Ever wondered where oil was first discovered in Nigeria, and what year it became commercially available for exportation. Here is a short history of Oloibiri, the site of the first oilfield in Nigeria.
Located in Ogbia LGA, a small community in Bayelsa State; Oloibiri, prides itself as the site where oil was first discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria, and also West Africa’s first oilfield. This remarkable discovery was made on Sunday, 15 January 1956, by Shell D’Arcy in Otuabagi/Otuogadi, Oloibiri District. The feat by Shell D’Arcy ended the 50 year unsuccessful search for oil in Nigeria by various companies.
In February, 1958, Nigeria made history, as it exported its first crude oil from the Oloibiri oilfield.
Following the discovery, Nigeria automatically qualified to join the group of oil producing countries in the world. And with an initial production of 5,000 barrels of oil per day, which would later become as much as 2,000,000 bpd, Nigeria became the 6th largest oil producer on the chart of the Organisation of petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Well over 60years and the black gold has seized to flow in Oloibiri, the town a ghost of its once bubbling self, with nothing to show that the economy of the largest black nation in the world once sucked from its “breast”. However, while many promises made by both the government and Shell D’Arcy to the locals, still remain unfulfilled, the only thing one would notice about the first oilfield in Nigeria, is that, it is now a museum with unsung praises.