UPDATED: After Boko Haram attack, Nigeria halts oil exploration in Lake Chad Basin

Boko Haram militants [Photo: Independent.ie]
Boko Haram militants [Photo: Independent.ie]

The Federal Government on Thursday said it would halt oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin following Tuesday’s attack on explorers that led to at least 27 deaths.

The government also gave reasons why it continued with the exploration despite Boko Haram attacks in Borno, saying it did so only after it got security assurances from the military.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, who said these on Thursday, said Nigeria will only resume its search for oil in the Lake Chad Basin when it gets security clearance.

Mr. Kachikwu described Tuesday’s kidnap of oil workers by suspected Boko Haram insurgents in the area as a major setback to Nigeria’s quest for oil in the northern part of the country.

The minister, who was speaking with journalists in Abuja, said following the attack, government resolved to suspend oil exploration activities in the Basin until the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC received security clearance to resume.

Members of an oil exploration crew working for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC in the region were ambushed and abducted on Tuesday by armed insurgents near Jibi Village in Gubio Local Government Area of Borno State.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how at least 27 people died after rescue efforts by soldiers and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF. The victims included soldiers, CJTF members, and university staff.

One of the staff of the University of Maiduguri killed during the attack was buried on Thursday.

While addressing journalists, Mr. Kachikwu sympathised with the families of the victims of the Boko Haram attack.

The Minister said details of those who lost their lives during the attack were still being collated, saying the ministry would release the information at the appropriate time.

The NNPC spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu, had said members of the exploration crew consisted of staff of the Geology Department of the University of Maiduguri hired as sub-contractors to two NNPC subsidiaries: the Integrated Data Services Limited, IDSL and Frontiers Exploration Services, FES.

Mr. Kachikwu who called the media briefing specifically to commiserate with the families of the affected persons and military personnel, said exploration activities would not resume until the NNPC got the green light from the security operatives about the safety of doing business in the region.

“But if NNPC cannot do its job because of criminality, it portends danger that the economy would grind to a halt. Further activities of the corporation in the Basin will be based on sufficient security in the area,” he said.

“The security agencies, who are experts in the field of surveillance, will take a second look at the terrain before certifying it safe for exploration activities,’ he added.

Exploration activities in the Lake Chad Basin, he said, were undertaken under the protection of about 200 security personnel, including the military personnel and civilian JTF.

He said prior to the exploration activities in the region, the NNPC got assurances of substantial return of security and stability for a minimum of six months.

“There was some level of stability in that area. It wasn’t a misguided venture into the terrain. But, if we take the decision not to do things because of criminality in that area of the Chad and other parts of Nigeria, it means the economy will stop. It means oil in the Niger Delta will stop,” he said.

Mr. Kachikwu said the NNPC’s decision to resume exploration activities in the Inland Sedimentary Trough areas, including the Chad Basin, was pursuant to the aspiration of the present administration to grow the country’s current crude oil reserve base from over 37 billion barrels to 40 billion barrels.

The minister said based on the advice from the military in November last year, after successful campaign and degrading of the insurgency in that zone, the NNPC resumed exploration activities in the area, including Gubia Nugumeri, Munguno, Kukawa, Abdam, Guzamala and Mobar.

The minister also said the 1.8 million barrels per day, mbpd, production ceiling set for Nigeria by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, was yet to take effect.

“Merely hitting a production of 1.8 mbpd was not sufficient for the ceiling to take effect. It has to be a month to month analysis of the situation and assurance that the country has triumphed over what prevented its production before he can report to OPEC that the operating environment is now stable,” he explained.

The minister said this would have to be within the nine months period Nigeria was given the exemption.

In January last year, Nigeria was one of the three countries granted exemption from output cut imposed on members of OPEC. The exemption was extended by nine months, at the end of the initial six months.

But, last week, the exemption was removed after Nigeria recently realized the 1.8 mbpd production benchmark set by the group.


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  • I dey hear

    Premium Times Editor,

    HOW NOT TO RESCUE BOKO HARAM CAPTIVES

    “We were first elated when we heard that the military
    rescued the victims. But to our dismay we discovered that they were all
    killed. Our initial hope to see them alive was dashed. The soldiers brought
    only dead bodies. Four other staff are still missing and we are seriously
    concerned about their safety as we do not know their whereabouts.”

    …………….Danny Manmam

    (ASUU chairman in the university of Maiduguri)

    • George

      They will all dies

  • 0tile

    Greedy people. Don’t halt exploration, do more digging. Also build more ultra modern skyscrapers in

    Borno and its environs, after-all the money is coming from Niger Delta. The Deltans can wait for their own development until the Federal government finishes developing the North East so that there will be peace in One Nigeria. Nonsense

    • Caponey

      @OTILE:

      We only heard, but can’t confirm if anyone has been rescued,”
      said Minister of Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu in reaction to the army’s overhasty
      statement that all the captured oil workers have been rescued by military
      action. An enhanced military operation to capture or kill Boko Haram Leader
      Abubakar Shekahu within 40 days, as ordered a week or so ago by Nigeria’s
      Army Chief, is not expected to be this porous for Boko Haram militias to easily
      overrun it in a few minutes. The operation kill-or-capture Abubakar Shekahu
      now underway may need to be reassessed for tactics and strategy as a result
      of this combat failure.

