NIGERIAN National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) officials plan to resume active oil exploration in the Sokoto Basin as part of a continued programme to perpetuate the country’s dependence on crude oil as its main foreign exchange earner.
Currently, petroleum products account for over 90% of the federal government’s earnings, resulting in a severe shortfall as the global coronavirus pandemic has led to weak demand. In addition, with the move away from fossil fuels and the switch to electric cars in an attempt to reduce carbon footprints, demand for crude oil is likely to fall further.
Despite this move away from crude oil, Nigeria has not stopped prospecting for oil, especially in the north of the country. NNPC spokesperson, Kennie Obateru, said the corporation’s group managing director, Mallam Mele Kyari, said exploration for crude would resume in the Sokoto Basin.
He disclosed this while receiving Governor Atiku Bagudu Kebbi State, who paid Mallam Kyari a courtesy visit in his office yesterday. In October 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari said the government would explore for oil and gas in the frontier basins across the country, while opening the Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin, in northeast of the country.
President Buhari outlined the basins to include the Benue Trough, Chad Basin, Sokoto and Bida Basins, stating that attention would be given to the Dahomey and Anambra Basins which had already witnessed oil and gas discoveries. Mallam Kyari restated the NNPC’s commitment to the partnership with Kebbi State for the production of biofuels, describing the project as viable and in tandem with the global transition to renewable energy.
He said the rice production programme in the state was a definite boost to the biofuels project. Mallam Kyari added that the linkage of the agricultural sector with the energy sector would facilitate economic growth and bring prosperity to the citizens.
Governor Bagudu expressed appreciation to the NNPC for its cooperation on the biofuel project. He added that the cassava programme was well on course but the same could not be said of the sugarcane programme as the targeted milestone was yet to be attained.