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NNPC continues contentious oil exploration expansion, reveals Yobe plan

Embattled Baru prays in Aso Rock with Buhari after Kachikwu's meeting with president

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Thursday announced that it was well on course to pursue oil exploration in Yobe State as part of its expanded exploration plan that has prompted some criticisms because of the inclusion of some basins within the Northern region like Lake Chad where costly efforts have historically proved unproductive.

This development is coming months after oil exploration workers in the Borno axis of the Lake Chad basin were attacked by Boko Haram insurgents, with some killed and others abducted. The abducted workers, including staff of University of Maiduguri, are still in captivity.

It also follows recent announcement of plans to commence oil exploration in the Sokoto Basin.

The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, disclosed the Yobe plan when he received the Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Geidam, at the corporation’s headquarters in Abuja.

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Baru was quoted in a statement issued by the NNPC spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu, as saying, “We are on target and we are looking at the prospective of the whole basins of the Niger Delta, Chad, Anambra, Benue Trough, Benin, Sokoto and Bida. We are focused on delivering on these basins in line with our mandate.”

The NNPC GMD stated that preliminary exploratory activities already conducted indicated some signs of hydrocarbon in eastern Yobe of the Chad Basin, adding that once the corporation received security clearance, the 3D seismic data acquisition in the area would continue as scheduled.

Baru noted that modern technology would be deployed in the exploration of the Yobe section of the Chad basin, similar to that deployed in the Borno side of the Chad basin.

He revealed that exploratory activities undertaken in the Benue Trough in the 1990s indicated the presence of hydrocarbon in the region, adding that attempts made under Production Sharing Contract arrangements had involved Shell, Chevron and Agip, which had drilled a well each in the region.

He said that already, the NNPC had identified prospects that were going to be tested through drilling ahead of the resumption of the Chad Basin exploratory activities.

Speaking, Geidam said his visit was informed by the commitment of the government to increase Nigeria’s oil reserves through exploration of oil and gas in the Chad Basin.

He added that the policy direction of the Federal Government was of interest to the state because the basin covered a large area, including Yobe State.

“My visit is a follow-up to our request on exploration of oil in the Yobe section of the Chad Basin. The assurance, which you gave that the exploration for hydrocarbon deposits in part of Yobe State was being considered, has reinforced our resolve to work with you on diversifying the sources of the national economy for improved revenue generation”, he said.

 

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