The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has attributed security challenges to be the stumbling block in the exploration of oil in the Chad Basin.
This was even as he said there are oil prospects in the basin General Manager, Frontier Exploration Services, Dr Mazadu Bako stated this during the 50th-anniversary celebration of Geology Department, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria on Tuesday.
The Golden Jubilee was marked in honour of the pioneer Head of the Geology Department, late Dr John B. Wright, who was given a posthumous award.
Bako in his keynote address stated that plans are at the advanced state to begin the oil exploration, but security is a major challenge around the Chad Basin and the North-East in general.
He stated categorically that, “If the security situation was not the way it is by today, our locations for drilling would have been ongoing in construction”.
Represented by the Deputy Manager Benue Trough Operations, NNPC Alex Tarka, Mr Bako said the Department of Geology, ABU has breed Geo Scientists who have contributed immensely to Nigeria’s extraction industry.
According to him, “Let us take a quick look at NNPC exploration effort in some inland basins in Nigeria, starting with the Chad basin, between 1976 and 1996 a total of 33 thousand kilometers of 2D seismic data were acquired, processed and interpreted, which led to the drilling of 3wells in the Chad basin.
“I have the honour to let my department know that as 1992 I was one of the geologists in one of the wells. only two out of the 21 wells, the Uwadi and Kinasa recorded non-commercial gas while the other 21 where drive from 2008 to 2017. Just last year, a total of 1,962.20 square kilometres of 3D seismic data were acquired, processed and interpreted and prospects have been identified. Plans to commence drilling of the matured prospects have commenced.
“As we speak, plans are at the advanced stage, security is a major challenge in the Chad basin exploration and the northeast in general. If the security situation was not the way it is by today, our locations for drilling would have been ongoing in construction”, he said.
He however noted with delight that, NNPC up-stream as the arm that carries out petroleum exploration activities is a beneficiary of the contribution of the department of geology of this institution, as many of its graduates have worked or are still working in the MPDC, the E and P arm of the NNPC located in Benin City, integrated data services, the seismic arm of the NNPC also located in Benin City and among other places.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of ABU, Professor Ibrahim Garba called for more investment in the mining sector.
According to him, for the fact that Nigeria is blessed with abundant natural resources does not translate to seeing them developed on their own, without commiserate investment and commitment on the part of the government.
Garba added that “natural resources will always be there in the ground, for geologists to exhume, but the other requirements that the country must have in other to promote the development of the resources must be there. We need government’s commitment and investment.
“The resources that we benefit today has been a product of very hard work over the long period of time tremendous investment. So, if we want to continue to benefit from the abundant mineral resources, we must work hard, we must invest and then develop the resources for the future.”
The Vice-Chancellor was however proud that the university, especially the geology department has been in the forefront of pioneering development of the country through mineral resources, as he said the ABU Geology department has produced a lot of intellectual works and very high caliber of geologist across the country who are serving the country in various fields such as oil industry, in minerals, environment and agriculture.