By Emmanuel Ankeli, Festus Okoromadu and Chika Izuora
The Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, said the Corporation has embarked on properly and professional exploration of crude oil in the Sokoto basin alongside all other inland basins in the country.
Dr. Baru disclosed this while responding to a charge by the Sokoto State Governor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who requested that the NNPC resume search for hydrocarbon deposit in the Sokoto Inland Sedimentary Basin with a view to establishing the volume and value of oil and gas available there.
Tambuwal who led a delegation from the State to the NNPC Towers in Abuja yesterday noted that the successful search for hydrocarbon deposit in the basin would go a long way in increasing the nation's oil reserve with the attendant value addition.
"We are here more on an advocacy visit to your office, Mr. GMD, to kindly request for your intervention and attention for the office in charge of frontier exploration to pay attention to Sokoto basin just the way attention is being paid to other basins in the country," he said.
This development is coming barely few months after the terrorist group in the north eastern part of the country, Boko Haram, ambushed and killed some lecturers from the University of Maiduguri who were part of the Corporation's oil exploration team in the Lake Chad basin.
According to the statement signed by the spokesperson of NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, Tambuwal expressed enthusiasm that based on existing exploration records, it is likely that renewed search for oil in the basin would yield some positive results in the nearest future.
The Governor commended the current administration of NNPC for re-invigorating the quest for oil in the new frontiers, stressing that the successful search for hydrocarbon deposit in the basin would go a long way in increasing the nation's oil reserve with the attendant value addition.
According to the press statement, Dr. Baru told his guest that the Corporation, without any prompting has since embarked on properly and professional exploration of all inland basins in the country including the Sokoto basin.
He explained further that the NNPC had already procured aeromagnetic data on the Sokoto basin from the Nigerian Geophysical Survey as well as awarded contract for the mapping and procurement of apt samples to further the understanding of the area.
Dr. Baru added that the NNPC has contracted its subsidiary, Integrated Data Services Limited, IDSL to carry out various geochemistry investigations to boost the gathering and integration of all relevant data ahead of the planned procurement of seismic 2D data position which would in turn determine various prospects.
Meanwhile, Governor Tambuwal has invited the NNPC GMD and Top Management to a conference in Sokoto taking place in October 2017. The event is said to be facilitated by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) in collaboration with the Usman Dan Fodio University.
Tambuwal noted that the conference would thoroughly x-ray the search for oil in the Sokoto basin.
The GMD is reported to have pledged to attend the forthcoming seminar on the Sokoto basin, stating that the Corporation would use the platform to update and also share its knowledge of the basin with relevant stakeholders.
Meanwhile, Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote, has said at the United Nations General Assembly in New York that he was praying for the global crude oil prices to remain low for a longer period to enable resource-rich countries turn to other sectors to grow their economies.
Dangote was speaking with investors who participated in the high level business leaders and international diplomats meeting organised by the Corporate Council for Africa at the headquarters of global law firm, Shearman and Sterling LLC.
"We must take oil to be the icing on the cake. We already have the cake - agriculture, agriculture, agriculture. Africa will become the food basket of the world," he said.
Besides Nigeria's vast mineral resources and gas, he stressed the need to manufacture more goods locally for domestic consumption.