By Nse Anthony-Uko
ABUJA, (Sundiata Post) – Following the military conquest of the former enclaves of the Boko Haram insurgents the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it will resume oil exploration activities in the Chad Basin with the next six weeks.
The move according to Group Managing Director (GMD) NNPC, Dr Maikanti Kacalla Baru is to nation’s crude oil production from the current 1.9million barrels per day (bpd) to 3million bpd as well as increasing its oil and gas reserves.
Dr Baru who made the disclosure during a courtesy visit to the Governor of Borno State, Hon. Kashim Shettima and the Shehu of Borno, Alh (Dr) Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, in Maiduguri, yesterday, noted that to meet the earmarked target it is expedient explore for more oil within and across some of the nation’s inland basins.
A statement issued by the Corporation’s spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu quoted the GMD who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Gas & Power, Engr. Saidu Mohammed, as saying, “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 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.
In his address Governor Kashim Shettima, said the insurgency had taken a huge toll on the North East region leading to the loss of over $9.6bn, with Borno state alone lost $5.6bn.
“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.
On his part, the Shehu of Borno, Alh. (Dr.) Abubakar Umar Garbai 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.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has revealed that the federal government will not intervene in the on-going court actions in respect of the Malabu Oil Prospecting Lease, OPL 245 scandal.
The disclosure is contained in a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), Olanrewaju Suraju.
The organization had written the minister, warning the government against compromising the investigation and prosecution of Malabu and by extension ENI with his (Dr. Kachikwu’s) recent endorsement of ENI on his recent trip to Italy.
It will be recalled that Dr Kachikwu had earlier disclosed that the Zabazaba deepwater project in OPL 245 will continue in spite of controversies surrounding the oil block. The stated this while addressing journalists on the sidelines of the annual Offshore Technology Conference in Houston Texas, U. S. A in earlier in the month.