North To Commence Oil Exploration In 2016, As PDP Chieftain Kicks


BEVERLY HILLS, December 12, (THEWILL) – A company owned by the 19 northern state governments, the New Nigeria Development Company, NNDC, yesterday announced plans to commence the exploration of oil and gas in the lake Chad area of Nigeria's North-east by next year.

Speaking with newsmen shortly after the company's Annual General Meeting in Kaduna, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Alhaji Bashir Mohammed Dalhatu regretted that the insecurity in the North-east has affected the take off of the exploration.

His words, “oil and gas blocks have been discovered in the North, but for security challenges in the North-east exploration will have gone far.”

“But we have since re-engaged our people to be totally committed to the oil exploration and exploitation of both oil and gas resources. We believe that will spring boot revival of economy in the region.”

When asked when the exploration will begin, the NNDC Chairman said “we are commencing the exploration within the year 2016, because we are talking with technical partners that would help us explore the resources.”

Dalhatu revealed that the company was still able to post profit despite the political instability and activities of insurgents in northern parts of the country.

He said the continuous decline in government revenue which resulted in reduction of foreign reserves as well as devaluation of the Naira posed challenges to the operations of the NNDC.

The Board Chairman said despite the tough operating environment and the continuous security challenges, the company remained resolute and focused in realizing its objectives.

He disclosed that the operating income of the company increased by 42 percent from N651.2 million to N923.9 million while a 73 percent increase was recorded in operating profit before tax from N137.2 million to N237.2 million.

Dalhatu said further increases were recorded in earnings per share of 87 percent from 16.7 kobo to 31.2 kobo and 4.4 percent net assets per share from 14.1 to N18.5 when compared with results of the preceding year of 2014.

Meanwhile, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Sunny Onuesoke has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari for allocating N39.4 billion for oil exploration in the Northern part of Nigeria, noting that the move amounts to “thinking backward.”

Onuesoke, spoke to reporters in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, while reacting to the revelation of the allocation as enshrined in the 2016 budget.

He said it was amazing for Nigeria to be allocating funds for oil exploration in arid Northern part of the country when the West and other parts of the world were embarking on renewable energy exploration.

According to the politician, “I wonder if Nigeria is thinking ahead or backward. I am saying this because when countries like America are selling their reserve and diversifying into other sources of energy generation, it is now Nigeria is exploring for more oil in the North.

“It should be noted that Nigeria cannot be an advocate of climate change and at the same time invest on oil exploration instead of renewable drive for sustainable energy like solar,” he stated.