The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday said it was currently awaiting clearance from security agencies to resume oil exploration in the Chad Basin.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, made the disclosure during a courtesy visit to the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, and the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar El-Kanemi, in Maiduguri yesterday said oil search is expected to begin in the next six weeks.
According to him, the security clearance was necessary despite improved security situation in the North East.
“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 would resume operations in the area within six weeks,” the GMD, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Gas and Power, Saidu Mohammed, said.
Baru informed the Governor that NNPC was keen on increasing its production from 1.9 million bpd to 3 million bpd as well as increasing its oil and gas reserves, a target that necessitated exploring for more oil within and across some of the nation’s inland basins.
The GMD commended the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari as well as the state governor 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 of Borno’s palace, the GMD sought the fatherly support of the traditional ruler especially in the area of host community understanding towards the resumption of oil exploration activities within the state. The Corporation also presented relief items to the Shehu for onward delivery to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state.
Earlier in his remarks, Governor Kashim Shettima, said insurgency had taken a huge toll on the North East region leading to the loss of over $9.6 billion, with Borno State alone losing $5.6 billion.
“We need your support in our reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts, so that when the history of the new Borno is written, NNPC’s name will be written in gold,” he stated.
He stressed that much as the international donor agencies and good-spirited organisations like the NNPC were keen on helping the IDPs, the state’s ultimate target was to resettle the IDPs in their various communities.
Also responding, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji El-Kanemi, thanked the NNPC management for identifying with the Borno people, stressing that the corporation should do more for the betterment of Nigerians.
He expressed his happiness over the peace being enjoyed across the state now and the entire North East, stressing that in the nearest future, “Borno people will survive the onslaught of the insurgency.”