By ‘Dotun Akintomide
In spite of Boko Haram’s renewed hostilities in the North-east, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) remains resolute in its search for black gold in this beleaguered region as plans are underway for it to return to the Lake Chad Basin in Borno State soon.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, made the disclosure Wednesday, while speaking at the 39th edition of the Kaduna International Trade Fair.
Baru said that with the release of the staff of the corporation who were abducted while exploring for oil in the area, it will return “with full force” to continue with exploration activities.
Although Baru admitted that with the diversification of the nation’s economy, the feat achieved decades ago in mining, agriculture and commerce which sustained the economy of each region of the country can be replicated if the country’s productive sector is being re-channeled, but the sheer determination by the current administration to continue with oil exploration in the North is often seen by many as an anti-policy to the much-touthed economic diversification plans.
The Oil and Gas industry having become the main stay of the Nigerian economy, providing 95 per cent of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings, Baru pointed out that the major challenge in the country’s mono-culture economy is that it exposes the nation to the vagaries of oil price volatility, which during a period of glut could spell doom for the country.
“To demonstrate our commitment, the NNPC has set up the Renewable Energy Division that is focused in not only developing solar and other renewable energy sources but also in the development of biofuels that are heavily dependent on agricultural produce as feedstock.
“The multiplier effect in such ventures are enormous: reviving and revitalising our agricultural sector, huge employment generation, significant contributions to power generation, high volume of animal feed, starch and by-products, in addition, biofuels will be blended at our refineries for petroleum products, which will significantly reduce the import of petroleum products into the country,” he noted.
On the fuel prices that persisted for months, he said the NNPC had taken steps to ensure that the hiccups witnessed recently in the distribution of petroleum products are overcome.
He listed some of the steps taken to include the full deployment and activation of a 24-hour real time fuel war room for the effective monitoring of fuel supply and distribution dynamics across the country; sustenance of 24 hours loading and sales operations in all depots and mega stations. He also hinted that the corporation is collaborating and sharing information with the oil industry regulators and other agencies in the ministry of petroleum resources.