Minister: In Case Kachikwu Doesn't Know

Everything has inherent obsolescence in just the same way that every Idea becomes stale.

Nigeria has just appointed a cabinet that dazes all students of political Science.

The president, Mohammad Buhari, is Oil minister and naming the head of the nation's oil company as a deputy.

Both men should in normal times be very qualified. But these are not normal times.

The Economist this week described the trend in the oil industry as "the Abnormal is the New Normal"

Dogmas about petroleum are now misleading.

In 1992, An indian friend asked me what I thought the problem with Nigeria was and I told him it was oil.
That being Africans, the resource is a jinx that thwarts our creativity and personal independence.

For instance, as the president and Mr Kachikwu start the job, it might be instructive to know a part of the New Normal.

In this article, we would take Shale.

US shale oil deposits: Two trillion barrels of crude oil. Most oil producing nations don't want to believe it but it is true! While total world resources of oil shale are put  at 2.6 trillion barrels, US calmly sleeps on close to two trillion barrels of crude.

 That means more than all the crude that was ever produced worldwide since petroleum age began.

"The Green River Shale Formation spanning  the States of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming was first discovered in 1924. This famous shale formation covers tens of thousands of square miles. It is found in three different ancient lake basins. The layers of sediment in this formation stretch undisturbed for many miles" Dale Kirk of Benstein Consulting, an oil graphing company explained.

This shale is a soft sedimentary rock that readily fractures into layers, composed of minute particles of clay, which may easily be removed. It was formed from multi layers through erosion. There are 40 million layers in one part of this formation. Deposits within these layers are fossilised plant, animal life and algae, which has turned over millions of years into kerogen.

It is hoped that Mr Kachichu knows elementary geology because it will be discussed in Vienna next month.

Geologists say that this formation was formed through countless floods perhaps through 500 to 700 millions of years.

That means that beyond science, namely fracking, Shale is, like Nigeria's fossil deposits either in the Niger Delta or in the speculative Chad Basin, a natural resource.

The point is that Shale is already scalIng as a business and the West has  the means to lay pipes across the Atlantic. That would flatten Russian, let alone a little player like Nigeria. And it is a matter of time.

Perhaps the lesson for Mr Buhari and his deputy Is that oil is becoming as common as sugar.
Necessary yes. But cheap.
The pot is gone.
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