By Clara Nwachukwu
LAGOS – The Federal Government is concluding plans to open up the country for frontier exploration in order to achieve the 40 billion barrels of oil reserves and four million barrels per day production targets within the next couple of years.
Government had initially hoped that these targets would be achieved by the end of last year, but was truncated on account of militancy and restiveness in the Niger Delta.
But the introduction of the Amnesty Programme is dousing tension in the region enough for oil companies to resume oil exploration activities.
Speaking exclusively with Vanguard on the frontier exploration, Prof. Deborah Enilo Ajakaiye, who is leading the geological mapping of Nigeria’s hydrocarbon resources at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, said government was optimistic that the oil search especially within the river basins would be successful.
Ajakaiye, Nigeria’s first female professor of physics, and internationally acclaimed for her works, said the geologically mapping was part of the foundation framework for the proposed Nigeria Frontier Exploration Services, as contained in the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, still under scrutiny at the National Assembly.
According to her, “we have compiled the data, done the evaluation and made recommendations on the best way forward to fast track exploration in these basins in a rapid and cost-effective manner. ”
Currently, data are being collected in the following the basins: Anambra – covering Anambra, Enugu and a little of Imo and Edo states; Bida – Niger, Kwara and parts of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT; Chad – Jigawa, Yobe, Borno and parts of Gombe and Bauchi states; Dahomey – Ogun and Lagos states; Gongola – Bauchi and Gombe states; Lower Benue – Benue and parts of Nassarawa and Ebonyi states; Middle Benue – Plateau, Benue and parts of Nasarawa; Sokoto – Sokoto, Kebbi, and parts of Zamfara and Niger states; Yola – Gombe, Adamawa and parts of Taraba.
Ajakaiye who returned to Nigeria to contribute to the socio_economic development of the country through hydrocarbon discoveries, noted that hitherto, oil exploration activities were not carried out in a systematical manner.