By Michael Eboh
ABUJA— President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to commence the search for crude oil and other hydrocarbon exploratory activities in the Benue trough.
Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Maikaniti Baru, disclosed this while receiving a delegation from Benue State government that paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
This is coming a few days after the same directive was given to the NNPC to intensify crude oil exploration in the Chad Basin.
The Benue trough is a major geological formation underlying a large part of Nigeria, extending about 1,000 kilometres north-east from the Bight of Benin to Lake Chad. It is part of the broader Central African Rift System.
Baru stated that the directive to commence exploratory activities in the Benue trough was part of efforts to guarantee energy security of the country.
He also stated that the NNPC had reinvigorated its collaboration with Benue State government on the ethanol project, geared towards the production of biofuels for energy sufficiency.
Baru noted that ethanol when blended with Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol, ensured excellent performance of vehicles, stressing that energy sufficiency and proficiency were part of the cardinal objectives of the NNPC.
The NNPC added that it had initiated a renewable energy programme in August 2005, which is in conformity with the Kyoto Protocol agreement to which Nigeria is a signatory.
The primary aim of the programme, according to the NNPC, is to link the agricultural sector with the oil and gas industry, adding that it was also targeted at gradually reducing the nation’s dependence on imported gasoline, reducing environmental pollution as a result of consumption of wholesale fossil fuel as well as creating a commercially viable industry that could boast of sustainable domestic jobs.
“A similar programme in Brazil has a thriving biofuels industry providing quantum economic benefits including creation of hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities for nationals of that country,” the NNPC boss noted.
Leader of the Benue State delegation, Mr. Terwase Orbunde, commended the NNPC for resolving the recent fuel supply challenges and pledged the readiness of the state government to support the quick take-off of the Ethanol project.
Orbunde, who noted that the project would generate jobs for Nigerians, assured the NNPC of full support and cooperation from the state government and the host communities, stressing that the state government fully identified with the energy policy of the Federal Government.
The Benue trough, according to Wikipedia, has its southern limit at the northern boundary of the Niger Delta, where it dips down and is overlaid with Tertiary and more recent sediments, extending in a northeasterly direction to the Chad Basin, and is about 150 kilometer wide. The Vanguard