President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday declared that his administration had succeeded in laying the foundation for a strong, virile and prosperous Nigeria through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
The president made the declaration when flagging off the presidential spud-in of Kolmani River II Well in the Gongola basin of the Benue trough.
He said one major priority of the ERGP was ensuring national energy sufficiency and that could not be achieved through hydrocarbon resources from the conventional basins alone, hence the need for exploration in the nation’s frontier basins was a national imperative and a core policy thrust that must be sustained.
His words: “When we came on board in May 2015, we promised to focus on three cardinal areas of security, economy and the fight against corruption.
- Advertisement -
“We have worked hard to fulfill our promises and have succeeded in laying the foundation for a strong, virile and prosperous Nigeria through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“A key execution priority of the ERGP is ensuring National energy sufficiency and this cannot be achieved through hydrocarbon resources from the conventional basins alone. Therefore, exploration in our frontier basins is a national imperative and a core policy thrust that must be sustained.
“Therefore it is on this note that I directed the NNPC to aggressively intensify its exploration campaign in the Inland Basins with a view to discovering new hydrocarbon reserves that will boost Oil and Gas production and extend economic benefits to the people within those basins and the Nation at large.
“Today is quite significant to our Country. It is not only a reflection of our vision and aspiration for this sector but it is a landmark of a promise kept by this administration to the Nigerian people.”
He commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for expanding its exploration outreach into the Inland Basins with a view to improving the nation’s oil and gas reserves; drive oil and gas production and spin off socio economic activities across the country.
He disclosed that his association with Hydrocarbon search in the Chad Basin started when he was the Federal Commissioner of Petroleum and Natural Resources in 1976 and as the Head of State when the Tuma-l Well was spud-in in 1984 which aggressively launched the Inland Basins Exploration campaign.
The campaign, the president said, resulted in the drilling of 23 Wells, two of which had gas shows.
According to him, since then NNPC had acquired about 2,000 square kilometres of 3D seismic, modelled the Chad Basin and intended to test the wells before the unfortunate July 2017 incident which led to the suspension of all activities in the Basin.
He paid tribute to the university researchers and others whol lost their lives over the project.
“At this juncture, let me pay tribute to the University researchers and others who lost their lives in that regrettable incident. I also commend our security personnel, who continue to make tremendous sacrifice to fortify the environment for the smooth conduct of exploration activities throughout the country,” he said.
He emphasized that oil and gas remained critical to the Nigerian economy of today and the future.
He said it remained key to the successful implementation of the budget at all levels of Government.
He added: “The golden era of high oil prices may not be here now but Oil and Gas resources still remain the most immediate and practical keys to our aggressive efforts at diversifying the economy.
“As important as it is to ensure that other critical sectors of the economy are supported to grow and contribute more to the Nation’s economy, we still need a virile Oil and Gas Industry to take care of the challenges of the moment and to invest for the future.”