PETROLEUM minister Timipre Sylva has revealed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is set to resume oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin despite the global demand for crude oil being in decline.
Historically, Nigeria has been a mono-economy with the federal government dependent on crude oil export receipts for about 90% of its revenue. However, due to the global economic downturn as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, both crude oil demand have prices have fallen drastically, badly affecting Nigeria’s revenue.
In addition, there is a global move away from fossil fuels to clean energy, with automobile manufacturers increasingly switching to making electric cars. This is helping depress demand for petroleum, forcing many origins to place moratoriums on the opening of new oil fields as crude oil is seen as polluting, leaving behind a substantial carbon footprint.
Despite all this, Nigeria is stepping up its crude oil prospecting and according to Mr Sylva, is resuming the oil search in the Lake Chad Basin which was suspended when NNPC Frontier Exploration Services officials and their consultants from the University of Maiduguri were attacked on July 25, 2017. Some members of the team were kidnapped then but Mr Sylva added that the prospecting resumed due to successes recorded by the military in securing the northeast region.
Mr Sylva added: “The reason we came here is to thank the chief of army staff and the Nigerian Army for the great job they have continued to perform in the northeast. We want to commence exploration and drilling activities because we believe that there is relative peace.
“We have found oil in Gombe State and we believe that there is a lot of oil to be found in the Chad Basin. That is why we are collaborating with the Nigerian Army to ensure that security is provided for activities to commence very soon.”
He was accompanied to the meeting by the NNPC group managing director, Mele Kyari and top staff of the corporation and the oil ministry. Military leaders who attended the meeting included Major General Farouk Yahaya, the commander of Operation Lafiya Dole and his Multinational Joint Task Force counterpart Major General Yusuf Ibrahim.