The discovery of oil in commercial quantity in the Chad Basin would attract more investors in Nigeria’s petroleum industry, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC has said.
The Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Mr. Austen Oniwon, who said this during a visit to the arid region of the Chad Basin in Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno State, also said that success in the search would bolster the nation’s economy.
Oniwon explained that he was in the region to monitor the progress of work at the NNPC Chad Basin operation, saying, “The assignment we are doing here is very critical to our country, as the whole nation is looking up to us to prove once and for all that there is commercial hydrocarbon in the Nigeria’s Chad Basin.
“The outcome of our work here would prove to the rest of the world that indeed there are great prospects of hydrocarbon, which would attract investors to invest in the petroleum industry of our country.”
The Chad Basin is the vast depression in Central Africa that constitutes the largest inland drainage area on the continent and connects four countries _ Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria.
He explained that the NNPC Chad Basin oil exploration was a very critical assignment for the corporation, as President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has given him the mandate to evaluate the prospects of commercial quantity of hydrocarbon in the area.
Accordingly, he said the NNPC through its subsidiary, Integrated Data Services Limited, in collaboration with the China National Petroleum Company, CNPC, has deployed the latest technology in the hydrocarbon search to locate the possible areas where there is sufficient hydrocarbon in the Nigerian portion of the Chad Basin.
For a long time, Nigeria has been hopeful in its search for oil in the Chad Basin, and eventually abandoned the project after billions had been spent without fruitful results.
However, with reports of the discovery of oil on the other side of the Lake Chad in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, the country became optimistic once more that if it went deeper with better technology, the search would be more rewarding.
“What is new this time around is that we are deploying modern technology to ensure that anywhere that there is oil we will find it,” Oniwon added.
He revealed that the present phase of the project, which started in May this year, has so far generated about 420 seismic data, and added that this phase of the project is expected to last for a period of two years.
Oniwon expressed optimism that the NNPC Chad Basin exploratory operation would be a success this time around and urged the workers at the site to remain committed to their duties as the corporation would do everything possible to ensure their safety, health and security.
Receiving the NNPC team at the Borno State Government House in Maiduguri, after the tour of the project, Governor Modu Sheriff, commended Oniwon for embarking on the project and assured of his government’s readiness to partner with the NNPC, to achieve its set objectives, saying that the GMD will write his name on the sand of time if the project succeeds.
Also, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abukakar Elkanemi, welcoming the team to his palace applauded the NNPC for the project and urged the corporation to use the project to provide employment opportunities for indigenes in order to give them a sense of belonging.
Earlier, the Care_Taker Chairman of Kukawa LGA, Alhaji Mala Mustapha Kukawa, thanked the NNPC for being alive to its corporate social responsibility by providing a borehole, three classroom blocks/headmaster’s office and drugs for the control of diarrhea for the people of the Local Government and assured the GMD of the security of his staff and equipment.