      • Isaac B. Boroh

        @disqus_M5JqVh2dSp:disqus ,

        I will like to call on the Senate to hold a public hearing on the disaster that befell Nigeria yesterday
        when Boko Haram ambushed Nigerian soldiers and killed them alongside Professors of Geology
        hired as Consultants by state-owned NNPC to conduct exploratory findings for crude oil in the
        desert of Borno state. A public hearing is warranted by the scale of the tragedy because no
        soldier, professor, driver, child, woman or anyone in the exploration entourage escaped alive.
        We need to know the basis of the exploration finding in a terror-infested territory of Borno.
        We will like to know who authorized the exploratory finding and who deployed soldiers.
        It is only then we can know if any thinking leads government directives under Buhari.

        • George

          WHY PUBLIC HEARING WHO sent them there. Please stop this your talks let them all dies who cares.

          They voted for nonentity and this is their earthly reward.

      • Fatty Bombo

        @thusspokez:disqus

        THE BUHARI GOVERNMENT NEVER HAD A GOLDEN MOMENT SINCE MAY 29, 2015.

        IT BLUNDERED ALL THROUGH ON ALL THINGS WITHOUT GETTING ANYTHING RIGHT.

    • George

      THat is why God is rewarding them with sorrows, pains, confusions, VVF for their wife’s, sickness for their mullah president, confusion in SATAN OF SOKOTO PALACE.

  • Cyril Ugwuosi

    well so bad

    • George

      Baboons and Monkeys bloods are awaiting Buhari at the gate of Hell Fire

  • thusspokez

    One of Buhari’s stúpid ideas. Venezuela has one of the largest deposit of oil but it cannot sell them in enough quantity and consequently going bankrupt. Also, the West is abandoning petrol-run cars for electricity-run ones and yet Buhari thinks that it is a smart idea to waste scarce resources to find a product which the market has surplus of?

    • George

      They want that before they let go Southerner oil.

  • The Rt. or Lft. Hon NinjaK

    If not profound stupidity – a place where even soldiers & policemen are afraid to venture into, that is where Buhari (in his own exceptional brilliance) has mandated NNPC to go looking for oil by fire by force – for the umpteenth time!!!
    In all honesty I doubt whether nigeria can ever be together again after this man’s tenure!

    • George

      Ritualist Rochas Okorochas said buhari is god sent.

  • emmanuel

    He does not need to tell us when they will resume. We knew long before now, that the Sesmic activities in Bornu is a fraud meant to cream money from Nigeria in the name of prospecting for Oil.
    Did they sacrifice the lives of the victims in order to shamefully end the sleaze by looking for reasons to end it?

    • George

      Oh yes those animals were sacrificed to have excuses to end their shameful misadventures but I have no pity for any morons there up North

  • Mazi Okoroafor

    In a Biafra Republic there shall never be any suicide attack carried out by any citizen in 3,000 years. Since earth was formed over 2,000 years ago, not even a single suicide bomber or Islamic terrorist has been produced from Biafran region. It is likely to be so forever. We are peace loving and industrious people. Natural builders buzzing with uncommon synergy. It is the reason we MUST actualize Biafra and MUST abstain from the Anambra Elections and any other election organized by Nigeria forthwith. God bless the rising sun! God bless Biafra!

  • MARITIME UNIVERSITY

    No money to clean up oil spills in the Niger Delta
    No money to begin Maritime University
    No money to build infrastructure like safe drinking water


    BUT there is money for oil exploration in the desert. One Nigeria abi?


    I know Niger Delta Avengers will someday avenge this injustice.

  • George

    Speak against your enemies and it shall come t pass thou says the Lord of Host.

    Two days ago I said it here that God Almighty will set in confusions and sorrows as a reward of any money forcefully taking from the South to developed the North and now it has come to passed and many more sorrows are awaiting them all until they agreed to let us go and revert back to regional power blocks. God in Heaven will surely fight this battles for us watch out as the North prepare the Custom boss Mr. Ali as replacement for Buhari seat.

    That is the underground work going on now.

  • George

    Nothing shall they find as God has dried up their lands for they evils they have been doing.

    • AryLoyds

      True my brother , the animals are cursed

  • George

    This is what you get when a nonentity is drag into the seat of power.

    Anybody that supported this calamity called Buhari to power will never have peace in his or her life time.

    It shall never be well for those that aided this moron to power been them in the West, East, North or South.