Maiduguri — The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has concluded arrangement to resume oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin of Borno State.
The Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, yesterday said that the Nigerian Army has given it a "security clearance" towards this.
Baru stated this when he led top management staff of NNPC on a courtesy call on governor Kashim Shettima at the Government House, Maiduguri.
Represented by NNPC Chief Operations Officer, who is also the Executive Director, Gas and Power, Mr. Saidu Mohammed, said the team wants to have a first hand information on what is happening in Borno State, before resuming oil and gas exploration in the next six-eight weeks in the Basin bordering Niger, Chad and Cameroun..
He said the resumption of exploration in the state, was to increase the country's oil reserves from 35 million barrels a day (mbd) to 40 million mbd. He, however, noted that these production targets cannot be achieved without resumption of oil and gas explorations in the Lake Chad Basin.
He said: "This is why we initiated the moves to get into the Lake Chad Basin for oil exploration, as we have spoken to the military authorities to commence exploration in the next six-eight weeks. We have assembled our drilling equipment with high technology."
He called on the community in the Lake Chad Basin to cooperate with NNPC, so that the targeted oil production and reserves could be achieved.
Responding, Governor Kashim Shettima assured that his administration will partner with NNPC to actualize its mission in the basin.
He said when the oil production and reserves targets are met; it will not only generate revenue, but create job opportunities for the unemployed youths in the Northeast and the country at large.
He appealed to NNPC to assist the state government in the reconstructing and rebuilding of thousands of schools and public structures destroyed by insurgents.
He said that the education sector remains the only means of fighting poverty, which is associated with emergence of Boko Haram insurgency.
He put the value of destroyed houses, schools, public buildings, including health, water and power facilities in the Northeast, at $9.6 billion (N3.65 trillion), while Borno State incurred the sum of $5.6 billion (N2.13 trillion).