The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s quest to find oil in the northern part of the country shifted to the inland basins with the commencement of exploration activities in the Benue Trough.
The Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Maikanti Baru, announced the commencement of the search during his visit to the Nasarawa State governor, Umaru Almakura, in Lafia on Thursday.
The NNPC GMD said the visit was in line with the presidential directive to the corporation to resume oil exploration activities in some of the nation’s inland basins, including the Chad Basin and the Benue Trough.
The search is coming a few months after the NNPC opened a new frontier for oil exploration in the Sokoto area.
He said the presidential mandate was driven by the urgent need for the country to increase its oil and has reserves, improve revenue streams and create more business and employment opportunities for Nigerians.
Mr. Baru said the move was also in line with NNPC’s corporate vision under the 12 Business Focus Areas, 12 BUFAs.
He told the governor that the NNPC team was in Nasarawa to sensitise the government and people of the state on the mission.
“I am therefore happy to be personally here to kick-start the beginning of a high-profile stakeholder engagement towards oil exploration in the Nasarawa State’s part of the Benue Trough,” he stated.
He assured that as a responsible corporate organization, NNPC, through its Frontier Exploration Services, FES, would do everything possible to operate peacefully among the people and with much respect to the environment.
Already, the GMD noted, the FES had mobilised the Integrated Data Services Limited, IDSL, an upstream data services arm of the NNPC, to acquire seismic data in the Benue Trough commencing from the Keana area.
“I am convinced that the success of the results from IDSL’s seismic data acquisition will lead to the drilling of exploration wells in the area, which hopefully, would launch Nasarawa state into the league of oil producing states in the country,” Mr. Baru stated.
On petroleum products supply, the GMD assured that Nasarawa State indigenes would enjoy more products availability once the Corporation rehabilitates the Makurdi Depot pipeline, which feeds Nasarawa and Benue States.
“We have resuscitated Mosimi, Ibadan, Kano and Aba depots. Once we are done with Aba-Enugu line, we are heading towards Makurdi Depot,” Mr. Baru added.
Earlier, the governor who expressed delight over the commencement of oil search in his state, assured the GMD of Nasarawa people’s support to the venture in the frontier basin.
He particularly lauded the GMD for ensuring stability in products supply and distribution across the country.
“Since your appointment as the GMD, NNPC, I cannot remember any issue of fuel scarcity surfacing in the country. You are also known by many for your transparency and accountability, which is very crucial in a national company like the NNPC,” the governor stated.
Governor Almakura said the state government had deployed special “environment guards” to safeguard critical national assets and infrastructure across the state, including the Pipelines Right of Way, PRoW.
He pledged to direct the Ministries of Land, Physical Planning as well as Housing & Transport to work with the NNPC team towards ensuring the success of the oil exploration in the area.