The outgoing Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, said President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to the exploration of the various inland basins across Nigeria to grow the country's hydrocarbon reserves.
According to a release by the corporation's spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu, Mr Baru said this on Saturday during an inspection tour of the ongoing drilling operations at the Kolmani River-II Well drilling site in Bauchi and Gombe states.
He went along to the drilling site with the new Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari.
"Expanding frontier basins exploration is one of the most important projects for Mr President. He is fully convinced that the inland basins exploration holds the key to the next step of growing Nigeria's crude oil reserves," Mr Baru said.
He observed that for an economy which is heavily dependent on hydrocarbon production, there was the need to continuously look for additional reserves to avoid depletion.
"Naturally, oil reserves deplete over time and if you don't replenish them, you will one day wake up to realise that you have nothing left to explore from the ground," Mr Baru said.
He said the visit was part of the smooth transition going on in the corporation which was aimed at fully briefing Mr Kyari on the work progress at the drilling site.
"I cannot hand over the NNPC without bringing the new GMD here for him to appreciate the kind of activities going on at the area. I am well-briefed but he needs to be on top of developments here too. And from his comments and observations, I am convinced he has already keyed into the project as envisioned by Mr President," Mr Baru said.
He said the visit with the new GMD brought a good omen to the Kolmani exploration site as the team of explorers recovered a "fish" stuck in a well at the depth of 13,400 feet after about three days of tedious and continuous "fishing."
In drilling parlance, "fishing" is the process of retrieving an item stuck in a well in the course of drilling, while a "fish" is simply the recovered item.
Mr Baru also praised the professionalism of the exploration team in maintaining zero Loss Time Injury (LTI) during the operations.
He said with the level of commitment and dedication he had seen on the part of the exploration team, he could not wait for President Buhari to light the first flame at the area, signifying the potential discovery of hydrocarbons.