By Etuka Sunday
The recent oil search in the nation’s inland basins received a fresh impetus yesterday following the commencement of exploration activities in the Benue Trough by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, announced this development during a visit to the Governor of Nasarawa State, Alh. Umaru Tanko Almakura in Lafia.
NNPC spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu in a statement quoted Dr. Baru to have stated that the visit was in fulfillment of the Presidential mandate which directed NNPC to resume oil exploration activities in some of the nation’s inland basins which include the Chad Basin and the Benue Trough.
He said the Presidential mandate was driven by the urgent need for the Nation to increase its Oil and Gas Reserves, thereby improving revenue streams and creating more business and employment opportunities for Nigerians.
Dr. Baru added that the move was also in line with NNPC’s corporate vision of 12 Business Focus Areas (12 BUFA), informing Governor Almakura 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 Corporation’s Frontier Exploration Services (FES) had mobilized the Integrated Data Services Ltd (IDSL), an Upstream 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,” Dr. Baru stated.
He assured that Nasarawa State indigenes would enjoy more products availability once the Corporation rehabilitates the Makurdi Depot pipeline which feeds Nasarawa and Benue States with products.
“We have resuscitated Mosimi, Ibadan, Kano and Aba depots. Once we are done with Aba-Enugu line, we are heading towards Makurdi Depot,” Dr. Baru added.
Earlier, the governor who expressed delight over the oil search in his state, assured the GMD of Nasarawa people’s support towards the oil search in the frontier.
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 informed the GMD that 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.
Dr. Baru later paid homage to the Emir of Lafia, Alh (Dr) Isa Mustapha Mamman Agwai, who assured the NNPC boss of the support of the traditional rulers in the state towards the success of the exploration activities in their localities.