The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) on Tuesday officially kicked off the exploratory drilling campaign in Obi, Nasarawa State, with the assurance that the effort would contribute to its aspiration to grow the country’s crude oil reserves to 50 billion barrels, from the current 37 billion barrels.
Speaking at the ‘spudding’ of the Ebenyi-A Well, the first in the Middle Benue Trough, President Muhammadu Buhari, said the move was in line with the ongoing campaigns for the exploration of crude oil and gas in the nation’s frontier basins.
The president listed the assets the nation intends to explore as those in the Chad Basin, Dahomey Basin, Anambra Platform, the Calabar Embankment, Sokoto Basin, Bida Basin, Benue Trough as well as the Ultra-Deepwater Niger Delta.
Besides, the president who attended the event virtually, stated that the exploratory efforts were consistent with the commercial discoveries of hydrocarbons in the Kolmani area of the Upper Benue Trough.
“I am pleased to note that activities are currently ongoing to develop the Kolmani petroleum discoveries to commercial production to add to the nation’s considerable hydrocarbon assets.
“I am encouraged by the enormous work done by NNPC Limited to exploit the prospects in the Middle Benue Trough, leading to the event of today,” Buhari noted.
While lauding the commitment of the NNPC, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and other partners for their immense contributions towards making the event possible, the president expressed the hope that the consequent positive outcomes of the drilling campaigns will lead to greater prosperity and enhance overall energy security for Nigeria.
He added that the surrounding communities would particularly benefit from the value that would be created by the exploration and eventual production activities and admonished NNPC and its partners to take due care of the environmental consequences of the oil exploration activities and to mitigate the negative effects.
He further thanked the government and people of Nasarawa State- the host community- for their unfettered support and collaboration towards the success of the exploration campaign.