Oloibiri is a historic town to the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. Nigeria’s first commercial oil discovery was made at (Otuabagi/Otuogadi) in Oloibiri district by Shell Darcy in June 1956. During this time of oil exploration by Shell, the natives had little or no concern for what was going on. However, shortly after the discovery was made, not only the natives but also people from far and near trooped in to make the sleepy town come alive. The discovery of oil in Oloibiri changed Nigeria’s economic status for the better as a flurry of activities: investments, tourism, oil exportation, etc, came to be.
The discovery of oil automatically qualified Nigeria to join the group of oil producers 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), Nigeria became the 6th largest oil producer on the chart of the Organisation of petroleum Exporting Countries OPEC.
•Oloibiri well is the first commercial oil well in Nigeria.
•Oloibiri Oilfield is the first commercial oil field in Nigeria.
•Nigeria exported its first crude oil in February 1958 from the Oloibiri oil field.
•It is West Africa’s first oil well.
•Nigeria’s first crude oil export came from Oloibiri field in February 1958.
•Nigeria’s first crude oil pipeline was laid from Oloibiri oil field to Port Harcourt on the Bonny River (Bonny Export Terminal).
Inasmuch as Oloibiri town was the ‘birthplace’ of oil in Nigeria, it is a sight for sore eyes. The place is under-developed, the people are poor peasants, the epidemic rate is off the charts, the unemployment rate is alarming, and their land has suffered deadly blows from oil spills. The oil in Oloibiri has since dried up but there is nothing to show that it was the place where Nigeria’s oil breakthrough started. In plain terms, it could be said that the town of Oloibiri was used and ‘dumped’ after the oil explorers found no more use for it. Interestingly and disappointingly, the Federal Government of Nigeria once promised to build a museum in Oloibiri, but till date, that promise has not been fulfilled.