By Michael Eboh
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to increase the tempo on crude oil exploration activities in the north eastern part of the country.
Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, who disclosed this on Monday, when Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja, also lamented that Nigeria is currently facing difficult times.
Baru said the NNPC currently have exploration activities going on in the frontier basin in Chad and also in some area close to the Kolmani River, located in Bauchi State, where Shell had made some indicative discovery of hydrocarbons.
According to him, the President has directed the NNPC to go into that area to improve and further explore the magnitude and prospect of those finds.
In response to the directive of the President, Baru disclosed that the NNPC is currently taking steps to re-strategise and get into those regions to step up crude oil exploration activities.
“We will reinvigorate the Frontier Exploration Services and see how they collaborate with the Northern Nigeria Development Company, NNDC,NNDC that is holding block 809 where some of the finds have been found and also the Department for Petroleum Resources, DPR, for the other blocks that have not been assigned,” Baru added.
On the tough economic situation, Baru lamented that the various attacks on oil and gas assets across the country is making it difficult for the corporation to meet its financial obligations to the country.
He said, “It is a very difficult time for us with all the leakages that we suffer, especially infractions on our infrastructure in terms of pipeline vandalism and theft to be able to meet our obligations to the Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC.
“We will continue to meet this obligation timely and effectively as much as possible.”
He, however, stated that the NNPC is committed to collaborating with the Bauchi State Governor and with other state governors to drive all the initiative that will fulfill the national aspiration expected from petroleum industry, especially in the energy security.
He also called on the governor to assist it in securing its pipeline in the State, while he called for improved surveillance to curb the activities of vandals.
He said, “A critical area of support that we implore from you is the security of our pipelines that traverse the state that goes from Jos through Bauchi State to Gombe and almost Maiduguri and Yola.
“There have been reported vandalisation and request for you to assist us with the necessary security surveillance to make sure that such vandalism are brought to the minimum.”
Speaking on the reason for his visit, Governor Abubakar said, “I am in the NNPC towers to felicitate with my brother and distinguished son of Bauchi state for attaining the position of the GMD of the NNPC.
“We feel it is very important we come and assure him of the backing and support of the government and people of Bauchi state. We are confident that like he has done in all other positions he has occupied in the industry he us going to be a success in this particular position.”