I am delighted to be here this morning at this important event of the spud-in of the Kolmani River-II well in the Gongola basin of the Benue trough.
Let me commend the NNPC for expanding its exploration outreach into the Inland Basins with a view to improving the Nation’s oil and gas reserves; drive oil and gas production and spin off socio economic activities across the Country.
My association with Hydrocarbon search in the Chad Basin started as the Federal Commissioner of Petroleum and Natural Resources in 1976 and as the Head of State when the Tuma-l Well was spud-in in 1984 which aggressively launched the Inland Basins Exploration campaign.
This campaign resulted in the drilling of 23 Wells, two of which had gas shows. Since then NNPC has acquired about 2,000 square kilometres of 3D seismic, modelled the Chad Basin and intended to test the wells before the unfortunate July 2017 incident which led to the suspension of all activities in the Basin.
At this juncture, let me pay tribute to the University researchers and others who lost their lives in that regrettable incident. I also commend our security personnel, who continue to make tremendous sacrifice to fortify the environment for the smooth conduct of exploration activities throughout the country.
Oil and Gas remains critical to the Nigerian economy of today and the future. It remains key to the successful implementation of our budget at all levels of Government.
The golden era of high oil prices may not be here now but Oil and Gas resources still remain the most immediate and practical keys to our aggressive efforts at diversifying the economy.
As important as it is to ensure that other critical sectors of the economy are supported to grow and contribute more to the Nation’s economy, we still need a virile Oil and Gas Industry to take care of the challenges of the moment and to invest for the future.
When we came on board in May 2015, we promised to focus on three cardinal areas of security, economy and the fight against corruption.
We have worked hard to fulfill our promises and have succeeded in laying the foundation for a strong, virile and prosperous Nigeria through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
A key execution priority of the ERGP is ensuring National energy sufficiency and this cannot be achieved through hydrocarbon resources from the conventional basins alone. Therefore, exploration in our frontier basins is a national imperative and a core policy thrust that must be sustained.
Therefore it is on this note that I directed the NNPC to aggressively intensify its exploration campaign in the Inland Basins with a view to discovering new hydrocarbon reserves that will boost Oil and Gas production and extend economic benefits to the people within those basins and the Nation at large.
Today is quite significant to our Country. It is not only a reflection of our vision and aspiration for this sector but it is a landmark of a promise kept by this administration to the Nigerian people.
Our Next Level is to ensure that exploration efforts in all our frontier Basins namely Chad Basin, Gongola Basin, Anambra Basin, Sokoto Basin, Dahomey Basin, Bida Basin and Benue Trough are intensified to usher in prospects for more prosperous Nigeria.
A new Nigeria with balanced resources distribution, diverse economic activities and sustained energy and security as we build the virile and industrialized economy to catch up with the 21st century expectations.
I congratulate the NNPC and all relevant Stakeholders for what has been achieved thus far and I pledge my full commitment to this important national imperative on our journey to building a prosperous, strong and stable Nigeria.
Thank you all for your attention and wish the NNPC Frontier Exploration Services that Kolmani River – II Well meets all its exploration targets including establishing the presence of hydrocarbons in substantially commercial quantities.
GOD bless you all and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.