NNPC discovers crude oil in Benue Trough

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By Mordi Chukwunonso Esther

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has discovered crude oil in the Benue Trough. The channel is a major geological structure underlying a large part of Nigeria and extending about 1,000 km northeast from the Bight of Benin to Lake Chad.

Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director, made the revelation on Thursday at the opening of the 38th Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE). He expressed NNPC’s resolve to grow the nation’s hydrocarbon reserves to 40 billion barrels through reinvigorated exploratory activities in the inland frontier basins across the country.

Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Kennie Obateru, quoted Kyari as revealing that crude oil discovered in the Benue Trough is in commercial quantity.

The GMD disclosed that Nigerian Geologists are leading the exploration. He said aside from boosting hydrocarbons, NNPC was committed to reducing the unit operating cost of crude oil production to $10 per barrel and improving efficiency across its businesses.

“It is my pleasure to appreciate the good work and resilience of our in-house professionals in the ongoing inland basins exploration activities that culminated in the recent discovery of hydrocarbons in Benue Trough. NNPC is indeed proud that it is NAPE members that are spearheading this effort,” he stated.

Kyari confirmed that NNPC has made significant progress in improving operational efficiency through the adoption of technology and deliberate effort to curtail soaring cost of operations across strategic assets.

He stressed that the current market reality cannot support inefficiency and escalated costs of operations.

“The era of $30/bbl oil no longer exists. In today’s COVID-19 defined market, sustaining operations and making progress means that all stakeholders must recognize the need to improve efficiency, reduce costs, eliminate wastages, entrench accountability, act with transparency and embrace technology and innovation to drive performance and value realization across strategic investment portfolios,” he posited.

The NNPC helmsman added that in the face of the energy transition, the corporation is focused on developing gas infrastructure and deepening domestic gas utilization, stressing that gas is the energy of the future.

Kyari expressed optimism that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would be passed in 2021, noting that the fiscal environment proposed would attract more investment into the Oil and Gas Industry.

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