Two years after it halted oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin due to Boko Haram attack, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says it would resume the search as soon as it received security clearance.
The outgoing Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Maikanti Baru, said this on Wednesday when the governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, paid him a business visit in Abuja.
“We will go back there as soon as we receive security clearance. There seems to be some prospects there because Niger Republic drilled over 600 wells and now they are producing while we have only drilled 23,” Mr. Baru said.
He commended the people of Bauchi and Gombe states, especially communities in the exploration area for their support and hospitality.
Mr. Baru assured the communities of NNPC’s support in the provision of infrastructure and amenities.
On the proposed Institute of Petroleum Studies to be established in Bauchi State University, Mr. Baru pledged the support of NNPC and assured the governor of synergy between the institution and the Petroleum Training Institute, Warri, for exchange programmes and manpower development.
Governor Mohammed said his visit was to seek collaboration with the corporation on how to move the state forward.
“We are happy that we have some hydrocarbon not only in Bauchi but also in Gombe both in the Gongola Basin, and we are totally committed to the exploration activities of the NNPC in the area,” Mr. Mohammed said.
Oil search in the Chad Basin was suspended after a team of NNPC Frontier Exploration Services and their consultants from the University of Maiduguri were attacked and some of them abducted on July 25, 2017.
Newsmen reported that at least 27 people died during the attack after rescue efforts by soldiers and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF.
The victims included soldiers, CJTF members, and university staff.
Despite Boko Haram attacks in the area, the government said it continued exploration because it got security assurances from the military.
The then Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, who described the incident as as a major setback to Nigeria’s quest for oil in the northern part of the country, promised that Nigeria will only resume its search for oil in the Lake Chad Basin when it gets security clearance.