By Sopuruchi Onwuka
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is working to launch renewed exploration of inland sedimentary basins in the northern parts of the country.
Already, the corporation has procured aeromagnetic data on the Sokoto basin from the Nigerian Geophysical Survey, and awarded contract for the mapping and procurement of apt samples to further the understanding of the area.
The development came just as Sokoto State government, Usman Dan Fodio University and Petroleum Technology Trust Fund (PTDF) convene an industry conference to determine prospectivity of the Sokoto basin.
Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, told a delegation led by the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, that the corporation has launched exploration of all inland basins in the country including the Sokoto basin.
Dr. Baru hinted that Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), a unit of NNPC, has been mandated 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.
He said the NNPC technical team would share technical analysis on existing data at the forthcoming seminar on the Sokoto basin, noting that the Corporation would use the platform to update and also share its knowledge of the basin with relevant stakeholders.
Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, expressed the desire of his state for NNPC to activate oil and gas exploration campaign in the State, pointing at hopes that the sedimentary basin could hold hydrocarbon deposits.
Governor Tambuwal who cited existing exploration records as the basis for his demand said renewed search for oil in the basin might yield discoveries that would increase the nation’s oil reserve.
“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.
The governor invited the NNPC GMD and Top Management to a conference in Sokoto sometimes in October 2017 which is being facilitated by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF in collaboration with the Usman Dan Fodio University.
The appeal actually exposed the governor’s little regard to the commercial arrangements that govern oil and gas exploration as there is no known active or dormant exploration license awarded to any company in the area.
Besides, the nation’s petroleum exploration acreage allocation are awarded to commercial operators by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) which administers oil blocks and regulates the operations of oil companies in the country.