President Muhammadu Buhari has issued a fresh order to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) regarding oil exploration in the North. This time, the President directed the national oil firm to begin exploration activities in the Benue Trough, a major geological formation underlying a large part of Nigeria, extending about 1,000km North-East from the Bight of Benin to Lake Chad.
This will make it the second time in three weeks that the president is restating his desperate desire for the Corporation to put more effort in discovering oil in the region.
The president’s latest directive on the oil exploration in the North was disclosed by the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, while receiving a delegation from the Benue State Government at the corporation’s headquarters in Abuja.
Although efforts have been doubled in the search for oil in the northern region, energy analysts as well as several socio-cultural and other interest groups on Tuesday, 16th August, expressed different opinions over the pressure by the President on the NNPC as regards oil exploration in the North.
The NNPC GMD, in a statement from the corporation on Tuesday, said the new directive was in line with the current efforts to guarantee energy security of the country.
“Very close home, we have exploration activities on the Frontier Basin, that is in the Chad; and there are some areas close to the Kolmani River where Shell has made indicative discovery of hydrocarbons and Mr. President has directed me to go into that area to further explore the magnitude and prospects of those finds.
“We are taking steps to get into those regions. We will reinvigorate the frontier exploration and see how they collaborate with the Northern Nigeria Development Company that is holding Block 809 where some of the finds have been found. We will also do the same at the Department of Petroleum Resources for the other blocks that have not been assigned, and work towards proving the prospects of that region.”
About three weeks ago, President Buhari mandated the corporation to speed up its prospect for oil in the region, especially in the Chad Basin and Kolmani River, sequel to the reported discovery of hydrocarbons by Shell in the area.
The 19 northern state governors are also fired up about the prospect of oil production in their domain as they have hired a British firm through the Northern Nigeria Development Company, which they jointly own, to carry out the exploration activities.