As a matter of fact the search for petroleum in the country started as early as 1908 when a German company the Nigeria Bitumen Corporation (limited) exploration in the Araromi area of western Nigeria. Their pioneering effort was interrupted by the out break of the first world war in 1914.
However in 1937 oil prospecting resumed in the country with shell D Arcy (the former of present awarded the side concessionary right covering the territory of Nigeria. Their activities were again affected by the second world war bit resumed in 1947. meanwhile, it was in 1956 that oil was discovered in commercial quantities of Olobiri in the Niger Delta after several years of oil prospecting and investing of over N30billion with this development shell started oil production and expiration from its Olobiri field in 1958.
Following the discovering of oil in the country other companies such as Mobil Agip Sc Frap (now ELF) Tennco and Amoseas (which we know today as Texaco/ Chevron) by 1961 began exploration right which has been formally granted to shell alone was extended to the new comers in line with the government policy of increasing the pace of oil exploration in the country Okigbo (1993).
So oil production and export from Olobirir field was first started in 1958 by shell at a production rate of 5, 000 barrels of crude oil per day. The quantity doubled the following year and crude oil exports form the country rose to 2.0miliom barrels per day in 1971.
In fact in 1972, 631,000,000 barrels were exported yielding more than N600 million in tax and royalties. As production continued, Nigeria attained the status of a major oil producer being presently ranked the 6th oil producer in the world and second in African after Libya.
Furthermore initially government interest was only limited to collection of royalties and other due (taxes) offered it from the oil companies and rudimental laws to regulate the activities of the oil companies and industry. This was due to fact that oil revenue was very insignificant in the economy before the late ninety sixties and also relative lack of trained personnel and expertise.
However immediately after the Nigeria civil war oil had become very important to our economy. So to strengthen and establish government control in the industry. The Nigeria oil corporation (INNOC) was established by