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Use fund for endless oil search in North to fix refineries, Expert tells Kyari

Downstream oil and gas consultant, Engr. Kelvin Folarin has called on the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to stop wasting scare resources searching for what does not exist in the name of hydrocarbon in the Chad basin, Gongola and Benue trough.

Speaking in an interview with Business Hilights in Lagos on Wednesday, he queried the rationale in spending hard currency in searching for oil when a lot of marginal fields and oil blocks are still lying fallow in endless wait for bidding rounds.

According to him, “It amounts to fiscal rascality searching for oil in the North when leading multinationals like Mobil had tried that and left for lack of commercial quantity,” and queried “How the federal Government came to know that what Exxon-Mobil could not see years ago is now available in the north.”

“To me, based on the promises of the new GMD to start exporting refined products in 2023, the best option for the NNPC is to stop wasting public fund without any form of audit or disclosures in the name of searching for oil in the North and use the fund to fix the four ailing refineries.

Buhari Baru
‘All for oil search’ Former Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru explaining issues to President Muhammadu Buhari during the ceremonial Spud-in (drilling) of Kolmani River II Well, in Barambu community, Alkaeri Local Government Area, between Bauchi and Gombe.

Continuing, he recalled that “Upon all the promises made by former GMD, Maikanti Baru that he will make public costs so far incurred in the search since February this year, until he left last month, he never made the disclosure which is contrary to Public Procurement Act.

“With the level of secrecy on the true cost of the oil search, it would very hard to rule out chances of hiding under the cover of the endless search to bleed the ailing coffers of the government.

Only recently, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, said he is planning to resume full-scale search for hydrocarbon deposits in the Chad basin, Gongola and Benue trough with strategic security arrangement with the military for cover

Recall that during the last search, insurgents kidnapped a number of staff in Maiduguri which forced the search suspension.

But the NNPC boss now believes that new collaboration with the military will guarantee the protection of NNPC’s workforce and its high-tech equipment to be used for the search.

Kyari made the plea during his visit to the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, at his office in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, “I’m visiting the Chief of Defence Staff as my first port of call following my appointment to seek for the support of the Armed Forces to help the NNPC in re-entering the Chad Basin, Gongola and Benue Trough to enable us carry out our mandate for national development. Your support in terms of providing full security cover for our staff and equipment is critical to us.”

“The Corporation equally required the military to intensify efforts in the protection of its pipelines and Right of Way (RoW) across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria,” Kyari added.