give him oil and eventually I gave it to him,” Professor Aminu told me.
Adenuga cannot forget the OPL 113. It was his first attempt at oil exploration and God blessed him. It was the place where Adenuga would ultimately make history as the first Nigerian to find oil in commercial quantities. To qualify for the commercial quantity, you had to be able to produce a minimum of 10,000 barrels of crude oil per day at the time. It was the threshold. And Adenuga has met the benchmark. When asked later to explain his luck and whether he was a wizard to have known that there was oil in this well when even the experts weren’t sure, Adenuga said: “It takes God to find oil. The man who knows never tells you where the oil and gas are. Even God doesn’t tell you. You have to make the effort to find it. This is the challenge. You have to look for it. God put it there, but you’ve got to use the technology, you’ve got to use whatever you can to get it. When you get it, you are in luck. If you don’t get it, you go back and sharpen your pencil again. In oil and gas, you never say die.
It may be true that “even God does not tell you” where there is oil, but at the dawn of December 25, 1991, God rethought and decided to bless the efforts of Mike Adenuga in the search for oil. . He had leased an expensive oil rig called Trident 8 from Transocean Sedco Forex, the world’s largest offshore contractor, specializing in drilling in deep water and in harsh environments. For hiring Trident 8, he paid $ 100,000 per day. Every day, Adenuga burned money, racking up millions of dollars as days turned into weeks. Yet he never gave up hope.
On the waters of Okitipupa, the Trident 8 oil rig sprawls over OPL 113 like a village on the water. A village that offered everything: a place to sleep, a place to eat and drink and a place to work. To provide leadership, Adenuga himself was on the platform with his wife Titi, with Adewale Pannox, a childhood friend, with the team of geologists, engineers and oil drilling experts from Conoil d America who had spent weeks on the platform, digging and drilling, propelled by the wings of faith and hopeful hope. From November to December, they searched with no obvious result until something miraculous happened in the early hours of December 25. At exactly 1:30 a.m. on Christmas Day, Fortune’s hands moved and the fluoroscope gave a yellow light – an indication that there was hydrocarbons showing the presence of oil.
News watch, the leading news magazine of the time reported: “The men who dig and drill have survived on hope. But at 1:30 a.m. on December 25, as Christians around the world prepared to celebrate the birth of their mentor, Jesus Christ, hope came true. The finger on the oil rig’s computer was moving relentlessly, an indication that something was wrong, or, as in this case, correct. The trained eye could see that a lot of gas and crude oil was displayed on the instrument. But another instrument, the fluoroscope, would produce something yellowish from the sample, an indication that there is oil and oil is evidence of the presence of oil. Conoil hit the pay dirt. At a depth of 4,800 feet, he found his first pay zone.
With the fluoroscope showing yellow, the excited American engineer couldn’t help but shout “eureka” at Adenuga: “You lucky man! You found oil. Congratulations.” Everyone jumped into euphoria, dancing and screaming as if the Super Eagles had just scored a goal to win the World Cup. It was an unforgettable day of joy, so electrifying. Adenuga recalls: “The whole place has become chaotic. Even the guys who were already asleep woke up to join us. I almost fell overboard as I danced on the catwalk. We couldn’t have had a better Christmas present.
“It was as if God said you are blessed,” Dr Omatsola told me. “For us, it was important that it was Christmas Day. It was not just any ordinary day. There is nothing quite as good as success. Because we could have crossed it without finding oil. No one thought we could do it. The white men were happy and were jumping.
News watch wrote that for Mike Adenuga, “His dream had come true; he had become the first Nigerian to find oil since the federal government opened up oil exploration and exploitation to private entrepreneurs.
Chief Adelu, an oil professor and Adenuga’s mentor, told me: “Finding oil was a turning point. It took Mike Adenuga from the Little Boys League to the Big Boys League. I don’t think Globacom would have been without Conoil. Because he had the reserves to mortgage for huge bank loans. Once you have some crude oil reserves, that means money. He had the reserves to mortgage, to raise funds, to be able to do whatever he wanted to do. He is a very lucky businessman who carefully researched the terrain before venturing into it. This is why it is easy for him to get into banking, telecoms, real estate development, whatever else he wants to do. With this array of interconnections, he grew stronger as a successful businessman.
Adenuga loves plaques and memorabilia from major milestones in her life. To commemorate the discovery of petroleum in commercial quantity, Adenuga made an oil souvenir sealed in a crystal plate and gave it to those who helped him in his search for petroleum.
To my readers: Merry Christmas. May you find your oil!
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