Premium Times (Abuja)

5 March 2014

Nigeria: Boko Haram Affecting Oil Exploration in Chad Basin - NNPC

The Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, says insurgency in the North East Zone is responsible for the slow performance in oil exploration in Chad Basin in 2013.

The insurgency by the outlawed Boko Haram sect has led to the death of thousands of people since 2009 in North East Nigeria.

Mr. Yakubu stated his position in Abuja on Wednesday during the budget defence by the NNPC before the Emmanuel Paulker -led Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream).

He, however, said that besides the Chad Basin, there were seven other basins that the NNPC was working to explore oil.

"There are seven other basins we are looking at. What we did last year was to acquire the aero magnetic data from a geological survey for Yola, Bida, Sokoto and other basins," Mr. Yakubu said.

He said the main focus now was the Chad Basin where the seismic data had been acquired and as soon as work was at a reasonable stage, focus would be turned to the other basins.

"There are about 12 to 13 phases and we are at about the sixth phase now," he said.

The NNPC boss also said that the corporation had started working on new pipeline laying technology as part of measures to address incessant cases of pipeline vandalism.

"We have actually started working on new pipeline laying technology but it is highly capital intensive. We have a few segments that have been evaluated for HDD.

"We have quite a long stretch on the Trans-Niger line and the Nembe creek so we have started but we have to balance it with the hemorrhage we have in revenue," Mr. Yakubu said.

According to him, the best way to distribute petroleum products is through the pipelines network.

He added that distribution through trucks could only be resorted to when the pipelines were vandalised.

"The pipelines are the best and most effective way to distribute fuel to our over 20 depots all over the country but when they are breached then we have this kind of challenge.

"To truck a thousand trucks per day across the country is usually not the best but when we are faced with the situation, then the fall back will be to truck," he said.

Mr. Yakubu said that the trucking out of fuel was, however, only temporary as normalcy would return as soon as the pipelines were fixed.

He further told the committee that the governing laws on vandalism were being reviewed to impose more stringent sanctions on the perpetrators.

Speaking on the recent fuel shortage being experienced in some parts of the country, the NNPC boss said that he was optimistic that by the end of Wednesday, it would be history as products were being pumped into the market.

"We have ejected quite a lot into the Lagos market. All the marketers, PPPRA and PPMC have a very strong team out there to ensure that the deliveries are made.

"Hopefully, by the end of today, we will begin to see changes in the fuel scarcity situation in Lagos," he said.

Victor Briggs, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Petroleum Development Corporation, told the committee that the projection for daily oil production was placed at 2.4 million barrels per day.

Briggs said that if not for the constant vandalism of pipelines, they had the capacity to even produce up to 2.5 million barrels per day.

Responding, Paulker (PDP-Bayelsa) said that the projection was ambitious, but welcomed.

(NAN)

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