After it commenced the search for crude oil at the Nasarawa State end of the Benue Trough last week, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Thursday announced that it had started mobilising for oil exploration in the Benue State area of the trough.
The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, led a delegation from the corporation to the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, and disclosed that all was set for seismic data acquisition work to commence in the state.
He also said apart from oil exploratory work, the corporation was ready to commence its biofuel project located in the Agasha/Guma area of the state.
Baru stated that the corporation’s upstream company, Integrated Data Services Limited, would carry out oil exploratory work in Makurdi, Guma, Gwer East, Gwer West and Logo local government areas of the state.
He told his host that work on the Nasarawa end of the trough had commenced and would cover the Ondori area, which is the boundary between Benue and Nasarawa states.
The NNPC spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu, quoted Baru as saying in a statement issued in Abuja, “I am convinced that the success of the results from the IDSL’s seismic data acquisition will lead to the drilling of exploration wells in these areas, which hopefully, will launch Benue State into the league of oil producing states in the country.”
The GMD said the oil search was in fulfilment of the presidential mandate of exploring for oil in the nation’s inland basins, which was driven by the urgent need to increase Nigeria’s oil and gas reserves, thereby improving revenue streams and creating more business and employment opportunities for the citizens.
According to him, the NNPC team is in Benue to sensitise the government and people of the state to the mission.
On the biofuel project, Baru stated that when completed, Benue State would benefit a lot from it, especially in the area of employment generation, as the project had the capacity to create about one million direct and indirect jobs.
According to him, other benefits of the biofuel project include a sugar cane feedstock plantation of about 20,000 hectares; a cane mill and raw/refined sugar plant capable of producing 126,000 tonnes annually; as well as a fuel-ethanol processing plant capable of producing 84 million litres annually.