The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, yesterday revealed that the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantity in Chad, Niger Republic and the Central African Republic, inspired the company's recent push to find the commodity in the north.
Speaking at the 56th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, the NNPC helmsman noted that the national oil company ramped up its efforts after President Muhammadu Buhari, ordered it to find ways to increase the country's reserves to 40 billion barrels from its current 36 billion barrels.
In a keynote address he read at the event tagged: "Expanding the Frontiers of Exploration: Creating New Opportunities for Growth," Kyari stated that the global oil industry has continued to experience great shifts owing to advancement of technology, economics and social dynamics.
He stated that NNPC has over the last four years expanded inland basins exploration activities covering Gongola, Benue, Bida and Sokoto basins, while data review is being undertaken in preparation for exploration activities in Anambra platform and the Dahomey basins.
Kyari added that the corporation was seeing more hope as it had made progress, especially with the recent discovery of commercial quantities of hydrocarbon in Kolmani area of the Middle Benue Trough.
"In NNPC, we have continued to make giant strides in inland rift basin exploration. Our sustained quest is informed by the matured Geological and Geophysical evaluations and the practical discoveries of commercial quantities of hydrocarbons in neighbouring Niger, Chad and Central Africa Republic," he noted.
According to him, building from the NNPC's decades of seismic data acquisition, evaluation and consolidation in the rift basins, especially the Chad, Gongola Basins and the Benue trough, a re-entry was considered in 2009, but later suspended in 2014 due to insurgency in the north east.
However, he said that with Buhari's renewed commitment to grow national oil reserve to 40 barrels, NNPC was in 2016 mandated to conduct more rigorous exploration in Nigeria's inland basins using improved technology adopted in countries that successfully discovered hydro carbons in the Rift Basin.
He stated that in Nigeria, there have been great waves of transition to deep offshore exploration over the last 25 years, with International Oil Companies (IOCs) dominating the frontiers due to access to technology, unrivalled expertise and finance.
He maintained that the transition to deep offshore has also come as a necessity as IOCs seek to minimise operational risks associated with insecurity and community issues around onshore blocks.