The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has shifted focus on oil exploratory activities to the Sokoto Basin and Benue Trough after Boko Haram attack forced the corporation to suspend exploration in the Chad Basin.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu had in July announced the suspension of the exercise in the Lake Chad Basin, situated in parts of Borno State, following attacks on oil workers and military personnel by the terrorist group.
Although NNPC had commenced preliminary studies in November 2016 at the Sokoto Basin and Benue Trough along with the Chad Basin, sources told Daily Trust that the corporation has now intensified efforts on the Sokoto, Benue and Bida basins.
Aside the Niger Delta from where much of Nigeria’s oil is drilled, the potential for commercial oil and gas in the inland frontier basins of Northern Nigeria comprising the Nigerian sector of the Chad Basin, Benue Trough, Sokoto Basin, Bida Basin and the Northern Anambra Basin have long been established.
Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, confirmed the development when Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal visited him on Tuesday in Abuja.
Baru said 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.
The NNPC GMD also announced 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.
Speaking, Governor Tambuwal said the state government, in collaboration with the Usman Danfodio University, would organise a national conference on the Sokoto Basin in October, expressing optimism that it add value in the search for hydrocarbon in the Sokoto Basin.
According to a statement by NNPC spokesman Ndu Ughamadu, the governor said based on existing exploration records, it was likely that renewed search for oil in the basin would yield some positive results in the nearest future.
In a previous interview with Daily Trust, the Group General Manager, Frontier Exploration Services (FES) of the NNPC, Dr. Bako Mazadu said the aeromagnetic and gravity data capture for the Bida and Sokoto basins will enable the corporation define the extent of the sedimentary basin and also get a good estimation of the depth.
A source with the IDSL said preliminary studies of subsurface of some unassigned blocks, host community issues, weather and likely security challenges in the Kolmani River and Gombe Area in the Benue Trough has since commenced
“Preparations are in top gear but Benue Trough is looking more likely,” the source said.