The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Monday said it would resume oil exploration activities in the Chad Basin in the next six weeks.
It said the projection came on the heels of improved security situation in the North-East region, which has been devastated by the activities of Boko Haram insurgents.
The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, disclosed this during a courtesy visit to the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, and the Shehu of Borno, Dr. Abubakar El-Kanemi, in Maiduguri on Monday.
The corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, quoted Baru as saying in a statement, “We have been discussing with military authorities in the area and they have assured us of improved security. Once they give us the green light, we will resume operations in the area within six weeks.
“We are also in the state to inform you that in the next six weeks, we are going to redeploy our team of experts back to Maiduguri to resume oil exploration with better technology in the Lake Chad Basin.
“This is necessary with our renewed efforts in harnessing oil, gas and power to increase the economy of the nation in line with the agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari on job creation and economic diversification.”
The GMD, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Gas and Power, Mr. Saidu Mohammed, informed the governor that the NNPC was keen on increasing its production from 1.9 million barrels per day to three million bpd, as well as increasing its oil and gas reserves.
This target, according to Baru, necessitated the exploration for more oil within and across some of the nation’s inland basins.
He commended the efforts of the federal and state governments in the area of peace restoration, reconstruction and rehabilitation, stressing that as a responsible corporate citizen, the corporation was ready to provide support in that regard.
At the Shehu’s palace, Baru sought the support of the traditional ruler, especially in the area of host community understanding of the resumption of oil exploration activities in the state.
The statement noted that the corporation presented relief items to the traditional ruler for onward delivery to the internally displaced persons in the state.
Earlier in his remarks, Shettima said the insurgency had taken a huge toll on the North-East region, leading to the loss of over $9.6bn, with Borno State alone losing about $5.6bn.
“We need your support in our reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts so that when the history of the new Borno is written, the NNPC’s name will be written in gold,” the governor stated.